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Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) Takes Responsibility For Nigeria Oil Spills

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Bidness Etc discusses how Amnesty International’s accusations helped the Nigerian community leverage its rights against the oil giant

Published: November 17, 2014 at 8:08 am EST

By: Micheal Kaufman

Royal Dutch Shellplc (ADR) (NYSE:RDS.A) has accepted responsibility for the two oil spills in Bodo community in Nigeria that occurred in 2008, and has decided to compensate quickly and fairly to the villagers harmed by the spills.

The decision by the Anglo-Dutch oil giant came after Amnesty International accused the company of being negligent in fulfilling its duties and misquoting figures in a filing with the London High Court. The British-based human rights agency alleged that Shell had known for years that the pipelines were faulty and that it made false claims about the size and impact of the oil spills.

According to Media Relations Manager of Shell Petroleum Development Company, Precious Okolobo, following the oil spill in 2008, representatives from Shell, the Bodo community, and the government agencies went to the affected area to evaluate the extent of the damage from the spills. Mr. Okolobo said that the estimated aggregate volume of the oil spill in Bodo was around 4,144 barrels of oil.

He also said that as part of the litigation procedure, Shell ordered investigators, hydrologist, satellite remote-sensing experts, and mangrove experts to examine the impact of the spills on mangroves and seawater, and also requested the experts to evaluate the volume and extent of the oil spills, along with any other information helpful in determining the impact.

The investigation, which was conducted on accusations by Amnesty International, reveals that the aggregate volume of the oil released as a result of the pipeline explosion was greater than the figure quoted in the initial report.

The latest investigation has raised questions over the Joint Investigation Visit, which mentioned an underestimated volume for the two oil spills. However, these figures alone will not establish an amount for compensation. The environmental damage caused by the explosion will also be taken into consideration and the compensation amount will be determined accordingly.

Shell Petroleum Development Company is working in collaboration with the National Coalition on Gas flaring and Oil Spills in the Niger Delta to explore the consequences of the oil spills in greater depth.

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