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Oil spill: Reps ask Chevron to resolve compensation payment to Delta communities

Expectation gap threatens $1bn Ogoni clean-up project

Gerald Irona, chair- man, House of Representatives’ ad hoc committee on oil spill, on Wednesday directed Chevron Nigeria Limited to resolve all is- sues relating to payment of compensation to four oil producing communities in Warri, Delta State within 10 days.

Irona issued the di- rective at the end of the two-day investigative hearing on the oil spill on Abiteye-Escravos 18’’ pipeline which impacted on Benikrukru, Bateren, Deghele and other satel- lite towns in Warri, Delta State on August 15, 2008 and April 14, 2014.

According to him, Chevron at the previous meeting had admitted that the oil spill was sequel to equipment failure. While Chevron offered to pay the sum of N30 million, the consultant to the communities re- quested for the sum of N5,344,496,036, according to the valuation report submitted to the commit- tee by consultant/attor- ney of the affected com- munities while NOSDRA recommended the sum of N1,471,438,249.93.

According to the valua- tion report, over 30 barrels of crude oil was spilled into the entire vegetation of Abiteye field, which also impacted heavily on 5.65 hectares and lightly impacted on 43.8 hec- tares of water area of the Saghara creek II as well as 58 hectares of mangrove.

Read also: Reps move to curb dangers of oil spill

The committee during the meeting with Chev- ron, National Oil Spill, Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), De- partment of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and rep- resentatives of the oil producing communities adopted the ‘Report on the harmonisation of valua- tion report on Chevron Nigeria Limited spill inci- dents of August 2008 and April 14, 2014 from its facility at BP 32 Abiteye-Escravos pipeline’ submit- ted by NOSDRA.

NOSDRA in its report, however, dismissed Chev- ron’s valuation report that “the contingent valuation method used by its con- sultant was improper”, adding that the contingen- cy valuation method used by the agency’s consultant is universally acceptable in natural resource dam- age assessment world- wide.

Olubunmi Bamidele, NOSDRA’s assistant di- rector, operations, urged the ad hoc committee to direct Chevron “to give ef- fect to the valuation report prepared by the agency for the oil spills impact of 2008 as well as that of April 14, 2014 as submit- ted to the House Commit- tee on Environment.”

While ruling, Irona, who dismissed the alleged petitions on inducement of members of the affected communities, urged Chev- ron to liaise with the ac- credited consultant to the communities in the bid to resolve the issues. “What we are doing is an investigative hearing which we are empow- ered to do and which does not in any way apportion blames to anyone without having facts from all sides.

“The committee is how- ever not foreclosing on the possibility of Chevron seeking legal redress in court. But it will be very economical and less stress- ful for all parties to engage one another in a dialogue with a view to reaching an amicable settlement.”