NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Equinor has pushed back against allegations of ‘negligence’ over a major oil spill last September, asserting that the incident was an extraordinary occurrence which constituted an “act of God”.
The Norwegian state-owned multinational energy company in its filed defense against a lawsuit brought by two joint venture companies involved in mining aggregate on Grand Bahama has asserted that it took all ‘all reasonable’ steps to clean-up and remediate all of the land affected by the oil spill last September” following the passage of Category 5 Hurricane Dorian.
Further, the company “unequivocally denies that it was negligent in any way shape or form”.
According to documents seen by Eyewitness News, Equinor maintains that Hurricane Dorian was “an extraordinary occurrence which constituted an “act of God” and “that any damage that occurred as a result of the oil spill from the terminal facility occurred unquestionably as a direct result of natural causes.”
A&D Gaitor, Equipment Rock and Sand, the lessee of just over 5,000 acres of land in High Rock , East End Grand Bahama and heavy equipment operator, as well as Doug Ross Inc a US incorporated aggregates mining, processing and distribution company along with its subsidiary Bahamas Aggregates are listed as the plaintiffs in the legal action.
Equinor and the Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation (BAIC) are listed as the defendants.
Equinor owns the South Riding Point storage and transshipment terminal on Grand Bahama Island in the Bahamas. That terminal has a storage capacity of 6.75 million barrels of crude and condensate. At the time the hurricane hit 1.8 million barrels were stored in three tanks.
The plaintiffs assert that the roof of five of the ten storage tanks situated at the terminal “through a foreseeable storm and negligent acts” of Equinor was blown off resulting in large quantities of the oil estimated to be between 55,000 and 119,000 barrels escaped traveling out of the terminal and covering a perimeter of up to seven miles north of the terminal across the intervening land and onto the site compromising it.
The plaintiffs claim that the oil spill has damaged equipment making them unfit for use and the site unfit for the purpose of aggregate mining. This they claim has resulted in millions of dollars in damages, lost revenue and opportunities.