Oil spill: Shoreline Clean-up Assessment Techniques (SCAT) under the Bodo Mediation process

Shoreline
  • The Bodo Mediation Initiative (BMI) was established under the auspices of the former Dutch Ambassador who, until 2015 co-chaired the mediation process to deliver the clean-up of Bodo. The mediation is between SPDC and the Bodo Community with representatives from UNEP, NOSDRA, Rivers State Government, the Dutch Embassy and a coalition of NGOs in the Niger Delta, NACGOND. The BMI strives for clean-up of the Bodo community to international standards and the purpose of the Shoreline Clean-up Assessment Technique (SCAT) under the BMI was to form judgments on the best remedial methods applicable to each grid at individual sites.
  • The SCAT approach was recommended by the UNEP representative in the BMI (Dr. David Little) as the best method to ensure effective clean-up to international standards. SCAT allows clean-up action to be selected and implemented based on site specific findings during the detailed site assessment. This was accepted by BMI in order to ensure that clean-up is carried out to international standards and best practices.
  • A preliminary SCAT (Pre-SCAT) mission (which is basically a reconnaissance visit to have a visual assessment of the impacted area) was carried out from 4th to 15th May 2015. The main SCAT mission (which included taking sediment samples from the impacted area for laboratory analysis of the hydrocarbon compound) was carried out from 3rdAugust to 25th August 2015. It is important to note that the area covered by the SCAT included areas impacted by the 2007/2008 spills caused by equipment failure as well as areas impacted by artisanal refining activities.
  • The results of the pre-SCAT and main SCAT were issued by the SCAT team leader, Dr. Erich Gundlach, in June 2015 for the pre-SCAT and in September 2015 for the main SCAT.
  • The SCAT results confirmed areas of pollution and the need for clean-up. These results did not raise new concerns because they were not different from existing observations from earlier reports. At a meeting held on 18th July 2016 with members of the Bodo Community, the BMI chair discussed the observations in the SCAT report and emphasized that the only possible way to mitigate against continued exposure to the negative consequences of the polluted environment was to immediately commence the clean- up and remediation exercise.
  • The SCAT results were worrisome but not surprising. They confirmed that the degree of oil contamination in the Bodo Creek was high. This, however, did not warrant immediate emergency measures – the extent of the pollution was known, people were already aware they had to stay out of polluted areas – but rather emphasized the need for clean-up.
  • SCAT is a cradle to grave process. It was to continue throughout the duration of the project to monitor and evaluate progress. Sadly, the clean-up process was shut down by Bodo community members two weeks after the report was released, because these community members wanted to receive money rather than have their Bodo community cleaned-up.
  • As of then, the main priority of the BMI was to ensure that all parties, in particular the Bodo community, would re-commit to the BMI process and clean-up of the Bodo community. The SCAT report results were kept under consideration until the clean-up could be relaunched.
  • The Bodo mediation process is a delicate process based on trust and confidentiality. Documents are shared with relevant BMI stakeholders on a need to know basis. The SCAT report was shared with relevant BMI stakeholders and its contents were used to inform the Bodo community.
  • It is important to note that project director Kay Holtzman’s six month contract was not extended following constant appraisal/evaluation by the BMI technical team, which consisted of the Bodo delegation, SPDC, NOSDRA and Min of Environment. In view of Mr Kay Holtzman’s poor performance the BMI technical team recommended that a more competent project director should be sourced for.
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Obineme Ndubuisi Micheal, Editor, Content, Technical and Creative Writer covering the entire value chain of the Energy, Mining, Oil and Gas Industry. Oil and Gas Republic focused its publication in Renewable/Energy, Mining, Oil & Gas Industry.
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