The National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) has revealed that about 3,000 barrels of crude oil were lost to the November 15 oil spill from the offshore Egina Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel of TotalEnergies.
NOSDRA also stated that the “spill was not a minor one”, adding that it was the response strategy put in place that resulted in limited impact. It added that it had been tracing and tracking the oil slick and supervising response efforts.
The Director-General of NOSDRA, Idris Musa, made the revelation when speaking to journalists, noting that the spill’s clean-up was still ongoing.
The latest revelation, however, contradicted TotalEnergies’ claims of minimal impact.
“This is not a massive leak and the sheen has been treated with the appropriate response that resulted in a reduction of most of it. No shoreline or communities have been impacted.
“Production has not been affected”, TotalEnergies’ Country Communications Manager, Dr Charles Ebereonwu, had said in a terse message sent to THISDAY, last week.
The FPSO, located 130 kilometres off the Atlantic coastline from Port Harcourt, has the capacity to produce 200,000 barrels of crude daily and can store 2.3 million barrels on board.
“The spill was not a minor one; it was the response strategy put in place that resulted in limited impact, and we have been tracing and tracking the oil slick and supervising response efforts.
“NOSDRA deployed personnel led by a director to the site, and we have remained on the spill site as well as granting the requisite approvals to hasten the response,” the NOSDRA boss stated.
He explained that the agency deployed high-level personnel and activated the National Oil Spills Contingency Plan to contain the spill, adding that NOSDRA and TotalEnergies did not spare any effort in tackling the pollution to minimise its environmental impact, a development that kept the spilt crude from reaching the coastline.
“The spill has not hit the coastline because of the effectiveness of the spill’s contingency plan we deployed,” he said.
Musa further explained that TotalEnergies took steps that made the response swift and effective, adding that other oil companies assisted in the response.
He stressed that spill clean-up required a collaborative response from oil industry stakeholders, which, in this case, deployed aircraft and at least five vessels in the application of 15,000 litres of liquids to clean the waters.
But when contacted on Monday to get his company’s response to the latest revelation by NOSDRA, TotalEnergies Country Communications Manager, Dr Charles Ebereonwu, stated in a short reply to THISDAY that “We do not have any new information… rest assured we will communicate if and when there is need.”
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) had in a statement issued last week reported a crude oil spill incident that occurred during loading operations in Egina FPSO on November 15, 2023.
In the statement signed by its Head of Public Relations, Edward Osagie, the agency had said the incident occurred on November 15, 2023, at the 220,000 metric tons FPSO facility — operated by TotalEnergies — in Port Harcourt, Rivers state.