Gbarantoru community is an Ijaw town in Ekpetiama Kingdom of Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. It is located on the outskirts of Yenagoa, the State capital. Shell Petroleum Development Company has been operating in the community for many years. The Gbaran/Ubie Gas Gathering Plant is located here.
Shell's commencement of a new gas flare at a time when the routine gas flaring has received global condemnation, and with the full knowledge that gas flaring is an illegal activity in Nigeria, is seen by the locals as an act of impunity and total disregard for their health. Gas flaring is a major contributor of global warming greenhouse gases. The commence this destructive activity a few weeks from the climate negotiations in Copenhagen indicates Shell's disregard for the welfare of humanity and our climate.
Community people sent distress calls to ERA in the early hours of October 30, 2009 when the perceived that air was thick with gas and feared that an explosion may ensure. Their fear was heightened by the fact that the community is situated within the Gbaran/Ubie gas plant still under construction.
Shell, through its spokesman, Mr. Precious Okolobo denied the claim, saying: "As part of the Gbaran Ubie Integrated Oil and Gas project new wells are being drilled. Subsequent tests may require controlled temporary flares. This is common practice in the industry. There is no ongoing gas flaring related to the new Gbaran Ubie project facilities .