TALKS BEGIN BETWEEN SHELL AND NIGER DELTA VILLAGERS
Compensation talks will begin this week between Royal Dutch Shell lawyers and 15,000 Nigerian villagers who say oil spills destroyed their livelihoods. The villagers sought millions of dollars in payment in London for two spills that polluted the Bodo fishing communities of the Niger Delta. Shell accepts responsibility for the spills but it disagrees with the plaintiffs about the volume spilled and the number of people who lost their livelihoods. Talks broke down in 2012 before the lawsuit, but will resume this week in Port Harcourt, the main city in the Delta. "They want to be fairly compensated for their losses from the time the spill took place until the oil is cleaned up and the Bodo Creek is returned to its natural state," said Martyn Day of the Nigerians' London law firm Leigh Day. The region has been plagued with violence relating to oil production and cleanup. Citing independent experts, Day says that Shell spilled up to 600,000 barrels of crude, making it one of the worst spills in history. Shell, however, estimates that the volume spilled is only 4,100 barrels, with additional volume spilled later due to sabotage. Industry and environmental campaigners are closely watching this trial, as those involved say it will open the door for more compensation claims against international companies. For the full story, see http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/09/05/us-britain-nigeria-shell-idUKBRE98416920130905. Earlier: http://elr.info/international/international-update/nigerian-villagers-take-shell-court-netherlands, http://elr.info/international/international-update/shell-will-not-pay-spills-due-sabotage-0, http://elr.info/international/international-update/nigerian-ogoniland-oil-cleanup-could-take-30-years.