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Email to Ben van Beurden regarding OML 25 in Niger Delta, Nigeria

17 June 2021

Sir. Ben van Beurden,
Chief Executive Officer (CEO),
Royal Dutch Shell,
Shell Headquarters,
Carel Van Bylandtaan 16,
2596 HR, The Hague,
P.O. Box 162, 2501AN,
The Netherlands.

Dear Sir,  

THE ROYAL DUTCH SHELL SHOULD BE WARNED NOT TO DIVEST OML 25 IN THE NIGER DELTA AREA OF NIGERIA, TO AVOID DENTING ITS RESPECTED PUBLIC IMAGE AS A RESULT OF UNRESOLVED LEGACY/FUNDAMENTAL ISSUES 

With reliable news that The Royal Dutch Shell and its Operators in Nigeria, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC), are in the process of divesting/selling its Oil Mining Lease 25 (OML 25) in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria, we consider it necessary to alert and warn the Leaders of Royal Dutch Shell/SPDC to desist from carrying out such plans.

This is hinged on the fact that for Three (3) years, the entire OML 25 Oil facilities have been on complete shutdown due to unresolved and pending legacy issues, and fundamental issues with the Operators/operations in the said area of Niger Delta, Nigeria.

It is in the light of this that we warn The Royal Dutch Shell/SPDC to promptly put a stop on the said Sales/Divestment of its Oil Assets/Facilities in OML 25, until all the said pending legacy issues, and burning Community issues are completely and satisfactorily resolved amicably. Shell (SPDC) will only be running away from its operational responsibilities, and passing it to another indigenous company that may not be able to address the said unresolved/pending legacy/Community issues, with its Divestment process of OML 25. This will evidently not augur well, or be in the interest of the industry stakeholders and the host communities concerned.

We are very much aware that The Royal Dutch Shell, had recently announced that they are quitting all their existing Onshore/Swamp Operations in Nigeria to focus more on its Deep Offshore operations in the country, which according to The Royal Dutch Shell’s CEO, Ben Van Beurden, who explained that the Niger Delta oil is no longer suitable for its business, adding that “the incessant cases of oil theft and sabotage and spillage don’t fit with the organization’s risk appetite,” and that “continuing operations in the country was no longer in tandem with its strategic investment interest.” But as a globally well-known Oil giant in Nigeria, and as a corporate entity with a respected track record in Nigeria, Shell (SPDC) should ‘ALWAYS’ ensure that it resolves and settles all its legacy and fundamental issues in its Onshore operational areas – and in this case, the ones connected to OML 25, before they exit. They need to do this before they can Divest/sell off these Oil Assets/Facilities in OML 25. They need to clear and address every disagreement with host Communities and resolve all legacy issues in OML 25, before considering any plan to sell off their Shares in Nigeria’s Oil and Gas Industry in the Onshore and swamp operations of the Niger Delta.

Shell (SPDC) has been the sole Operator all these years, managing the Oil Assets/Facilities in OML 25 with its Joint Venture (JV) partners. So, they cannot be running away from their responsibilities, by Divesting/selling off the OML 25 areas without first, settling/addressing all its legacy and fundamental issues on ground in the said areas.

I am not against the Royal Dutch Shell from Divesting/Selling off their assets in OML 25. But what I am saying here is that the Company should resolve all the pending legacy issues/Community issues, parts of what have led them to shutdown OML 25 facilities for years, before now deciding to divest/sell the said oil mining lease area.

We are therefore warning The Royal Dutch Shell/SPDC Nigeria to shelve its plans of Divesting OML 25 until they resolve all pending disagreements and legacy issues between the host communities of OML 25 and the Company. They can’t quit the stage when there are unresolved legacy/community issues on ground to be resolved/addressed appropriately. It is good for Shell (SPDC) to quit/exit from its Onshore Leases in Nigeria with a good reputation, hence this advice has become necessary for the company to heed to.

I have always supported The Royal Dutch Shell and the operations of Shell (SPDC) in Nigeria, particularly when they are in the right track while carrying out their exploration and production activities in the Niger Delta region. But in the subject case, they should right the wrong before selling/divesting OML 25 Oil Assets/Facilities in the Niger-Delta area of Nigeria.

Please, this issue should be given the needed attention because it has the propensity to instigate and stir up unanticipated crisis in the said region.  We believe that Shell (SPDC) should learn from the Ogoni unpleasant experience, by doing the needful to address the legacy/Community issue in OML 25 before they divest. This is in the interest of all. That is the way I see it.

Zik Gbemre.

National Coordinator          

Niger Delta Peace Coalition (NDPC)

No.28, Opi Street, Ugboroke Layout, Effurun-Warri,

P.O. Box 2254, Warri, Delta State, Nigeria.

Tel:      +2348026428281

+2348052106013

Email: [email protected], [email protected],

Website: www.ndpc-zik.org 

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