Ensuring they have social licence to operate is a cornerstone of oil companies operations in North America these days. But it can be a hard sell when accidents occur.
Spring floods eroded the riverbank beneath the tank filled with crude oil. The tank dropped from its foundation and broke a valve, enabling the oil to flow into the water.
In Sonoma County California an oil tanker truck overturned spilling 56-hundred gallons of oil onto the road and a dry creek bed.
And in another spill, this actually six years ago in Nigeria, ended with Royal Dutch Shell offering to pay $51-million for a pair of spills that occurred six years ago. That spill poured out up to 300-thousand barrels of oil (almost 13-million gallons). 15-thousand fishermen in the Bodo community lost their livelihoods as a result of the incident.
The court ruled against higher compensation because the pipeline operator could not be found responsible because of other factors: oil theft, leaks from old pipelines and sabotage of infrastructure could be factors.
It’s because of incidents like these that the company Polaroil is trying to come up with new ways to deal with spills. Greenland’s largest oil importer is looking for outside help to teach them about how to manage oil spills. Peter Henriksen who is with NIRAS, is offering the help, “inevitably, spills will occur. What is important is that you are prepared when it happens and ready to act as quickly as possible.”
What Henriksen says is key to the petroleum industry ensuring it has the social licence to operate and that it follows through on promises should mishaps occur.
(Sources: Ventures Africa, RT.Com, CBS SF Bay Area – June 21, 2014)