Another large oil spill has hit Nigeria’s already devastated Niger Delta region, killing precious mangrove swaps and wildlife.

While the spill happened near ENI’s Brass facility, the company says it has been unable to confirm the cause of this latest disaster.

Many spills in the region are caused by pipe sabotage or theft from the pipelines, as many people live in poverty and try to cash in on the valuable natural resource.

 
A large oil spill near ENI's Brass facility on the Niger Delta was reported on Monday, similar to this one which was caused by oil thieves in March

A large oil spill near ENI’s Brass facility on the Niger Delta was reported on Monday, similar to this one which was caused by oil thieves in March

While many spillages are the result of theft from the pipelines by a population which lives mostly in poverty, many of them are due to loading accidents and decrepit infrastructure

While many spillages are the result of theft from the pipelines by a population which lives mostly in poverty, many of them are due to loading accidents and decrepit infrastructure.

The problem has become so bad that Nigeria's Government is considering tough new laws to fine companies that are found to be responsible for the disasters

The problem has become so bad that Nigeria’s Government is considering tough new laws to fine companies that are found to be responsible for the disasters

 

 
If passed the legislation could cause Western-owned companies to be fined hundreds of millions of dollars each year

If passed the legislation could cause Western-owned companies to be fined hundreds of millions of dollars each year

 

However loading accidents, coupled with decrepit infrastructure, have also been found to be behind several, with companies usually forced to pay for a cleanup operation and for compensation to the locals affected.

The Government is now considering passing laws which would impose harsher fines on those responsible, meaning many Western-owned businesses could incur fines totalling tens of millions of dollars every year.

Vast stretches of the delta’s unique mangrove swamps, home to some of the planet’s rarest wildlife, are blackened and dead from oil pollution.

 

 

 

 

 
Many communities, such as this one, are surrounded by rivers and are almost wholly dependent on them for survival, so are badly affected when oil spills occur

Many communities, such as this one, are surrounded by rivers and are almost wholly dependent on them for survival, so are badly affected when oil spills occur

 

After two days, it had affected 115 miles (185 kilometers) of Nigerian coastline. Several days after the December 20 spill, Shell reported that the leak — which occurred about 75 miles offshore — had been contained before it reached the Nigerian coast.

The spill, which covered 350 square miles of ocean at its peak, was reported as having released less than ‘40,000 barrels — or 1.68 million gallons’ of oil.

 
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