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Will Gabon avoid the oil spill?

After a leak in Cap-Lopez, near Port-Gentil, in an oil terminal, NGOs fear massive pollution. The Perenco company ensures that everything is under control.

A year after being indicted in Gabon for charges of pollution and water degradation, the company Perenco is at the origin of a new potential ecological disaster. In Port-Gentil, Gabon, the Franco-British oil group announced on April 29 an oil leak.

But on the side of the authorities, we try to be reassuring: "No maritime pollution could be observed at this stage", assured the Gabonese Minister of Oil and Gas of Gabon, Vincent de Paul Massassa. Remarks corroborated by the Perenco group, which indicates that it has set up “as a preventive measure” floating dams.

"These retention tanks are safety devices, provided in the event of an incident on storage tanks, and in this case, they fully played their role", says Adrien Broche, Managing Director of Perenco Gabon.

But in case of overflow of the safety tanks, the oil spill remains an option. What fears the Gabonese Network of Free Organizations for Good Governance (ROLBG). The NGO sent a team on site to observe the damage.

Vigilance remains in order

For Christian Bernard Rékoula, member of the ROLBG, "what we fear is that these thousands of barrels could quickly reach the sea because with the pressure exerted by these thousands of barrels - add to that the rainfall - easily there will have an overflow resulting in a massive spill of this crude into the ocean, which is less than a hundred meters away. ".

What really happened? The government states in a press release that, "at the time of the leak, the tank, which is 18 meters high, was 60% full and contained 50 m000 or 3 barrels of crude oil awaiting loading for export" . A pumping was immediately launched by the teams of the oil group, but the leak then amplified.

“The oil spilled out of the tank into the retention dikes provided for this purpose”, indicates the government. Despite the seriousness of the facts, he still specifies that “all the oil could have been contained in retention tanks”.

In the meantime, the terminal is shut down and the oil can no longer be transported. "A full investigation into the cause of the failure of this storage tank will be carried out as soon as possible," the government said.

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