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Shell Appeals $2 Billion Judgment in Nigeria Pollution Case

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Shell Appeals $2 Billion Judgment in Nigeria Pollution Case

(Bloomberg) — A Nigerian court will hear Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s appeal to overturn an almost $2 billion award against the company for allegedly spilling oil in the West African country.

The energy giant is challenging a November 2020 judgment in favor of community members claiming a leak from a company pipeline damaged their land and waterways. A federal court of appeal in the city of Owerri is scheduled to consider applications from both sides on Jan. 25, according to a lawyer for the plaintiffs.

Farmers from the Ejalawa community in the southern Rivers state sued Shell and its joint venture partner, the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Co., in January 2020. A federal judge accepted that an abandoned flow line operated by Shell began spilling a “large volume of crude oil” in September 2019 that damaged the surrounding environment.

The court said the 88 plaintiffs were entitled to 800 billion naira ($1.92 billion) in compensation, and it ordered Shell to clean up. The sum is much larger than any damages previously awarded by Nigerian courts to residents of the crude-producing region for degradation of their land.

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