Amnesty International Warns Shell Investors On Cost Of Oil Spills | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Amnesty International Warns Shell Investors On Cost Of Oil Spills

Posted: Apr 30, 2015 at 2:38 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Sola Alabadan / Lagos


Amnesty International has warned investors that decades of unchecked oil spills in Niger Delta could cost Royal Dutch Shell billions in compensation and clean-up costs, as the Anglo-Dutch oil giant publishes its profits figures for the first quarter of 2015.

The agency whose representatives recently visited the Niger Delta to investigate the impact of oil companies said while it projected that cleaning up oil pollution in the area could be a 30-year operation, the United Nations Environment Programme estimated that $1 billion is needed for the first five years of oil clean-up for Ogoniland. This is just one of the regions Shell operates in Nigeria.

In a statement issued by the organisation in London, Business and Human Rights researcher at Amnesty International, Mark Dummett, said “Investors must beware of the hidden costs that await Shell from its Niger Delta operations. For decades the multi-national oil giant has failed to stop the oil spills, or clean up the devastating pollution that has destroyed lives and livelihoods.”

“Last year, Shell made profits of $15 billion, so investors may see it as a safe bet. But court actions have already forced it to pay out millions in compensation, paving the way for future actions from other Nigerian communities which have borne the brunt of the company’s negligence.”

In January this year, Shell finally agreed to pay £55 million ($84 million) compensation to one community living in Bodo, Ogoniland after thousands of residents took Shell to court in the UK. The company had originally offered them a paltry £4,000 ($6100) for the devastation of the fishing and farming livelihoods caused by just two of the hundreds of Shell oil spills every year.

Shell has reported more than 1,000 Niger Delta oil spills since 2009, with 204 spills in 2014, and 203 in 2013. Nigeria is a major country of operation for Shell, providing 10 percent of its oil production in 2014.

“Shell will also have to play its part cleaning up the lasting damage from the hundreds of oil spills that continue to blight the Niger Delta every year. It should come clean with investors making clear what contingencies it is putting aside to put right the damage done over the last half a century,” Dummett added.

“Shell continues to blame theft and sabotage for oil spills, but old pipelines and badly maintained infrastructure are a major cause of pollution,” he noted.