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Kiobel v Shell lawyers hearing 12 Sept 2017

Andrew Denney, New York Law Journal: September 12, 2017

Forcing Cravath, Swaine & Moore to hand over documents related to litigation against Royal Dutch Shell to a plaintiff seeking redress in Dutch courts would give rise to “discovery litigation tourism,” an attorney for the firm said Tuesday in arguments before a federal appeals court.

Esther Kiobel, who was unsuccessful in her effort to hold Shell liable in American courts for the 1995 execution death of her husband and eight others under the Alien Tort Statute, has taken her fight to the courts in the Netherlands. read more

SHELL STILL TRYING TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER – LITERALLY

Thurgood Marshall U.S. Courthouse, New York, New York

An important decision day for Esther Kiobel in the above U.S. Courthouse tomorrow, Tuesday 12 Sept 2017 in her epic attempt to bring Shell to Justice for complicity in the murder of her husband Dr. Barinem Kiobel, one of the  Ogoni Nine. She is seeking more than 100,000 Shell discovery documents stored in a secure US warehouse. 

“Who doesn’t love a good discovery fight? And this one involving Cravath, Swaine & Moore is a doozy, with ramifications that extend literally across the planet.”

By John Donovan

The text shown in red is an extract from an article by Jenna Greene from The Litigation Daily published in the US yesterday under the headline “Cravath in the Crosshairs”.

Cravath, Swaine & Moore are Shell’s lawyers. In 2013 they managed to torpedo on jurisdiction grounds a 2002 US lawsuit against Shell led by Esther Kiobel. After over a decade of litigation to stop the case from being heard, Cravath won a US Supreme Court decision in 2013 on that important point of law, without her charges against Shell  ever being considered. read more

Shell Withholds 100,000 Documents Critical To Ogoni Nine Case

BY PUNCH NEWSPAPERSEP 08, 2017

The oil giant, Shell, is refusing to hand over more than 100,000 internal documents on the arrest, detention, and execution of nine Ogoni men in the 1990s, Amnesty International has said. The execution of the “Ogoni Nine”,  including the renowned writer Ken Saro-Wiwa, by the government in 1995 sparked global outrage. Others executed along with Saro-Wiwa were Saturday Dobee, Nordu Eawo, Daniel Gbooko, Paul Levera, Felix Nuate, Baribor Bera, Barinem Kiobel, and John Kpuine. In a statement on Friday, a Senior Director of Research at Amnesty International, Audrey Gaughran, said Shell has gone to extraordinary lengths to withhold information vital to the case. He alleged that the oil giant may have “skeletons in its cupboard” and should not be allowed to hide behind expensive legal teams to avoid facing justice. “Shell has gone to extraordinary lengths to withhold this critical information. Because the documents in question are so old, it is highly unlikely that there are legitimate business reasons for keeping them confidential. So what does Shell have to hide?” FULL ARTICLE read more

Ogoni Nine: Shell’s lawyers refusing to hand over “critical” evidence – Amnesty International

The widows of four of the men, led by Esther Kiobel, are the plaintiffs in the case which was first filed in 2001 in the U.S. The U.S. Supreme Court in 2013, without hearing the substance of the case, had ruled that the U.S. did not have jurisdiction. The widows filed the lawsuit in the Netherlands on June 28. An international human rights NGO, Amnesty International, said in a statement Friday that the U.S. law firm, Cravath, Swaine & Moore, has refused to hand over more than 100,000 internal documents considered crucial to the case. The Amnesty International directly accused Shell of trying to prevent the release of vital information. FULL ARTICLE read more

Shell Invests to Boost Global Gas Demand

Europe’s biggest energy company is investing in projects to boost global gas demand and aims to continue feeding the market it’s nurturing with new liquefied natural gas export plants.

