Monday, January 02, 2012


(Dead fish litter the shores of the Atlantic, near Orobiri Village, 12/31/11. Credit: Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye)

It appears we just won't get enough going into 2012.

During a routine operation on December 20, 2011, to transfer oil from the Bonga floating production, storage and offtake vessel to an oil tanker, less than 1.7 million gallons/40,00 barrels of oil leaked into the Atlantic Ocean off the southern coast of Nigeria, according to Shell.

Bonga field produces about 200,000 barrels of oil daily. That's 10% of Nigeria's monthly oil production, according to Reuters.

Shell says it has been working round the clock to contain and clean up the spill and has provided aerial access to journalists to see the spill foot print.

But there's some media speculation (because we have very strong juju radar detectors and know how these things usually turns out) the Bonga Oil spill, the largest in 13 years, might just be worse than reported....oh dear!

According satellite imaging, Sky Truth, the spill could have lost up to 2.4 million gallons. If this data is anything to go by, industry experts at PennEnergy say this discrepancy is likely due to the inconsistent thickness of the oil slick.

(Envisat ASAR image analyzed by SkyTruth ( - data courtesy European Space Agency)

After the initial containment and clean up effort, Shell estimates the remaining volume of leak as of December 25 to be less than 10,000 barrels.

But further up, towards the coastal line, where the Reuters crew visited, the villagers there are feeling the effects of an oil spill. I say an oil spill because according to the report, Shell says it's not their oil.

While villagers and environmentalists are saying the oil washing up the coast is from the Bonga accident, Shell says five ships were used to disperse and contain the spill and that should keep any oil from washing up the coast. Therefore it can't be their oil.

So who's the naughty oil spiller and sneaky environmental polluter keeping quiet and letting Shell take all the heat and how bad does it have to get before Nigerians get mad and scream bloody murder like the American did with the BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico?

And as much as I hate to be the pessimist, should we just assume that Shell is going to get the kid-glove treatment on this one because the minister of petroleum is a former executive of the company? Hmmh....I just wonder. Too many questions arising as this saga unfolds.

Your thoughts...

Read more at Reuters and Sky Truth

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