The Centre for Peace and Environmental Justice on Monday said the failure of Chevron Nigeria Limited to accept responsibility for the Gbaramatu oil spill was to undermine the wellbeing and environment of people living in the affected communities.
CEPEJ said the oil spill had continued to ravage the affected areas for almost two months, as it faulted the denial by Chevron with respect to the spill.
The Chief Executive Officer, CEPEJ, Chief Sheriff Mulade, said in a statement that Chevron’s claim that its facilities were not responsible for the oil spill because the pressure in its control room did not indicate that there was a leakage or a drop somewhere was not tenable.
He argued that Chevron should re-examine its claim as there could be system failure that had made it difficult for it to detect the leakage from its facilities in the affected communities.
Although he admitted that Chevron shared facilities with the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company field Jones Creek flow-station in the affected location, Chevron’s 16” crude line runs from Makaraba through Otunana to Abiteye and the leakage was between Otunana and Abiteye.
Mulade stated that from the detailed investigations carried out by CEPEJ on the oil spill, the leakage was at the centre of Nana River, located between Kokodiag-bane and Benikrukru.
“The two communities are adjacent and opposite each other, while in-between them is the Nana River that is a ship line route where all vessels pass through to Sapele, Koko and Lagos ports,” he said.
He insisted that Chevron’s facilities in the affected areas might not be exonerated from the spill.
Mulade said, “If you do an over flight like I hear Chevron did, you may not be able to see the point of leakage because the spill is deep under the river and you may not see it when you move around but only when the tide slows down.
“And because the spill is gas pressured, you stand a chance of being suffocated in the area if you stay there for more than five to 10 minutes. That is the extent to which the spill is dangerous.”
CEPEJ said it had earlier called on Chevron to immediately address the spill, but noted that the response from the company had not been impressive.
Reacting to the position of the NGO, Chevron insisted that the oil spill was not from its assets.
A statement sent to our correspondent on Monday by the oil firm read in part, “CNL (Chevron Nigeria Limited) has investigated and continues to survey its assets in the Abiteye and Utonana fields including the 16” Makaraba-Utonana-Abiteye right-of-way.
“And CNL confirms that there has not been any indication that the oil sheen on water is from its assets in Abiteye, Makaraba and Utonana fields or from any other CNL facilities as alleged.”