A report – Shell’s Big Dirty Secret – issued on 28 June 2009 by green organisations including Friends of the Earth, reveals that Shell executives continued to approve gas flaring in Nigeria for financial reasons, despite knowing of the consequential serious environmental and health dangers. It also exposes Shell’s machinations in respect of climate change and damaging emissions. The report concludes that Shell is the world’s dirtiest oil company.
That conclusion is correct in more than one sense.
SHELL’S SINISTER RELATIONSHIP WITH NIGERIAN MILITANTS
Shell is the leading oil producer in Nigeria. To the outside world it appears to be an unfortunate victim of regular attacks by militants on its employees, pipelines and installations, which drive up the price of oil. The truth is more sinister.
The militant attacks are actually welcome news for Shell because without a regular artificial crimp in the Nigerian supply, oil prices would be on a downward trend, not increasing, as they are, despite falling demand in a serious recession. Higher oil prices means multi-billion dollar profits and bigger executive bonuses.
Is Shell just an innocent party fortuitously benefiting from events over which it has no control, or is it possible Shell could be behind the attacks? This would appear on initial consideration to be an outrageous slur but the truth is that Shell has a track record of entering into commercial arrangements with Nigerian militants, including individuals with links to MEND, a group that has claimed responsibility for attacks on Shell. Don’t take my word for it, read this FT article, which confirms information given to us by a Shell Nigeria insider source.