Current International Update

Volume 53 Issue 4

International developments reported in the current issue of ELR Update appear below. For previously reported international news, please use the filter function on the left.

Last Thursday, over 11,000 people and 17 institutions from the Ogale community in the Niger Delta filed compensation claims against Shell for damages and loss of livelihoods (Reuters). The claims follow others brought by members of the Bille community in 2015, bringing the total number of people seeking compensation to nearly 14,000. The individuals claim that their water sources have become severely polluted by oil contamination, affecting their ability to farm and fish and contaminating their drinking water, which is visibly brown and shines with oil (The Guardian). The case is being brought in the midst of Shell’s plans to leave the Niger Delta, after reaping significant profits from its operations in the region for 86 years (Reuters). 

Shell has denied culpability for the chronic pollution of the Niger Delta, arguing that illegal third-party interference has caused the majority of spills related to the claims. “We believe litigation does little to address the real problem in the Niger Delta: oil spills due to crude oil theft, illegal refining and sabotage, with which [Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary] SPDC is constantly faced and which cause the most environmental damage," commented a Shell spokesperson (Reuters). The case, which is being tried in the London High Court, raises important questions about the responsibility of fossil fuel companies for a legacy of destruction and what is owed to those impacted (The Guardian).