Shell, Agip fault Amnesty’s oil spill report in Niger Delta
The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) and Nigerian Agip Oil Company Limited (NAOC) have faulted Amnesty International’s (AI’s) oil spill report against them.
While SPDC described the report as false and lacking merit, Agip said that some of the statements made by Amnesty International were not correct and, in some cases, not acceptable.
A research project by AI had exposed evidence of serious negligence by oil giants, Shell and Eni, whose approach to oil spills in the Niger Delta is exacerbating an environmental crisis.
According to the publicly available data, Amnesty International found that Shell and Eni were taking weeks to respond to reports of spills and publishing misleading information about the cause and severity of spills, which may result in communities not receiving compensation.
But Shell’s General Manager, External Relations, Igo Weli, said the allegations were false without merit and fail to recognise the complex environment in which the company operates where security, a sole prerogative of government, remains a major concern with persisting incidents of criminality, kidnapping, vandalism and threats from self-described militant groups.
He noted that as operator of a joint venture where the government-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has a majority interest, SPDC continues to work with federal and state government agencies, communities and civil society to create a safe operating environment.
In the same vein, Eni said that it fosters dialogue because it was aware that the problems of the Niger Delta require a Nigerian-led multi-partner strategy.
According to him, “in the last 10 years, we have had a fruitful dialogue with your organisation on this topic. We created a website specifically dedicated to request for more information on the individual oil spill events, which were publicly acknowledged by Amnesty International Italy. Furthermore, Nigeria Agip Oil Company achieved significant results in the Niger Delta with the reduction in volumes of oil spill in 2017 by more that 50 per cent compare to 2014. This result was possible due to the collaboration with local communities and with local and national authorities.
“While we are mindful of the importance of a frank and reliable dialogue with you, we note that some of the statements made in your letter are not correct and, in some cases, not acceptable.
“However, the very limited time allowed to collect the necessary information could affect the comprehensiveness of our response. We are, therefore, available to provide further clarifications on any outstanding issues, if needed.”