K-Dere community in Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State is no stranger to oil spills from Shell Petroleum Development Corporation (SPDC). The community is home to about 64 oil wells out of the about 96 littered all over Ogoni land. Some of the key investigations in the assessment of Ogoniland carried out by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) were carried out in K-Dere.
ERA/FoEN monitors were alerted to a spill that occurred in the community on Monday 7th May 2012. The spill occurred about 200 metres from Shell’s Manifold, known as Bomu. The manifold gathers oil from several oil fields through the Trans-Niger Pipelines that transport oil to Bonny Export Terminal.
Community folks informed ERA/FoEN that the spillage occurred early morning of Monday May 7 and was noticed at about 8 am by contractors working at a site near the spill points. The contractors were carrying out remediation work at a land devastated by series of spills in the past when they noticed it and alerted other members of the community.
Community folks said the contractors were working at the site when they perceived the odour of hydro carbon and saw crude flowing towards them. On tracing the source, they suddenly noticed bubbles of oil on the ground not far from where they were working and observed it was increasing. More places were also opening and bubbling.
Frequent Spills Statements from community folks indicated frequency of the spills without the company responding adequately to it. They reported there was oil spillage on May 4 near the Bomu Manifold which has a drainage channelled into the creeks, river and swamp. On the same Friday May 4, Shell allegedly stopped the leaking point on a valve on the manifold which they said has been leaking since 2009. It was blocked and water was used to wash off the oil collected from the leaking point into the drainage and into the creek. They revealed that a container was placed under the leaking valve to collect the oil. All the oil collected was subsequently emptied into the drain by rain. They revealed that there was an earlier oil leak on April 19 this year.
There are over 10 leaking points through which oil is being pumped into the environment. The pipes are very old and were laid before the Nigerian civil war in 1967. What Shell has done is to stop the oil so that the place could dry up. Shell used water to flush out the crude, to cover up the incident, but the oil could not be flushed. . . Bariala Kpalap