Nigeria probes 2011 oil spill

July 15, 2013 at 6:47 AM

ABUJA, Nigeria, July 15 (UPI) -- The Nigerian government said it would make a fair and balanced assessment of oil spills attributed to Shell in 2011.

The Nigerian House of Representatives announced it was calling on authorities from Shell to testify before an environment committee on spills from the Bonga oil field.

Shell closed operations at the offshore Bonga production platform in late 2011 following a leak from an export line feeding a tanker. The company said preliminary estimates indicated 40,000 barrels of oil spilled during the incident, making it one of the worst in Nigeria in decades.

House leaders said they were calling in authorities from safety regulation agencies and representatives from fishing communities in the south. House Chairwoman Uche Ekwunife said caution was needed in its assessment of the Bonga spill.

"We agree that oil producing communities in the Niger Delta have suffered a lot of neglect over the years, but we must also ensure that when communities demand that oil companies pay compensation for damages, such demands must be backed by facts and incontrovertible evidence," she was quoted as saying Monday by Nigerian newspaper ThisDay.

Oil companies working in Nigeria blame thieves and saboteurs for many of their problems.

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