Royal Dutch Shell Wins Round One vs. Nigerians in London Court
Justice in the courtroom was achieved by Royal Dutch Shell on January 26 when the High Court of the United Kingdom ruled in their favor on a case involving oil spills in Nigeria. The case wasn’t completely thrown out, with the Nigerian communities that were affected by those spills still free to pursue their case in a Nigerian court.
The odd litigation had originally been initiated in London as opposed to the African nation because the company is incorporated in England. Since a subsidiary of the parent company, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC), is based within that country, they’ll be the company that will likely have to litigate the matter.
The specific areas affected were located in the southern part of Nigeria, where the Niger Delta is located. Both Ogale and the fishing village of Bille have made the claim that their areas have been marred by the pollution coming from spills caused by the company. Approximately 2,000 families in Bille were reportedly affected, compared to 40,000 in Ogale.
The defense on the part of SPDC is that repeated acts of sabotage on the part of individuals, along with refining by others not affiliated with the company are the ones responsible for the problems.
This isn’t the first oil spill lawsuit the company has had to deal with, the most recent coming two years ago in the area of Bodo. In that instance, Shell was forced to pay $55 million to settle multiple damage claims.
Due to the continued focus by Royal Dutch Shell in evolving into more of the renewable energy field, the company has begun an exit strategy with regard to Nigeria. The aforementioned cases of sabotage have become more commonplace in a country that has certain pockets where terrorism is prominent.