Oil spills, a common occurrence in the Nigerian oil industry is caused by factors ranging from equipment failure, corrosion, sabotage and human error.
A Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) isusually carried out to identify the cause of an oil spill, its impact and by extension value of damaged properties. Generally all JIVs conducted by oil companies have been without participatory involvement of civil societies until National Coalition on Oil Spill and Gas Flaring in the Niger Delta (NACGOND) commenced advocacy engagements with the oil companies and regulatory agencies. However, only Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) has openly allowed external stakeholders such as NACGOND to participate as “observer” in its JIV process, after series of national and international engagements with the coalition. Although, a step in theright direction, there are still lots of concerns observed by NACGOND during JIVs. The major ones are, the role of oil companies and security agencies in securing pipelines oil installations,assets integrity management, method of determining the total volume of oil spilled and regulatory agencies role in JIVs and clean up and remediation activities.
A number of recommendations were made by NACGOND towards a new JIV policy and practice,to help reduce the distrust between oil companies, regulatory agencies and local communities,ultimately leading to a more environmental sustainable Niger Delta.