Shell faces paying a penalty of hundreds of millions of dollars after accepting full liability for two oil spills in the Nigerian Delta which has reportedly affected 69,000 people.
According to Amnesty International, more than 13 million barrels of oil have been spilt in the delta, twice as much as by BP in last year’s Gulf of Mexico spill.
The two spills which occurred within months of each other in 2008 in Bodo have affected the 20 km2 network of creeks on which Bodo and as many as 30 other smaller settlements are situated.
A spokesman for the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd (SPDC) said: “SPDC has always acknowledged that the two spills which affected the Bodo community and which are the subject of this legal action were operational. As such, SPDC will pay compensation in accordance with Nigerian law.”
Shell defended their record by claiming that many of the spills in the delta have not been their fault. The spokesman added: “SPDC is committed to cleaning up all spills when they occur, no matter what the cause. The majority of oil spills in the Niger Delta are caused by sabotage and theft, and Bodo is particularly affected by this criminal activity. In 2011 alone, 13 spills in the Bodo area have been caused by such illegal activity.”
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) report, funded by Shell, will be presented to President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday.