Eni Investigating Oil Spill at Brass Terminal Off Nigerian Coast

Italy’s biggest oil company Eni SpA is investigating a crude spill discovered a week ago in the Brass terminal off Nigeria’s oil-rich delta region.

The spill was found during loading operations on Nov. 27, the company said today in an e-mailed statement. “Operations were immediately suspended and resumed only after it was verified that the vessel’s structures were not damaged and were not leaking,” Eni said.

Spills are often a source of friction between local communities, who blame equipment failure for most leaks, and oil companies, who say they are due to sabotage and thieves. Eni, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp. and Total SA run joint ventures with state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. that pump more than 90 percent of output from Africa’s top oil producer.

Residents in the coastal community of Odioma told Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria that they had not fished for three days because of the spill, Alagoa Morris, a project officer for the group, said today by phone from Yenagoa. The watchdog says it wants Eni to explain what caused the spill, clean it up, send relief materials to affected communities and pay compensation, according to a statement.

Nigeria, OPEC’s seventh-largest producer, pumped more than 1.9 million barrels a day last month, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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