Barbados Environment Ministry Has No Shell Oil Pipeline Leakage Records!

As we originally reported in "Burst Shell Oil Pipeline – Oil Heading For Barbados Coast", since 1995, the seven-mile pipeline from Oistins to Grantley Adams International Airport has burst on several occasions – spilling jet fuel onto agricultural lands and into the water table and nearby wells.

Yesterday, we received information from a source that, if true, is beyond outrage and well into criminal negligence…

Barbados Free Press has received information that the Barbados Ministry of the Environment does not have in it's possession the Shell Oil daily pipeline records to show how much jet-fuel has been lost from the pipeline since leaks were first reported in 1995.

We are also informed that there is no Barbados environmental law that requires Shell Oil to keep daily pipeline leakage records, or to surrender these records for government audit.

Outrage Over Lack Of Oversight & Environmental Laws

Our source states that pretty well every pipeline company in the world is required to keep and file daily in/out product loss records. It is pretty simple – document how much product went into the pipeline and how much came out at the other end. The difference is the product lost in transport. Large amounts of lost product can indicate theft, pipeline leakage or instrumentation and accounting problems.

For obvious reasons, virtually every jurisdiction in the western hemisphere requires oil companies to keep daily product loss records not only for pipeline transport, but also for storage tanks, including underground fuel storage tanks at retail service stations.

Daily dips at retail service stations are required not only for normal accounting, but also to indicate if there is any leakage of gasoline or diesel fuel into the ground.

So, virtually every jurisdiction requires by law that such records are to be kept and produced for government inspection…

…virtually every jurisdiction that is, except for Barbados.

Our source tells us that the Barbados Ministry of the Environment has never audited the Shell Oil daily pipeline leakage records, and has never received copies of the records – if they even exist.

How about it Environment Minister Thompson?

* Why doesn't your Ministry have in it's possession right now, the daily product loss records from the Shell Oil pipeline for the last ten years?

* Why haven't you introduced laws to require records keeping and audits for fuel storage and transport?

* Why haven't you introduced laws to require immediate reporting of petroleum spills and leaks to the Ministry of the Environment?

This is very basic stuff, Liz.

Is the source correct? What is the story?

6 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Business, Crime & Law, Environment, Island Life, Politics & Corruption

6 responses to “Barbados Environment Ministry Has No Shell Oil Pipeline Leakage Records!

  1. John

    I would like to add to an earlier comment I made. This was:

    Under the headline, “Hoteliers bare all at AGM” in the Nation News of June 09, 2006, Trevor Yearwood reports on the recently held AGM of the BHTA.

    http://bararchive.bits.baseview.com/archive_detail.php?archiveFile=./pubfiles/bar/archive/2006/June/09/LocalNews/21035.xml&start=0&numPer=20&keyword=martineau&sectionSearch=&begindate=1%2F1%2F1994&enddate=12%2F31%2F2006&authorSearch=&IncludeStories=1&pubsection=&page=&IncludePages=1&IncludeImages=1&mode=allwords&archive_pubname=Daily+Nation%09%09%09

    He summarises the main problems as: “TROUBLE with getting insurance coverage for new seaside buildings, reportedly high taxation across the tourism industry and the continuing loss of traditional tourist accommodation to villas and condominium buildings, are among the issues bothering hoteliers.”

    So, not only does the Opposition and Newspapers have little to say about the problem of contamination of our waters, the BHTA does not seem to recognize it as an issue either.

    Maybe it isn’t.

    The addition I would like to make is:

    The more that comes to light the more it makes you realise that people in authority have either adopted the policy “Mum’s the word” or they have not got a clue as to what natural processes take place.

    It would not surprise me that your source is correct and that the persons in authority have chosen to keep silent in the hopes that the problem will go away.

    So in addition to the BHTA, add the Ministry of the Environment. By deduction, it seems as though the Ministry of Health will follow shortly.

    We insulate the Ministry of Finance and/or Economic Development from issues like this one. What we fail to realise is that these types of problems arise as direct results of conscious decisions taken by these two ministries.

    As we get closer and closer to the limit of what our natural resources can stand, the tolerance for the “Mum’s the word” policy becomes more and more tested and is more and more likely to be replaced by an appreciation by many citizens of the sheer incompetence of those in authority.

    … and we wonder why we have the boys on the block and other negative symptons of development ….. it may be just that they are alot smarter than the rest of us and have twigged earlier!! The rest of us need to be led over the cliff and experience free fall before we wisen up.

    Seems I start the week as a Chicken Little.

  2. Anonymous

    An advertisment about the Caribbean Splash Town Hall meeting appeared in yesterday’s nation newspaper on page 9.

  3. victim

    I am a victim of shell oil leaks and I am mad as hell with the situation.Shell admitted that their lines were leaking from 1994 and not 1995,Their figures showed over 300 thousand gallons of jet fuel .Three ministers of agriculture have presided in their ministries, since this oil leak into the groung water. The Prime Minister came to office in 1994,he knows about it and did nothing,where is CERO on this matter of such a magnitude.Farmers and their extended families are suffering from the negligence of Shell and the Government of Barbados.

  4. Pingback: Barbados Free Press » Blog Archive » Shell Barbados Pipeline Leaks Still Not Cleaned Up

  5. Jane

    Everybody suffers when something like this happens just that we don’t all feel it at the same time.

  6. bluesea

    Can someone tell me the name of the law that states that “every pipeline company in the world is required to keep + file daily in/out product loss records”? I really want to know this!