The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC), has deployed state-of-the-art high definition cameras for quick detection of and response to crude oil spills from its facilities.
SPDC’s General Manager, Igo Weli, who disclosed this on Monday at a media workshop for journalists in Warri, Delta State, siad the cameras will also help in tracking vandalism of SPDC joint venture assets.
“The cameras are attached to specialised helicopters which carry out daily overflight over our facilities. This measure has improved the surveillance of our Joint Venture assets,” he disclosed.
Weli further disclosed that SPDC had implemented anti-theft protection mechanisms on key infrastructure, such as wellheads and manifolds to stem constant attacks from vandals and thereby prevent and minimise sabotage-related spills.
He said that the daily loss of over 11,000 barrels of oil per day in 2018 and the threat to the integrity of the joint venture assets necessitated the multi-pronged approach to protecting what he called critical national assets.
He said: “We collaborate with community leaders, traditional rulers, civil societies and state governments in the Niger Delta to implement several initiatives and partnerships to raise awareness on the negative impact of crude oil theft and illegal oil refining.
“Such public enlightenment programmes on the negative impacts to people and the environment [has helped] to build greater trust in spill response and clean-up processes.”
The SPDC Manager noted that the company would sustain its air and ground surveillance to complement the efforts of government security forces in checking crude theft, pipeline vandalism and illegal refining.
He called on the Operation Delta Safe, a special oil and gas asset protection outfit and other government security forces to intensify their activities around oil and gas facilities.
“But for the efforts of Operation Delta Safe in protecting critical oil and gas assets, the situation would have gone beyond control,” he added.
Also speaking at the workshop, SPDC’s General Manager, Safety and Environment, Chidube Nnene-Anochie, lamented the burden of increased cases of deliberate sabotage of the company’s pipelines, which he said has accounted for the majority of spill incidents.
Nnene-Anochie who was represented at the event by SPDC’s Compliance Monitoring Lead, Temitope Ajibade, said no spill was acceptable to the company.
“We are burdened by the continuous increase in cases of sabotage and theft. Oil spills due to theft and sabotage of facilities as well as illegal refining, cause the most environmental damage from oil and gas operations in the Niger Delta,” he noted.
He said SPDC removed more than 1,160 illegal theft points from its pipelines between 2012 and end of 2018.
He added that the attendant spills from the theft points were sometimes made worse by challenges of access to the incident sites to investigate and stop leaks.
“We track the progress of our spill response from when we learn about the leak to when clean-up is completed and certified by regulators.
“A key priority for Shell companies in Nigeria remains to achieve the goal of no spills from our operations. No spill is acceptable, and we work hard to prevent them. However, SPDC cleans and remediates areas impacted by spills from its facilities irrespective of the cause,” he said.