[QODLink]
Africa
Shell could face huge fine for Nigeria spill
Nigerian agency tells parliament oil giant should pay $5bn for environmental damage caused by offshore leak last year.
Last Modified: 17 Jul 2012 19:31
Shell temporarily shutdown its Bonga facility after a leakage of about 40,000 barrels of oil last December[Reuters]

Nigerian regulators have told parliament that Royal Dutch Shell, the Netherlands-based oil and gas company, should be fined $5bn for environmental damage caused by an oil spill at its offshore Bonga field last December.  

Shell said on Tuesday there was no legal basis for the proposed fine.

The country's National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) told a parliamentary committee on Monday that although last year's spill, estimated at about 40,000 barrels, was contained offshore, there was a serious environmental threat.

NOSDRA said that the leakage was caused by a failure in Shell's oil export hose. 

"The spilled barrels impacted approximately 950 square kilometres of water surface, affected a great number of sensitive environmental resources," NOSDRA said before the environment committee of the national assembly.

"It has a direct social impact on the livelihood of people in the riverine areas whose primary occupation is fishing."

Shell said that last December's spill happened while a tanker was loading oil, leading to the complete shutdown of the company's Bonga facility. Production restarted in January. 

"We do not believe there is any basis in law for such a fine. Neither do we believe that SNEPCo [Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Co] has committed any infraction of Nigerian law to warrant such a fine," Shell said on Tuesday.

"SNEPCo responded to this incident with professionalism and acted with the consent of the necessary authorities at all times to prevent environmental impact as a result of the incident."

Bonga accounts for around 10 per cent of monthly oil flows from Nigeria, the continent's largest exporter of crude oil. 

Oil spills are common in the mangrove creeks onshore Nigeria. Many are caused by sabotage strikes or oil thieves tapping into easily accessible pipelines. Several communities have taken Shell to court over a failure to clean up spills.

A United National Environment Programme report last year said that Shell was not doing enough to clean up spills and maintenance of infrastructure was inadequate.

328

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
Featured
Booming global trade in 50-million-year-old amber stones is lucrative, controversial, and extremely dangerous.
Legendary Native-American High Bird was trained in ancient warrior traditions, which he employed in World War II.
Hounded opposition figure says he's hoping for the best at sodomy appeal but prepared to return to prison.
Fears of rising Islamophobia and racial profiling after two soldiers killed in separate incidents.
Group's culture of summary justice is back in Northern Ireland's spotlight after new sexual assault accusations.