20th August, 2017
Jethro Ibileke/Niger Delta
Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), has raised the alarm over imminent oil spill and fire outbreak, with potentially serious consequences for some people who illegally occupy its Helena Flow Station and Gas Plant, and nearby communities, in Rivers State.
Authorities of the SPDC raised the alarm in a statement issued on Sunday and endorsed by its Spokesman, Bamidele Odugbesan, following alleged illegal occupation of the Flow Station by unauthorised persons, including women and children.
It said SPDC was “deeply concerned that unauthorised persons, including women and children, have been observed at close proximity to equipment that process crude oil and gas without the protection of safety clothing that is mandatory for people working in or accessing such restricted areas.”
It said the SPDC carried out an emergency shutdown of production ahead of the illegal occupation, but had since unable to access the facilities since then to ensure a safe shutdown over a prolonged period.
“The illegal occupation of Belema Flow Station and Gas Plant in Rivers State has safety implications both for the people at the facilities and nearby communities. Since August 11, 2017, some persons have camped out day and night at the two facilities.
“The continued illegal occupation for many days exposes people at the plant to higher safety risks as anything could trigger a spill or fire with potentially serious consequences,” the company warned.
Meanwhile, the statement said SPDC remained committed to the development of the entire Niger Delta region, especially host communities, including Belema and Kula.
It disclosed that the SPDC Joint Venture (JV) partners had contributed $29 billion to the economic growth of Nigeria between 2012 and 2016, adding that the JV is also currently supporting various GMoU Cluster Development Boards in the Niger Delta and mentoring NGOs to deploy a total of N7 billion for development projects of host communities’ choice under the GMoU programme.