From British daily The Morning Star:
Shell profits grow ‘at the expense of lives’
Wednesday 28 April 2010
by Paddy McGuffin
Amnesty International has condemned Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell for profiteering at the expense of indigenous peoples as the firm announced bumper profits.
The criticism by the human rights organisation came after Shell announced a 49 per cent surge in first-quarter profits as a result of higher oil prices.
The firm reported earnings of $4.9 billion (£3.2bn) for the first three months of the year.
The company cut 5,000 jobs last year and will slash another 1,000 by the end of the year – mainly in downstream and corporate functions to make it “more competitive.”
But campaigners pointed to the firm’s rapacious role in the Niger Delta as evidence of the human and environmental cost of its profit-swelling activities.
Further controversy surrounds the firm’s practice of “gas flaring” in the delta region. Gas flares are open-air fires that burn the natural gas that is released when oil is extracted from the ground. The practice endangers human health, harms local ecosystems, emits huge amounts of greenhouse gases and squanders vast quantities of natural gas.
An Amnesty International UK spokesperson said: “Shell‘s massive profits come at a significant cost. The company’s failure to prevent pollution and gas flaring and to clean up oil spills have had a devastating effect on people’s basic rights in the Niger Delta.
“Shells‘s shareholders may be doing very nicely, but the livelihoods of people in the Niger Delta are still being destroyed by the company’s failure to act responsibly and clean up its own mess.”
Anyone wishing to get involved in the campaign should visit www.amnesty.org.uk/shell
Talking about oil and the environment: Britain: Hundreds of protesters across the country have demanded that the taxpayer-backed Royal Bank of Scotland stop using public money to extract tar sands: here.