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This Day Online (Nigeria): Ogoni: Shell Faces Infrastructure Crisis

This Day Online (Nigeria): Ogoni: Shell Faces Infrastructure Crisis

Saturday 25 June 2005

By Isichei Osamgbi, 06.25.2005

As the Reverend Father Mathew Hassan Kukah’s Panel on Ogoni-Shell reconciliation gets underway, the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) is set to face fresh crisis, though this time in the area of maintenance of its age long facilities which have moved fast into very bad states.

A report made available to THISDAY, in response to recent press reports on the Ogoni reconciliation, the company appraised the huge cost of getting its facilities back into shape, noting the full implications, which are set to double its material cost of being operationally absent in the Ogoniland for about a decade, running into millions of dollars.

It pointed out that since 1993, when Shell has not operated in Ogoniland where it has seven flowstations, several wells, and a network of pipelines, have shown evidence of lack of maintenance, leading to their either having to be replaced entirely or repaired with huge cost.

The report stated, “our long absence from the area, has thrown up the challenge of maintaining the integrity of our facilities, many of which are prone to organized criminal damage and vandalisation. We have since the beginning of this year alone, witnessed three wellhead location fire incidents, and two trunkline leaks/fires.

“As part of our commitment to the environment, as well as to the health and safety of communities in Ogoniland, we have had cause to seek access to our abandoned facilities in order to carry out required maintenance, secure faulty wells, and clean up spills that result occasionally from equipment failure, but mostly from the vandalisation of our assets. In doing this however, we take due care to engage with and seek the consent of the affected communities, their opinion and youth leaders, as well as the relevant local government council, and the State Ministry of Environment”, it added.

The company however noted in the report that despite the cessation of its operations in Ogoniland all these years, it has continued to undertake community development interventions in many Ogoni communities, with whom it enjoys cordial relationship.

Debunking insinuations that it has been desperate to resume operations, it further said, “we suspect that our various engagements with communities especially when there are actual or potential risks to facilities, with a view to safeguarding them, and cleaning of spills, may have been misconstrued as attempts on our part to resume operations in the area”.

It cited for instance its presence in Korokoro Tai, where they went in at the invitation of the State Ministry of Environment, Tai local government authority area, the traditional institution (Gbenemene Tai), opinion leaders and youth groups, to fix the problems of repeated leaks and fires in Korokoro Well 3. In the course of the intervention, it identified other wells in the Korokoro and Bomu fields, which are at risk, and similarly got the consent of the relevant stakeholders to address them.

It equally found that at the time of its entry, the Korokoro community had no electricity as a result of three damaged electric poles, which Shell consequently replaced to enable the restoration of its electricity supply.

Contacted, a senior management source told THISDAY that the company is determined to see the reconciliation process with the Ogoni people go well and inspite of the state of disrepair of its facilities, they have implicit confidence that a good working relationship will help rebuild the communities and put the past behind, towards a better future.

“We wish to restate our commitment to the ongoing reconciliation process, and would do everything we can to support genuine efforts at achieving enduring peace in Ogoniland,” the management staff told THISDAY.

Shell is the nation’s leading oil and gas producing company, with about 50 percent of stake in Nigeria’s oil reserve, but its operations in the Niger Delta has been faced with a lot of problems, particularly Ogoni land where it had to shutdown its activities due to the aftermath of the execution of environmental rights activist, Ken Saro Wiwi and other Ogoni leaders in 1996, as a result of their murder trials. and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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