Monday, February 20, 2012

‘Shell not liable for Ogoni problem’

The Nation
20 February 2012

Mutiu Sunmonu sits atop oil giant Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC). In this interview with BISI OLANIYI , he speaks on the company’s relationship with the Ogoni community; illegal bunkering and  refining of crude oil in the Niger Delta.

How will you react to the rising crude oil theft in the Niger Delta?

I feel extremely saddened, as a Nigerian, at the scale of lawlessness, criminality and lack of care for neighbours that is going on in the area where you have just overflown. I am extremely worried and frankly, something has got to be done. Otherwise, our oil and gas operation in the Niger Delta is not going to be sustainable. If you talk to any IOC (International Oil Company) or any operator in the Niger Delta, I am sure they have similar stories to tell, but on a smaller scale than that of Shell, because of our footprints in particular. This is very worrisome. This is the reason we have decided to bring the issue to the forefront of the media and to give you an opportunity to see things for yourselves and also use your network to appeal to fellow Nigerians, who are perpetrating these heartless activities. Frankly speaking, it is not about the money that is being made, it is not about the production loss that really worries me; it is about the danger to the environment, which is about what they are doing to the source of livelihood of other law-abiding Nigerians. I believe this is not a war that Shell alone can win. We need the coalition of other well-meaning Nigerians, civil society groups and organisations to help us in this campaign.

Do you feel this situation will scare other foreign investors away?

On our part as SPDC, we will continue to dialogue with the government, with civil society groups, with international agencies, to see how we can help in accelerating the development of the Niger Delta.

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