Royal Dutch Shell Plc is supporting the development of gas use in heavy transport such as shipping and is also helping smaller and less credit worthy customers begin importing LNG, Maarten Wetselaar, the company’s director of integrated gas and new energies, said at an event at Bloomberg’s Sydney office Wednesday. As new LNG customers enter the market, that will open a window for Shell and others to develop new low-cost export plants. “I want to create shorts that we can build projects against,” Wetselaar said. “As we develop the market, we’ll need new supply. We will build new LNG projects to serve that market, but as for where, I would be wrong to tell you.” FULL ARTICLE read more

‘Ogoni cleanup has been politicised due to diverse interests’

What, in your view, is actually delaying the cleanup of Ogoni land for over two years after the Federal Government announced its commencement?
The cleanup process was flagged off with funfair and with raised expectations that things will be done in Ogoni. But we have seen clearly that the cleanup process of Ogoniland has been politicised and the diverse interests in the process has not been properly managed to the extent that there are different expectations from different interest groups. This is one of the serious problems why the cleanup has not commenced. And because it has been politicised, the flag off itself is a mere political statement with what we have seen. Two years down the line, not a drop of oil has been cleaned up. read more

Will Oprah Winfrey portray Esther Kiobel in a movie about her epic battle with Shell? 

If Esther does eventually win her case, it will make the Erin Brockovich story look a tea party by comparison.

By John Donovan

The above headline may be premature but it really could be just a matter of time.

Last Thursday, 31 August, an application was filed with the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to film an appeal hearing made by Shell’s US lawyers Cravath, Swaine & Moore opposing an order made by a federal judge in favour of Esther Kiobel.

The application was made by Freke Vuijst a US correspondent of Dutch media and also covers her cameraman Martijn Hart. The applicant reveals that she is currently involved in the making of a film documentary about the case. The application says: “The above mentioned case is of direct interest to the Dutch public, since Esther Kiobel filed a case in the Netherlands.” read more

Shell warns of safety risks at occupied Nigeria plant

Hundreds of protesters from the Kula and Belema communities in Nigeria’s restless southern Rivers state have occupied the plant since August 11 to press their demands for jobs and better living conditions. “The illegal occupation of Belema Flow Station and Gas Plant in Rivers State has safety implications both for the people at the facilities and nearby communities,” the company’s Nigerian subsidiary, Shell Petroleum Development Company, said in a statement on Sunday. It said it was “deeply concerned that unauthorised persons, including women and children, have been observed in close proximity to equipment that processes crude oil and gas without the protection of safety clothing.” Shell said the occupation “exposes people at the plant to higher safety risks as anything could trigger a spill or fire with potentially serious consequences.” FULL ARTICLE read more

Shell Raises Alarm Over Occupation Of Belema Flow Station

Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) has described the occupation of its Belema flow station and gas plant in Kula Kingdom, Rivers State by host communities as  a “safety risk” to its operations. The Belema flow station has been occupied since August 11, 2017, by residents of the Belema and Offoin-Ama communities, who have camped out night and day at the facility. In a statement released on Sunday, SPDC said it was “deeply concerned that unauthorized persons (including women and children) have been observed in close proximity to equipment that processes crude oil and gas without the protection of safety clothing that is mandatory for people working or accessing such restricted areas.” “SPDC had carried out an emergency shutdown of production ahead of the illegal occupation but has been unable to access the facilities since then to ensure a safe shutdown over a prolonged period. “The continued illegal occupation for several days exposes people at the plant to higher safety risks, as anything could trigger a spill or fire with potentially serious consequences,” the company warned. FULL ARTICLE read more

Shell paid $31 billion to Nigerian govt between 2002-2016 – Official

Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) remitted 29.8 billion dollars to the federation account and 1.2 billion dollars to Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) between 2002 and 2016, Igo Weli, General Manager, External Relations, made the disclosure on Monday. Mr. Weli spoke in Port Harcourt while reacting to the shut-down of SPDC flow station and gas plant in Belema community by angry youth. The youth accused the company of neglecting them and marginalising their community. Addressing journalists, Mr. Weli said the seizure of the company’s facilities by the youth would not only send wrong signal to the international community, but was capable of discouraging further investment in the Niger Delta. FULL ARTICLE read more

Shell/NPDCl Attempt to Resume Oil Production in Ogoniland

By Fegalo Nsuke, MOSOP Publicity Secretary: We disapprove of Shell’s attempt to re-enter Ogoniland. We accuse them of the killings of 1995 and for the death of over 3000 persons. We accuse them of the ruin of over 10 Ogoni communities whose inhabitants remain in exile. We accuse them of genocide in Ogoniland and for the complete destruction of our environment.

