April 13, 2024

TotalEnrgie oil leak: Our response minimising impact on environment – DG, NOSDRA

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TotalEnrgie oil leak: Our response minimising impact on environment - NOSDRA DG

Nathan Tamarapreye, Yenagoa

The National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) says its response to the estimated 3,000 barrels of crude discharge from an offshore field is to safeguard the aquatic environment.

Mr Idris Musa, Director-General/Chief Executive of NOSDRA, said on Wednesday that the NOSDRA’s commitment to the environment was at the centre of its ongoing response efforts.

The NOSDRA D-G had earlier disclosed that an estimated 3,000 barrels of crude leaked into Nigerian territorial waters on Nov. 15 at the Eginæ facility operated by TotalEnergies 130 kilometres from the Atlantic coastline.

The operator of the Egina Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel had said that the spill was minor and contained no adverse impact on shorelines and communities.

However, environmentalists have expressed concerns about the biosafety of chemical dispersants used in mopping up the spilt crude as dispersants are generally toxic and their use is restricted near human settlements.

Dispersants are chemical substances used in oil spill control that act by breaking down the oil molecules and making them sediment at the seabed.

It was learnt from industry regulators that 15,000 litres of COREXIT 9500 type liquid dispersant was sprayed using an aircraft and five vessels to mop up the leak.

On the toxicity of the COREXIT 9500 type dispersant used to tackle the leak, Musa noted that the liquid dispersant has lower toxicity to aquatic life which justified its approval for use.

“A lot of research is going on in order to get environment-friendly dispersants that could effectively combat oil spill incidents in the oceans.

“We are in concert with the development. There are other products that have been tested and proven to be non-toxic and effective in shallow waters and near shore.

“We as environmentalists and regulators would certainly not abandon our responsibilities to our environment and our nation,” Musa said.

He assured that the agency was monitoring the toxicity levels near the incident site and beyond and would conduct a post-impact assessment to ensure that the marine environment was given a clean bill of health.

The 220,000 metric tons Egina FPSO has the capacity to produce 200,000 barrels of crude daily and can store 2.3 million barrels on board.

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