Thursday, August 4, 2011

Shell faces first Nigerian oil spill claims in UK

Guardian (UK – Reuters)
3 August 2011

* Shell to face case under British jurisdiction - lawyers
* Oil major accepts responsibility for spills
* U.N. to release report on Nigeria spills on Thursday

By Joe Brock

ABUJA, Aug 3 (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell has agreed that a Nigerian community impacted by its oil spills can seek compensation in a British court, lawyers in the case have said, potentially opening itself up to bigger future financial and reputational damages.
It has already accepted responsibility and promised to pay some form of compensation for the spills which took place in 2008 and 2009, destroying parts of the Bodo fishing communities in the Ogoniland region of the Niger Delta wetlands.

Protest groups have increasingly tried to seek compensation against western oil companies in the firms' home jurisdictions, where they get wider media coverage and usually larger payouts.

"SPDC (Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria) has always acknowledged that the two spills which affected the Bodo community, and which are the subject of this legal action, were operational," a statement from Shell said.

"SPDC is committed to cleaning up all spills when they occur, no matter what the cause."


Shell, which still owns pipelines and oil infrastructure in Ogoniland that can leak despite the company not operating there, said most spills in the Niger Delta are caused by sabotage and theft, including 13 spills in the Bodo area this year.

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