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Friends of the Earth International: Shell Shareholders Get Billion Dollars Bills

MAY 15, 2007
4:01 AM

CONTACT: Friends of the Earth International
Paul de Clerck, +32-494380959; 
Shell Shareholders Get Billion Dollars Bills 
THE HAGUE (THE NETHERLANDS), 15 May 2007 – Environmental activists presented today several multi-billion dollar bills to shareholders attending oil giant Shell’s Annual General Meeting in The Hague.

The Anglo-Dutch company should spend a portion of its more than 25 billion euro 2006 profits to critically reduce its environmental impact in a range of countries from Nigeria to Ireland, according to environmentalists.

Costs for cleaning up the environmental damage in Nigeria alone have been estimated at several billion of dollars.

“Shell’s sky high profits over 2006 are made at the expense of people and the environment. We present here the unpaid bills. Shell CEO Jeroen van der Veer should acknowledge his responsibility for this and allocate money to clean up the mess he made.” said Paul de Clerck, corporate campaigner at Friends of the Earth International.

The largest bill unpaid by Shell consists of pollution from oil pipeline leaks and gas flaring. In the report ‘Shell, use your profit to clean up your mess’ [1] clean-up costs are estimated in the billions of dollars. Oil leaks cause health problems, pollute drinking water and ruin crops.

The gas which is flared at Shell oil and gas facilities in Nigeria has been estimated to cause as much climate change as half of all the pollution from private cars in the Netherlands. The flaring releases many toxic gases which cause acid rain and damage to health. Stopping the flaring would cost 1.5 billion dollars.

In Ireland the ‘Shell at Sea’ action group has demanded that Shell build its refinery at sea rather than on land. That would make the construction of a risky pipeline unnecessary. The extra costs of building the refinery at sea have been estimated at 736 million dollars.

Irish activists were also present at the Shell annual meeting today, including Willie Corduff, who won the prestigious Goldman Prize in May 2007. Corduff was jailed for 90 days in 2005 when he refused Shell access to his land for building the gas pipeline.


Paul de Clerck, Friends of the Earth International corporate campaigner: Tel: +32-494380959 (Belgian mobile)

Friends of the Earth Netherlands / Milieudefensie Press Office +31-20-5507 333 or +31-6-29593873. (Dutch mobile)

Willie Corduff, winner of the prestigious Goldman Prize +31-6-29593881 (Dutch mobile, valid on May 15 only)


[1] The report is online here and its sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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