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Daily Independent (Nigeria): MOSOP, ERA dispute Shell’s remediation claims

Daily Independent (Nigeria): MOSOP, ERA dispute Shell’s remediation claims

“Two key advocacy groups in the country’s oil producing region – Environmental Rights Action (ERA) and Movement for Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) – have picked holes in remediation claims by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), saying the Anglo-Dutch oil giants is yet to fully clean-up polluted sites in the region.”

Tuesday 6 Sept 2005

By Akanimo Sampson

Bureau Chief

Port Harcourt

Two key advocacy groups in the country’s oil producing region – Environmental Rights Action (ERA) and Movement for Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) – have picked holes in remediation claims by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), saying the Anglo-Dutch oil giants is yet to fully clean-up polluted sites in the region.

Between 1999 and 2004, SPDC claimed that out of 2,012 oil spill sites it assessed in the region, 915 required remediation. Out of this, the company said it has cleaned up 542, with an outstanding 373 sites.

But, while ERA’s Field Monitoring Officer, Osas Omokaro, stated that, “to the best of our knowledge, nothing has changed in the oil communities,” MOSOP’s Information Officer, Bari-ara Kpalap, alleged: “The environmental devastation in Ogoniland is still as Ken Saro-Wiwa left it in 1995, when he and eight of our people were killed by hanging in November. Nothing has changed in Ogoni.”

Despite the seeming sharp disagreement, Shell’s Corporate External Affairs Manager, Don Boham, insisted that the trans-national oil and gas major continued with the evaluation of impacted sites in 2004, during which 294 sites were assessed as requiring remediation. According to him, these included past impacted sites as well as sites resulting from spills that occurred in 2004.

“The total number of sites on which remediation has been completed is 542, comprising 315 sites tackled in 2003 or earlier, 28 sites begun in 2003 but completed in 2004, and 199 started and completed in 2004,” the SPDC spokesman said.

He added that, “remediation actions are planned for the outstanding 373 sites. We plan to rehabilitate 220 of these sites this year, provided that the communities allow us access,” pointing out that a joint certification team comprising the federal and state Ministries of Environment inspected and certified 231 sites in 2004.

The oil giants, however, said it was yet to receive formal certificates for all the impacted sites even as it claimed to be organising training workshops on remediation techniques for regulators and communities involved in the remediation projects. It said the aim is to explain and demonstrate the technique of Remediation by Enhanced Natural Attenuation (RENA).

“Additionally, we gave seminars on remediation techniques to the National Assembly Committees on Environment and Ecology and a number of other consultative fora,” Shell said.

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