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Shell says 27,580 barrels of oil spills in Nigeria in 2010
by Staff Writers
Lagos (AFP) May 27, 2011

Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell said Friday that theft, sabotage and operational reasons caused 27,580 barrels of oil to spill from its facilities in Nigeria last year.

"Sabotage and crude oil theft was the cause of 22,310 barrels spilled from SPDC (Shell Petroleum Development Company) facilities in 112 incidents, an average of about one spill every three days," the company said in a document released to AFP here.

It said the balance of 5,270 barrels was due to 32 operational spills recorded during the period.

The company said security agents arrested 187 people and seized 20 tankers, 15 vehicles, 28 barges and 38 other boats allegedly involved in oil theft in 2010.

Shell said it paid more than $1.7 million in compensation only to those affected by operational spills. Under Nigerian law, compensation is not paid on damages caused by sabotage.

It said that on average sabotage accounted for more than 75 percent of oil spill incidents and more than 70 percent of oil spilled from Shell facilities in the Niger Delta between 2006 and 2010.

In January, environmental campaigners in the Netherlands accused Shell of destroying lives and the environment in the Niger Delta, and urged Dutch MPs to wade into the matter.

Shell said in its defence that it applied "global standards" to its operations around the world.

The company said last year it produced an average of 960,000 barrels of oil per day, about 21 percent of Nigeria's estimated total oil and gas production. Between 2006 and 2009, unrest in the Niger Delta, which included kidnappings and attacks on oil installations, had reduced Nigeria's oil production from 2.6 million barrels a day to about one million at the peak of the unrest.

Nigeria, the world's eighth largest oil producer, currently produces around 2.4 million barrels daily because of relative peace in the delta following a government amnesty deal for militants in the region.

"The enabling environment helped by the amnesty resulted in a significant increase in Nigeria's oil and gas production," Shell said.

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