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Shell oil leaks reach new peak; Nigeria hit hard

Foto: Kadir Lohuizen/Noor

Shell oil leaks reach new peak; Nigeria hit hard

13 april 2012

Amsterdam, 13 April 2012 – Shell has released its 2011 Sustainability Report. The figures reveal that the number of leaks (208 worldwide) has risen for the first time since 2003: globally, Shell has leaked a total of 6.7 million litres of oil. That is the second highest peak this millennium. Nigeria remains the most seriously affected, where last year the number of leaks due to poor maintenance doubled, from 32 to 64. This means that the oil concern has sunk back to its 2002 level there.

Campaign coordinator Geert Ritsema of Milieudefensie [Friends of the Earth Netherlands]: 'For decades Shell has been causing an oil disaster in the Niger Delta that far surpasses the 'Deepwater Horizon' or the 'Exxon Valdez', mainly due to deplorable maintenance on pipelines. Over the years, many millions of litres of oil have polluted Nigerian waters and agricultural lands. Complete communities have therefore had to leave their villages, with drastic consequences. UNEP – the United Nations Environment Programme – has been warning Shell for some time now about its irresponsible business practices in the Niger Delta and believes that the oil concern must provide the means necessary to clean up the mess and compensate area residents. The fact that Shell has still not laid one cent on the table, and impassively continues to increase its production levels shows contempt for people, nature and the environment.'

On 11 October 2012, four Nigerian farmers and fishers, together with Milieudefensie, will bring Shell before the court in The Hague. They demand that the company clean up its massive mess in the villages of Goi, Ikot Ada Udo and Oruma, compensate the victims and prevent new leaks. It is the first time that a Dutch company has been brought before a Dutch court for environmental damage caused abroad. Many international eyes are focused on the verdict, particularly as Shell will appear before the court in London a short time later to defend itself in a case that no fewer than 11,000 Nigerians have brought against the oil giant.

'Sooner or later, Shell will have to pay a huge price for many years of neglect and its deplorable business practices. It would be wise not to wait and to take action now to repair the contemptible reputation that Shell is still building up’, concludes Ritsema of Milieudefensie.

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