Yenagoa - Shell said on Thursday it had
shut down an oil processing facility in southern Nigeria over a pump
failure, but denied reports that a significant amount of oil had
spilled in the area.
The flow station in the Nembe Creek
area of Bayelsa state was closed on Wednesday, the Anglo-Dutch
It said "some oil escaped from the
seal into the saver pit in the flow station, with some sheen observed
(in the area). The pump has been repaired."
Nigerian NGO Environmental Rights
Action sent a team to visit the site Wednesday and reported that
there was a spill. The head of the group, Nnimmo Bassey, described
the spill as extensive.
"It is shameful that Shell could
indulge in an exercise of trying to hide what even the blind can
see," he told AFP.
"The spill is extensive and very
visible on the waters - on the Brass River and is reported to be
flowing into the Atlantic Ocean," he added.
Areas of the oil-producing Niger Delta
region have been badly polluted by decades of spills due to a range
of factors, including sabotage by thieves or militants as well as
operational or maintenance faults by the oil companies.
Activists say companies such as Shell,
Nigeria's biggest producer, have not done enough to prevent leaks.
Nigeria is Africa's largest oil
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