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Friends of Earth Start Campaign Against Shell Flaring

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By Fred Pals

April 6 (Bloomberg) — Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s shareholders and employees as well as car owners are being called upon to back a campaign by the environmental group Friends of the Earth Netherlands to stop Shell from flaring gas in Nigeria.

The campaign to keep Shell from releasing gases in the air starts April 8, the group said today in an e-mailed statement. “This policy contributes substantially to the global climate problem and causes severe damage to the environment,” Geert Ritsema, spokesman for Friends of the Earth, said in Amsterdam.

The Hague-based Shell has invested more than $3 billion in Nigeria to cut the flaring of gas, which is pumped together with crude oil, by about 60 percent from 2002 levels, Nick Wood, vice president of communications for exploration and production, said in the transcript of an Aug. 12 Web chat. The sum includes the impact of lowered output due to security issues, he said, with Shell needing to invest $3 billion more to complete the program.

Nigeria flared about 16.8 billion cubic meters of gas in 2007, second only to Russia, which burned off about 50 billion cubic meters that year, according to World Bank data. Flaring, which adds to greenhouse-gas emissions, happens where sufficient infrastructure doesn’t exist to bring the fuel to consumers.

Shell said in the August Web chat that Nigeria may allow the burning of gas associated with oil production beyond a December deadline set by the Senate, or upper chamber of parliament.

Shell Petroleum Development Co. produces about 80 percent of Nigeria’s gas, according to the Anglo-Dutch company’s Web site. The company will try to process more gas that is currently flared when security in the Niger Delta production area improves and militant fighting there subsides, it said.

Shell’s press department didn’t immediately return a telephone call today seeking comment.

–Editors: Randall Hackley, Rob Verdonck

To contact the reporter on this story: Fred Pals in Amsterdam at [email protected]

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at [email protected]


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