The National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) says it has subjected a section of the 14″ Okordia-Rumuekpe pipeline to third-party examination to resolve the dispute on the cause of a Nov 12, 2019 leak at Shell’s oilfields in Bayelsa.
Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) disagreed with the findings of a joint investigation team which inspected the spill site and pointed at corrosion and weak integrity of the pipeline.
The breached part of the pipe was cut out and taken to NOSDRA’s office where the spills agency deployed Ultrasonic Testing Method (UTM) to scan and examine the pipe but the results were not accepted by SPDC.
Mr Idris Musa, Director-General/Chief Executive Officer at NOSDRA told NAN in Yenagoa on Friday that the investigation to resolve the dispute on the cause of the spill was yet to be concluded.
“The matter is not resolved yet because we want to get an unbiased report on the cause of the spill whether it was due to corrosion or to third party interference. The agency insists that the UTM exercise be carried out by SGS, one of the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification companies in the petroleum industry, to conduct the investigation so that we can all be assured of a very clear and technologically proven cause.”
“This is notwithstanding the perception in some quarters that the issue was being swept under the carpet,’’ Musa said.
Reacting to the development, Mr Bamidele Odugbesan, Media Relations Manager, SPDC said that the firm was satisfied that NOSDRA invited a third-party to re-examine the pipeline.
Odugbesan explained that “On Nov. 24, 2019, we received a report of a leak on the 14” Okordia-Rumuekpe Trunkline at Ikarama in Bayelsa State. The same day we isolated the injecting facility and contained the spill to stop a spread. In this case, not much oil was sighted at the incident site. The host community initially refused to grant site access to the joint investigation team, but, eventually, a team of representatives of the host community, NOSDRA, Bayelsa State’s Ministry of Environment, and Shell conducted a joint investigation on Nov. 28 and Nov. 29, 2019.”
“The team identified a leak suspected to be due to external interference with 6mm cut on the pipeline and its report was signed off by all representatives with agreement for further investigation into cause of the leak. The spool, with the leak point, was subsequently cut off in June 2020 and transferred to NOSDRA’s field office in Bayelsa State for examination.”
According to the Shell Media Relations Manager, “This further investigation by the same joint investigation team re-examined the affected cut-out piece using Shell’s Phased Array Ultrasonic Testing Technology on July 16 at NOSDRA’s office. The assessment team could not agree on the cause of the leak from the inspection data taken, but it agreed to the fact that NOSDRA should invite a certified third-party spills investigation agency to conduct further examination.”