Shell Offers £30 to Settle Nigeria Oil Spills, Fishermen Rejects Offer

Royal Dutch Shell is ready to pay up to £30 million ($51 million) in compensation for two oil spills in Nigeria in 2008 after a London court rejected a larger claim, sources involved in the case said on Friday. Around 15,000 residents of the Bodo community in the Niger Delta represented by law firm Leigh Day appealed in 2011 to a London court for more than 300 million pounds in compensation.
Claimants say that the two spills resulted in the leakage of 500,000 barrels of oil but Shell estimated the volume at around 4,000 barrels. Shell has already offered some compensation for the spills.
The London High Court on Friday rejected the claimants’ attempts to expand the scope of the compensation, ruling that the pipeline operator could not be held responsible for damage caused by oil theft. Shell’s offer from September 2013 to settle the case for £30 million remained on the table, sources involved in the case said. A trial is planned to start in May 2015, but Shell urged the claimants to reach a settlement beforehand.
‘From the outset, we’ve accepted responsibility for the two deeply regrettable operational spills in Bodo,’ Mutiu Sunmonu, Managing Director of the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd (SPDC), said in a statement. ‘We hope the community will now direct their UK legal representatives to stop wasting even more time pursuing enormously exaggerated claims and consider sensible and fair compensation offers,’ Sunmonu said.
Massive oil theft, sabotage of infrastructure and leaks from ageing pipelines are cutting into the profits of oil majors operating in Nigeria, as well as damaging the public finances of the African economy.

…. Nigeria Fishermen Reject Shell’s $50 Million

Thousands of Nigerian fishermen have rejected an offer of $50 million from Royal Dutch Shell for “some of the largest oil spills in history,” their British lawyers said Friday after winning a landmark court ruling.
Shell already accepts responsibility for paying compensation and cleaning up spills caused by its own failures. But the London High Court decided that Shell can be held legally liable for spills caused by oil thefts, if it fails to provide reasonable protection for its pipeline infrastructure.
The court case involves one of Nigeria’s worst environmental disasters. Amnesty International called it “a shot across the bows for Shell” and said the ruling “paves the way for Shell to finally be held accountable for devastating oil pollution in the Niger Delta.”
Shell played down the judgment, saying in a statement that it was favorable in limiting litigation to “an assessment of actual damages sustained” in spills.
Source: Energy-Pedia, AP

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