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Shell Fights Lawsuits Over Environmental Record in Nigeria

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By SARAH KENT: Nov. 19, 2016 7:00 a.m. ET

LONDON— Royal Dutch Shell PLC is fighting lawsuits this coming week in London and the Netherlands over its environmental record in Nigeria, highlighting the quagmire of problems the energy company faces there as it tries to pivot away from the West African nation.

The oil-rich Niger Delta has generated billions of dollars for Shell over the past 60 years, but the company’s operations have been plagued by sabotage, theft and oil spills that ravaged the local environment.

The flurry of lawsuits Shell is facing for oil spills from its Nigerian operations are a legacy of decades of drilling that now carry financial and reputational risks at a time when the company is contending with the slump in oil prices.

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