Shell Nigeria sounds alarm over potential oil spill, fire outbreak

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Belema Flow Station

Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) said on Sunday it was “deeply concerned” that unauthorized persons (including women and children) have been observed in close proximity to equipment at its Belema Flow Station and Gas Plant, and nearby communities, at River State, Nigeria.

The company said the unauthorized persons were near equipment, which is used to process crude oil and gas, without the protection of safety clothing that is mandatory for people working or accessing such restricted areas.

SPDC had carried out an emergency shutdown of production ahead of the illegal occupation, but has been unable to access the facilities since then to ensure a safe shutdown over a prolonged period, the company said.

“The continued illegal occupation for several days exposes people at the plant to higher safety risks as anything could trigger a spill or fire with potentially serious consequences,” the company warned.

Meanwhile, SPDC said it remains committed to the development of the Niger Delta especially host communities including Belema and Kula.

Reuters reported on August 11 that hundreds of protesters had stormed the crude oil flow station demanding jobs and infrastructure development.

The protesters complained they did not benefit from oil production in their area, a common refrain in the impoverished swampland that produces most of Nigeria’s oil. They also demanded an end to oil pollution in the area, Reuters reported.