Thursday, August 4, 2011

UN warns on Niger Delta clean-up

Financial Times
4 August 2011

The environmental restoration of a region in Nigeria’s southern delta which has been affected by more than 50 years of oil operations could prove to be the world’s “most wide-ranging and long-term oil clean-up exercise ever undertaken,” a landmark study by the UN has warned.

The report, released by the UN’s Environment Programme on Thursday, also suggested the Nigerian government and the oil industry establish an initial $1bn trust fund to help pay for the clean-up in the Ogoniland area within the Niger Delta.

The assessment, which took place over a 14-month period, showed that “pollution from over 50 years of oil operations in the region has penetrated further and deeper than many may have supposed”, said the report, which was commissioned by the Nigerian government and funded by Royal Dutch Shell.

Mutiu Sunmonu, managing director of the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria, Shell’s subsidiary, said: “All oil spills are bad – bad for local communities, bad for the environment, bad for Nigeria and bad for SPDC. Although we haven’t produced oil in Ogoniland since 1993, we clean up all spills from our facilities, whatever the cause, and restore the land to its original state.”

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