Shell Nigeria pollution 60 times worse than said

This May 2010 video says about itself:

Shell Oil: Human rights go up in flames

Gas flaring happens when oil is pumped out of the ground, producing gas. The gas is separated out and, in Nigeria, is usually burnt as waste. This practice, combined with numerous oil spills, has left communities in the Niger Delta with little option but to drink polluted water, eat contaminated fish, farm on spoiled land and breathe in air that smells of oil and gas. It also makes a mockery of Shells much-flaunted business principles.

See also here.

From Reuters new agency:

Mon Apr 23, 2012 1:57pm EDT

* Nigerians taking Shell to UK court over Bodo spill

* Amnesty says more than 103,000 barrels spilt

* Shell says legal action is delaying clean up

By Tim Cocks

LAGOS, April 23 – An oil spill in Nigeria for which Royal Dutch Shell is being sued for tens of millions of dollars in a London court was at least 60 times worse than it announced, a report by Amnesty International said on Monday, citing research it commissioned.

A Shell spokeswoman said it was not appropriate to comment on the estimate while the spill was still the subject of litigation, adding that efforts to clean up had been hampered by insecurity in the Bodo area of the Niger Delta and by oil theft that had caused even more oil to be spilt since.

A group of 11,000 Nigerians launched a suit against Royal Dutch Shell at the London High Court last month for two oil spills in 2008/9 that they say destroyed their livelihoods.

SPDC, a Shell-run joint venture between the state oil firm, which holds 55 percent, Shell, with 30 percent, EPNL, with 10 percent and Agip, with 5 percent, admits responsibility for two spills that devastated the Bodo fishing communities in the Niger Delta, a labyrinth of creeks and swaps.

The Amnesty accusation is based on footage of one of the oil leaks sent to Washington State-based research company Accufacts, which examined the flow rate from the film and found it to be between one and three barrels a minute.

Amnesty extrapolated that the total oil spilled “over the 72 day period is between 103,000 barrels and 311,000 barrels.”

The high end of Amnesty’s estimate is still only half the 600,000 barrels that lawyer Martyn Day, who represents the affected Bodo communities, says may have been spilt. But it is much greater than the 1,640 barrels Shell says flowed out.

“The difference is staggering: even using the lower end of the Accufacts estimate, the volume of oil spilt at Bodo was more than 60 times the volume Shell has repeatedly claimed leaked,” Audrey Gaughran, Director of Global Issues at Amnesty International, said in a statement.


Success in Day’s case would create a precedent that other communities affected by oil spills around the world might follow. It is being nervously watched by the oil industry.

Shell spokeswoman Sarah Bradley told Reuters around 4,000 barrels of oil were spilt in total in the two spills — about 1,640 barrels in the one Amnesty investigated that was stopped in Nov. 2008, and another 2,500 barrels from a corroded pipe that was fixed in Feb. 2009.

Accufacts officials were not immediately available for comment, and Amnesty was not able say how long the footage was.

A letter from them to Amnesty obtained by Reuters said “the oil release rate in the video is … 1 to 3 barrels a minute, largely driven by … girth weld leak failures.”

“It is also worth noting that once the leak started, the leak rate would not decrease for some time, until the operator discovered the release and … evacuated the pipeline.”

Shell agreed in August that a Nigerian community affected by the spill can claim compensation in a British court, setting a precedent for such claims.

Amnesty admitted sabotage was a major problem but said the basis for the claim it is the main cause of spills was “an oil spill investigation process (by Shell) which is deeply flawed.”

“The cause of spills, the volume of oil spilt, and other important parameters like the start date are not recorded in any credible way,” the watchdog said.

LITTLE has been done to clean up oil pollution in the Niger delta, either by Nigeria’s government or oil giant Shell, rights and environment groups said today: here.

BRITISH lawyers representing a Nigerian community allegedly blighted by oil pipeline leaks said yesterday that they would meet industry giant Shell in a bid to reach agreement. A legal action has been brought against Shell in relation to claims by 15,000 residents of the Bodo community in Nigeria’s Niger delta after two major pipeline leaks in 2008: here.

Nigeria’s Bodo community claims win over Shell after latest UK court ruling: here.

TODAY’S ruling that oil giant Shell cannot be pursued in British courts for activities that took place in Nigeria is bad news for poor communities the world over — and for the planet: here.

OIL giant Shell is guilty of “fundamental rights violations” by paying its Nigerian workers poverty wages and stringing them out on temporary contracts despite working for the company for up to 20 years, IndustriALL Global Union charged today. The international trade union organisation released a report from a fact-finding mission that spoke to workers at the Umuebulu-Etche Flow Station, Port Harcourt: here.

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