Shell Nigeria Receives “Support and Understanding” From Local Communities After Huge Oil Spill

shell nigeria oil spill satellite image
This satellite image shows the 100-mile long slick resulting from Shell Nigeria's oil leak from the Bonga FPSO

IBADAN, Nigeria (Dow Jones)–Shell Petroleum Production Co., or SNEPCo, on Sunday said the oil leak from its Bongo facility off the Nigerian coast has “largely been dispersed.”

About 40,000 barrels of oil leaked five days ago during a routine operation to transfer oil from Bonga’s floating production, storage and offtake, or FPSO, vessel to an oil tanker.

Tony Okonedo, SNEPCo’s media relations officer, said in a statement that the company has confirmed the oil leak has “largely been dispersed and it will continue to monitor the area, including using satellite, and take appropriate steps to disperse any further persistent oil sheens.”

He said since the leak, teams from SNEPCo, an affiliate of Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA, RDSB), have worked “around the clock” with international oil spill experts, using a combination of dispersants and booms to tackle the leaked oil.

Shell said it became aware of the leak on Tuesday at its Bonga field, about 120 kilometers off Nigeria. Production was reported to have stopped at the field, which has a capacity of 200,000 barrels a day.

Okonedo didn’t say when production will likely resume at the Bonga facility.

Reacting in the statement to the news of the oil dispersal, Shell Nigeria Country Chair Mutiu Sunmonu said, “I am very sorry the leak from Bonga happened in the first place, but I am now happy to confirm the oil has dispersed.”

He also thanked the teams that “worked day and night to clean up the oil for their tireless efforts, and the communities along the western Delta shoreline for their “support and understanding over recent days.”

-By Obafemi Oredein, Dow Jones Newswires