Shell accused of misreporting oil spills

Company rejects as "unsubstantiated" claims by Amnesty that it improperly investigates size and cause of Nigeria spills.

    Shell says most of its oil pipeline spills are caused by sabotage and theft [AFP]
    Shell says most of its oil pipeline spills are caused by sabotage and theft [AFP]

    Amnesty International has accused Nigeria's biggest petroleum producer, Shell, of inaccurately documenting oil spills in an effort to avoid paying compensation and damaging its reputation.

    "Shell is being disingenuous about the devastation caused by its Niger Delta operations. This new evidence shows that Shell's claims about the oil spills cannot be trusted," said Audrey Gaughran, Amnesty's director of global issues, on Thursday.

    Shell Nigeria said it "firmly rejects unsubstantiated assertions" by Amnesty, adding the group "exaggerated the impact of crude oil theft and sabotage to distract attention from operational performance".

    Hundreds of leaks are reported every year in the creeks and swamplands of the Niger Delta. These spills damage the environment and cut profits for oil companies, including Shell and Italy's Eni.

    Sabotage and theft

    Shell says most of its oil spills are caused by sabotage and theft and that it cleans up, whatever the cause.

    Amnesty, however, said it saw reports about spills that stated the reason as sabotage, but lacked further explanation. Other examples showed that Shell had calculated the size of a spill behind closed doors.

    Amnesty also worked with US pipeline specialist Accufacts, which found some pictures on Shell's website showing that spills categorised as being caused by sabotage were more likely due to corrosion of ageing pipelines.

    Accufacts also questioned Shell's methodology in calculating the cause and size of spills.

    Shell said that since 2011 it has published spill investigations with photographs on its website, and is the only oil major operating in Nigeria to do so.

    "We seek to bring greater transparency and independent oversight to the issue of oil spills, and will continue to find ways to enhance this," the company statement said.

    Amnesty acknowledged that Shell had improved its transparency over oil spills since 2011.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Thou Shalt Not Kill: Israel's Hilltop Youth

    Thou Shalt Not Kill: Israel's Hilltop Youth

    Meet the hardline group willing to do anything, including going against their government, to claim land for Israel.