Nigeria may suffer another disruption in crude oil exports if threats by Odimodi and Forcados communities in Delta State to shut down the Forcados Export Terminal are anything to go by.
The communities threatened to shut down the facility over the spilling of over 40,000 barrels of crude oil that spread to seven Niger Delta states 20 years ago by a Mobil Nigeria platform in Eket, Akwa Ibom State.
The Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) had shut down the Forcados Export Terminal in 2016 causing Nigeria to lose about 800,000 barrels per day.
It was repaired by the Federal Government and came on stream again in October 2017, thereby increasing Nigeria’s oil export to about 1.7 million barrels and consequently improving the country’s oil revenues.
On January 11, 2018, after 17 years of litigation, a Federal High Court in Warri presided by Justice M. Shitu Abubakar gave judgment in favour of the Odimodi and Forcados communities and urged Mobil Nigeria to pay them N980 million and N450 million respectively.
However, Mobil appealed the judgment on January 12, 2018, claiming it had already paid the impacted communities.
The communities had accused Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) as the culprit but after investigation, it was discovered that a Mobil platform in Eket caused the spill that spread to Delta, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Cross Rivers and Ondo states in 1998.
The communities were angered by Mobil’s appeal against the judgment after they were said to have spent huge amounts of money pursuing the case in court since 2010.
They had vowed not to involve in any litigation with Mobil but would instead shut the Forcados Export Terminal to compel the Federal Government to act on the matter.
Counsel to the communities, Perebibo Fufeyin said yesterday that instead of complying with the Federal High Court judgment of January 11, 2018, Mobil claimed that it had paid N55 million to the communities.