Shell Pays $84m to Settle Niger Pollution Claims

Shell Pays $84m to Settle Niger Pollution ClaimsShell Pays $84m to Settle Niger Pollution Claims

The Bodo community in the Niger delta will get $84 million to settle claims of environmental pollution by the Nigerian subsidiary of Shell, the Anglo-Dutch oil giant. Despite the relatively large settlement, many other pollution claims by Nigerian communities affected by Shell remain unresolved, according to Global Research.

Bodo comprises some 35 fishing villages located on approximately 90 square kilometers of rich mangroves, swamps and channels in Ogoniland, Rivers state. On two separate occasions in 2008 – one in October and the other in December – equipment failure in SPDC’s pipelines caused over 100,000 barrels of crude oil to spill into the Bodo community creeks and surrounding swamps. Shell initially claimed that just 4,000 barrels of crude were released until it was forced to disclose the correct amount under a lawsuit brought against the company in UK courts.

Approximately $53 million of the settlement will be divided amongst the 15,600 fishermen directly affected by the spills and the remaining $31 million will be paid out to the community as a whole.

The delta region has long attracted major oil companies since the discovery of major petroleum deposits in 1956. Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) is one among several companies that include Agip of Italy, Chevron and ExxonMobil from the US, and Total from France that have invested heavily in oil exploration in the region.

While these companies help Nigeria produce some two million barrels of oil a day, experts estimate that some 11 million gallons a year are spilled in local communities every year – more than the famous Exxon Valdez spill in 1989 in the coastal waters off Alaska.