Environment Protection

Shell Told to Cleanup 6 Decades of Niger Delta Pollution before Exiting

A recent report from the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO) has stressed the concern for Shell to address its environmental obligations before divesting from the Niger Delta. The report emphasizes the necessity for Shell to rectify its legacy of pollution and ensure the safe decommissioning of abandoned oil infrastructure in the region.

It highlights concerns about the lack of clarity regarding financing for decommissioning activities, as Nigerian law mandates corporations to allocate funds for this purpose, yet evidence of such reserves remains elusive.

Audrey Guaghram, Executive Director of SOMO, asserts that Shell must take responsibility for its environmental impact before exiting the onshore oil industry in the Niger Delta. She points out the devastation caused by petroleum-contaminated rivers and polluted land, emphasizing the lasting repercussions on the lives and livelihoods of millions in the region.

Guaghram criticizes Shell’s divestment as an attempt to evade accountability for its decades-long exploitation of the area’s resources, leaving communities to bear the enduring consequences.

Despite Shell’s assertion that oil theft and pipeline tampering are primary causes of spills, the report stresses that these factors do not absolve the company of its cleanup obligations under Nigerian law. Shell’s planned divestment follows an agreement with Renaissance Consortium to sell its onshore business for $2.4 billion, subject to regulatory approval from the Nigeria Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC).

However, the move has sparked criticism from civil society groups, urging the government to intervene and halt the process amid ongoing legal battles and community grievances against Shell’s operations in the Niger Delta.

Shell’s nearly six-decade presence in the Niger Delta has been marked by controversies, litigation, and conflicts with host communities over pollution and community rights issues.

IMAGE: Aj atlas

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