I do not how best to describe Shell Nigeria and her new ally, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), both of which have exhibited a very high level of irresponsibility in Ogoniland.

On Thursday, August 4, led by the president of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) the Ogoni people protested against a surreptitious attempt by Shell to re-enter Ogoniland.

The demonstration clearly represented our disapproval of any form of oil business in Ogoni. We made our position very clear, that no form of oil exploitation should resume in any part of Ogoniland without proper negotiations. read more

Protestors occupy Shell plant in Nigeria

Hundreds of protesters have occupied a Nigerian oil facility owned by Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell, demanding that a local company take over its operations, a community leader said Saturday. “We want Shell to hand over the operations of the flow station to Belema Oil Company because it appreciates our challenges and needs,” community leader Godson Egbelekro told AFP. Protesters from the Kula and Belema community in Nigeria’s restive southern Rivers state said the community has suffered through decades of poverty and neglect. FULL ARTICLE read more

Protesters storm Shell crude flow station in Niger Delta

The protesters complained they were not benefiting from oil production in their area, a common refrain in the impoverished swampland that produces most of Nigeria’s oil. They also demanded an end to oil pollution in the area.

Soldiers and security guards did not disperse the crowd as it entered the Belema Flow Station in Rivers State, which feeds oil into Shell’s Bonny export terminal.

But the army sent reinforcements after protesters said they would stay at the facility for two weeks.

“I am a graduate for about eight years without a job,” said Anthony Bouye, one of the protest leaders. “Shell won’t employ me despite us having so much wealth in our backyard.” read more

$2.47bn at stake in US case: Shell/Exxon v Nigerian National Petroleum Corp

By John Donovan

Provided below are links to a selection of US court documents I have published online about a dispute being litigated in the US courts involving Shell, Exxon and the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corp (NNPC). A gigantic sum (including interest) of $2.47bn USD is at stake.

In an echo of the Esther Kiobel v Shell case, also currently being heard in the US courts, the current arguments are about the discovery process. (Esther is actually suing Shell’s US lawyers, Cravath Swaine & Moore.) read more

FINAL EXTRACT ESTHER KIOBEL WRIT SERVED ON SHELL 28 JUNE 2017

By John Donovan

Published below are the final pages – 113 to 138 – inclusive, from the Writ served on multiple companies within the Royal Dutch Shell Group on 28 June 2017 on behalf of Esther Kiobel. These pages provide supporting information about the claim, including a List of Exhibits. The formatting is not 100% accurate, but the content is correct.

Extract begins

CLAIM

The claimants request the court to enter judgement, provisionally enforceable as far as possible:

  1. to rule that the defendants acted unlawfully towards the claimants and are jointly and severally liable to them for the damage that they have suffered and will suffer in the future as a result of the defendants’ unlawful actions, which damage is to be assessed during separate follow-up proceedings and settled according to the law, all this plus the statutory interest up to the date of settlement in full;
  2. to order the defendants within 21 days of the judgment to compel the CEO of Royal Dutch Shell, in any case the CEO of SPDC, to make a public apology for the role that Shell played in the events leading to the death of the claimants’ spouses and to publish the text of this statement clearly visible on its website, subject to a penalty of €20,000 per day (or a sum to be determined by the court in accordance with the proper administration of justice) that they fail to comply with this order;
  3. to order the defendants jointly and severally to pay the extrajudicial costs;
  4. to order the defendants, jointly and severally, to pay the costs of these proceedings, including the subsequent costs.

The cost of this: €80.42 read more

Kiobel Writ: The Dutch battlefront against Shell

For years, Shell encouraged the Nigerian regime to take (more) effective measures designed to ensure Shell’s return to Ogoniland. Shell did this despite the fact that it had meanwhile learned from experience that in its actions, the regime frequently violated human rights and many people were killed.

By John Donovan

Earlier today we published an article about the latest legal moves on behalf on Esther Kiobel in the US courts against a Shell law firm. We now return to the publication of information about her legal action against Shell in the Netherlands. The numbered paragraphs below are extracted from the 138 page Writ served on multiple Royal Dutch Shell companies on 28 June 2017. As can be seen in the footnotes, the allegations are supported by voluminous evidence.

Extracts begin

8.8 Shell Nigeria Shell operated as a single entity

8.8.1 Introduction read more

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