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Shell to face hearings on Nigeria work

Published: Jan. 5, 2011 at 7:49 AM

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, Jan. 5 (UPI) — Dutch lawmakers said they would call Royal Dutch Shell officials in for questioning after conducting a visit to the oil-rich Niger Delta region.

Royal Dutch Shell is under fire for its operations in Nigeria as oil rebels ramp up activity following the collapse of a November cease-fire. The summons follows a brief fact-finding mission to Nigeria by several members of the Dutch Parliament, London’s Telegraph newspaper reports.

Shell is blamed for chronic oil spills in Nigeria, which some environmental groups estimate could have spilled as much as 9 million barrels of crude oil since the 1950s. The company blames rebels for the spills, though advocacy groups counter their claims.

Meanwhile, Ann Pickard, the company’s top executive in Nigeria, was quoted as saying in leaked U.S. diplomatic documents given by WikiLeaks to London’s Guardian newspaper that her company had access “to everything” inside the Nigeria government.

Shell described the leaked diplomatic cables as “untrue” and a spokesman from the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. downplayed the cable as the “interpretation” of a U.S. envoy.

The Nigerian army launched a major offensive against rebel groups operating in the Niger Delta about six weeks ago.


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