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We’ll miss our target to stop ‘flaring’ in Nigeria, admits Shell

FROM OUR ARCHIVES… WE NOTE THAT SHELL WAS STILL MAKING PROMISES ON THE SAME SUBJECT AT THE 2012 AGM LAST WEEK

The Guardian: We’ll miss our target to stop ‘flaring’ in Nigeria, admits Shell

Vandna Synghal

Saturday May 28, 2005

Shell, which recently announced record profits for 2004, admitted yesterday that it would miss its own targets to bring to a halt the harmful practice of burning unwanted gas in Nigeria.

The company said it would not stop the process of “flaring” – that is, burning off gas produced as a by-product from oil wells – in Nigeria until 2009, rather than by 2008, as previously promised.

The Anglo-Dutch company said it had spent $2bn (£1.1bn) and expected to invest another $1.85bn in the project to gather the gas rather than burn it.

Basil Omiyi, managing director of Shell’s Nigeria division, wrote in the company’s 2004 environmental report: “The effort is behind schedule because of past underfunding by our government partner and delays by Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria in implementing projects.”

Flaring is considered a major contributor to greenhouse gases and global warming. The World Bank estimates that more than 100bn cubic metres of gas is burned off in Nigeria annually, enough to meet Germany’s needs for a whole year. Nigerian oil contains a lot of gas, which is separated during the refining process but for which there is no existing local market.

Shell also reported that spills caused by sabotage increased in 2004 to 157 and said this was mostly by communities wanting to make money from clean-ups. Mr Omiyi said: “Poverty lies behind this practice. Ending it requires economic development and will take time.”

Shell has adopted a new strategy of carrying out fewer but better-focused development projects. It reduced spending on its own local pro jects by $25m and instead is contributing $68.9m to the government’s Niger Delta Development Commission for development in the region.

The company suffered a severe dent to its reputation last year after making several downgrades to the levels of its oil and gas reserves.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/story/0,3604,1494367,00.html

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