Shell must clean up oil pollution before divesting – Report

Shell should not be allowed to divest from the Niger Delta until it takes responsibility for cleaning up its toxic legacy of pollution and the safe decommissioning of abandoned oil infrastructure, a report says.

A recent report titled “Selling Out Nigeria, Shells Irresponsible Divestment” by the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (Somo) highlights the urgent need for Shell to clean up the pollution it has caused, despite the substantial profits it has reaped from the region’s oil resources.

The report emphasizes the importance of Shell’s responsibility in safely decommissioning its abandoned oil infrastructure to mitigate its toxic environmental legacy.

The report highlights a significant lack of clarity regarding the financing for decommissioning activities. Although Nigerian law mandates that corporations allocate finances for decommissioning, it’s unclear how much—if any—money has been reserved for this purpose, according to the report

Somo’s investigation team was unable to obtain any evidence confirming that Shell has established a reserve or reserves to finance the decommissioning of the oil mining leases it has divested.

In his remarks,  Executive Director of SOMO, Audrey Guaghram, said: “Shell cannot be allowed to divest from the onshore oil industry in the Niger Delta before it takes responsibility for its toxic legacy of pollution and the safe decommissioning of abandoned oil infrastructure.”

“The oil giant is leaving behind petroleum-contaminated rivers and streams and large areas of polluted land that have devastated the lives and livelihoods of millions of people living in the Niger Delta.”

“Shell has pulled off the ultimate Houdini act. As the oil industry enters its final phase, whether that’s in the next 5 years or 25, Shell has sold its toxic assets and will not be left holding them when the music stops. Shell has profited from oil extraction for decades and in doing so, has made the Niger Delta one of the most oil-polluted places on earth, leaving communities to face the dire consequences that will remain well beyond the lifetime of the industry.”