Shell oil spill off Nigeria likely worst in decade

December 22, 2011 - 6:06 AM

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — The head of Nigeria's oil spill management agency says an offshore oil spill from a Royal Dutch Shell PLC field is likely the worst in a decade.

Peter Idabor of the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency told The Associated Press on Thursday that oil from the spill in Shell's Bonga field has spread to roughly 100 nautical miles. Idabor said he expects oil to begin washing ashore on Nigeria's southern coast later Thursday.

Shell announced Wednesday it had closed its Bonga field after a leak of less than 40,000 barrels of oil. That's about the amount of a 1998 Mobil spill that saw oil slicks extend down Nigeria's coast to Lagos.