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Field Report #156 - Multiple spills in Biseni
Thursday, 21 June 2007


  • Multiple Oil spills have been left uncleaned for over 7 months
  • People live and sleep within 10 meters from the spill
  • Shell has footdragged cleanup despite obvious and immediate danger to community  

About Biseni
Biseni, located 5.14 degrees north 6.31 degrees east, is an Ijaw oil bearing community in the Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. Shell Petroleum and Development Company, was the first company to prospect for oil within the community in the early seventies, it was closely followed by Nig Agip Oil Company in the eighties. Today, the community is host to some 78 oil wells and several clusters..


For the Agunowei family of Biseni community, all is not at ease. Their house, a makeshift building, and nearby farms is surrounded by crude oil from a spill that occurred in November 2006.

The family comprising four brothers, their wives and twenty children, between the ages of 2-10 years, have their very existence threatened. They have had to live for the last seven months with the toxic fumes emanating from the spill which is just barely 10 metres away from their residence. Such is their precarious situation that a careless match or smoking ember could set off a conflagration that could consume them.

One of the chilldren residing in the house, Orufa, six years of age, was recently discharged from hospital where he had been admitted for respiratory related illnesses.  

The crude had leaked from a rupture on the Well 4 delivery trunk line, in the Shell Biseni oilfield, en route to the Adebawa Flow Station in Jokrama 4 community of Rivers State. Shell officials were alerted to the rupture in November, 2006 and it was attributed to equipment failure.

It was also gathered that sometime in December of 2006, there were two separate fire outbreaks in the community caused by the spilled crude several compound away from the Agunowei residence. Shell was aware of these outbreaks.


Multiplicity of Spills

ERA field monitors who visited the community were appalled by their find. Two earlier spill sites were noticed on the road leading into the community. According to Mr. Ebiema Otele, on whose family lands both spills were witnessed, “one occurred in January 2007 while the other had happened earlier. Both spills are traced to Well 10 and 4 delivery lines respectively. None of these spill sites have been remediated by Shell.

All three spills sites have affected vast lands and natural water ecosystems”.



“What you see today as an immense body of crude oil used to be part of a borrow pit filled with water. It served as bathing and washing water source, now it is all crude which is gradually wear us down”…………..  Richard Agunowei

“My son, Orufa,” pointing a six years old child, just got discharge from hospital. He was diagnosed as having asthma. With this spill still here we wonder if we will all not fall ill someday”…………..Godspower Agunowei

 “Only God will save us if there’s a fire outbreak. The Shell Community Liaison Officer< CLO> at the Kolo Creek Station, Ben and two others: Osakwe and Orlu came to see for themselves. We earnestly hope that they would expedite the clean up process before the flood season sets in”…………. John Agunowei

 “My lodging home was seriously affected by the spill, so much so that guests avoided the place altogether due to the strong odour of crude around the house. Shell actually agreed that the crude oil spill was as a result of equipment failure, so the better come to clean up fast and also pay us our due compensation”……………...Chief Y.A. Egberifagha.

“Last December, the spill around the Chief's house caught fire and it took spirited efforts from the village youths to douse the flame. We were quite lucky then” ………Mr. Ebi Agbadakiri, Assistant Secretary Biseni CDC.

“Shell has done nothing for us in these donkey years that they have carted away our natural resource. Oil spills and their aftermath problems have been our lot”……..Mr. Ebiladei Agbadakiri. 


ERA demands that

  • An immediate action by Shell to completely remediate all spill sites within the Biseni community.
  • Compensation of affected parties .
  • Replace all faulty equipment and pipelines within the community and beyond.




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