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Nigeria oil spills: Shell rejects liability claim


BBC

October 11, 2012

The Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell has rejected claims by four Nigerian farmers that it should pay compensation for damage to their land.

The farmers are suing the company in a civil court in The Hague, claiming oil spills ruined their livelihoods. Shell‘s lawyers told the court it could not be held liable because most spills were caused by criminal damage.

They said repairs were hard to carry out because of insecurity in the Niger Delta. Shell lawyer Jan de Bie Leuveling Tjeenk told the court that sabotage and oil theft were widespread in the region.

The case is being brought against Shell by the farmers and the Dutch arm of the environmental group Friends of the Earth. It is the first time a Dutch multinational has been taken to a civil court in the Netherlands in connection with damage caused abroad. The case is linked to spills in Goi, Ogoniland; Oruma in Bayelsa State and a third in Ikot Ada Udo, Akwa Ibom State.

‘Sabotage’

Earlier, Channa Samkalden, lawyer for the Nigerians, told the court that Shell had failed to maintain its pipelines, clean up leaks and prevent pollution. “Shell knew for a long time that the pipeline was damaged but didn’t do anything. They could have stopped the leaks,” she said. Judges are now considering the evidence and a ruling is expected early next year…Read more.

Jonathan, Etete, Shell in fresh N155billion scandal


Premium Times

By Idris Akinbajo

May 21st, 2012

Four years after he was convicted of money laundering in France, Dan Etete, a former Petroleum Minister, through his company Malabu Oil, has become a billion dollars richer, courtesy of the Nigerian Government and Shell.

According to documents (filed March 22, 2012) before the Supreme Court of the State of New York in the US, President Goodluck Jonathan discreetly approved the transfer of the sum of $1.1bn to Mr. Etete on April 29, 2011, two weeks after he was re-elected.

The money was first paid to the Federal Government by two multinational oil companies: Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited (Agip) and Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited (Shell) in respect of oil block OPL 245.

But shortly after the funds were credited to the Federal Government’s account, Mr. Jonathan ordered that it should be secretly transferred to a London account of Mr. Etete’s company, Malabu Oil.

It is not clear what deal Mr. Jonathan struck with Malabu, and on what basis the payment was made. President Jonathan’s spokesperson, Reuben Abati did not answer or return calls seeking his comment for this story. He also did not respond to a text message sent to him for the same purpose.

The government made the payment to Mr. Etete’s company even when it had repeatedly insisted that the award of the oil block to Malabu was done in violation of laid down procedures.

Shell insisted it had no knowledge that the government passed the funds to Mr. Etete’s company.

OPL 245: History

While serving as Petroleum Minister under late Head of State, Sani Abacha, Mr. Etete awarded his own company, Malabu, an oil block, OPL 245 in 1998.

The allocation was however reversed by the Federal Government under President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2001 when the FG described the allocation process as dubious. The block was allocated to Shell in 2002.

Following the revocation, a prolonged legal battle ensued with Malabu taking the Federal Government to court. In 2006, the Federal Government reversed itself and re-allocated the oil block to Malabu. This angered Shell which then filed arbitration proceedings in Washington.

Following the protracted legal battles, an agreement was reached between all parties.

The agreement

In an agreement titled “Block 245, Malabu resolution agreement” dated April 29, 2011 between Malabu and the Federal Government, the FG agreed to pay Malabu $1,092,040,000 in “full and final settlement of all its claims, interests or rights relating to OPL245.” The agreement also stated that the rights to the oil block would be reallocated to Agip and Shell.

In a separate agreement between Shell and Nigeria, titled “Block 245 resolution agreement,” the two multinationals (Agip and Shell) agreed to Pay the same sum “for the purposes of FGN settling all and any existing claims and/or issues over Block 245…”

In other words, the multinational oil firms agreed to pay $1.1bn to the FGN with the knowledge that the money would be used to settle any existing claims that existed by any other party to the oil block…Read more.

Nigeria: Ogoni Leader Welcomes U.S. Supreme Court Decision on Shell Case


Voice of America

James Butty

October 18, 2011

The president of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People [MOSOP] said his group welcomes the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to hear a dispute between the Ogoni people and Royal Dutch Shell Oil Company.

The high court justices agreed Monday to hear a federal appeal by a group of Nigerians who alleged that shell was complicit in torture, wrongful deaths and other human rights abuses committed by Nigerian authorities against environmental campaigners during the 1990s.

MOSOP President Ledum Mitee said the decision sends the right message that Shell must be held to account.

“It is quite a refreshing news coming at this time, and I think it sends the right message that clearly, even though there have been delays in getting there, but at least we can see light at the end of the tunnel that someday Shell will be held to account,” he said…Read more.

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