What Has Shell Got To Say For Itself?

What Has Shell Got To Say For Itself?

Following the stinging criticism of some of Shell’s operational practices in the UNEP report, the conglomerate issued this statement, which we have abridged.

SPDC (Shell Petroleum Development Company) has reviewed the UNEP report, including three recommendations that relate to its operations within Ogoniland… [Our] reaction to each of the recommendations is as follows:

1 To fully review and overhaul procedures for oil spill clean-up and remediation as well as improve on contracting and supervision.

SPDC has carried out a preliminary review of its procedures. RENA [remediation by enhanced natural attenuation] remains a proven and internationally recognised method to remediate spill sites, which is widely used in many countries.

The report noted that in a few specific cases in Ogoniland, we did not go deep enough in our pre clean-up assessments… A review by SPDC has confirmed this finding in relation to a few specific sites… SPDC will revisit the sites in Ogoniland, to determine whether clean-up and remediation have been adequate, and take action as required.

SPDC will also review a sample of other remediated sites more widely across the Delta to check that adequate remediation has indeed been carried out.

SPDC has been in negotiations with a reputable international organisation for some time, to launch a joint project to review and if necessary, further improve SPDC’s remediation techniques in the Delta

2 To conduct a comprehensive review of SPDC assets in Ogoniland and develop a decommissioning programme and management plan for the assets.

SPDC remains committed to developing an asset integrity management plan for Ogoniland but effective implementation will require support from communities and from the government, given the unique challenges regarding access since 1993. Decommissioning of the facilities that are not in service in Ogoniland had not been possible due to the limited access SPDC has had in the past.

As an illustration of what can be achieved when access is granted, between 2009 and 2010, SPDC secured more than 100 non-producing wells in the area to make them more difficult to tamper with.

3 SPDC to work with Nigerian regulators to clarify the legislation governing oil spillage intervention…

SPDC will continue to engage with the relevant government regulators on the Environmental Guidelines and Standards for Petroleum Industry in Nigeria (EGASPIN). SPDC confirms however that it currently manages its remediation process on a risk-based approach consistent with international best practice.

In addition to addressing the three SPDC specific recommendations contained in the UNEP report, SPDC has been taking the following actions on matters related to Ogoniland:

*SPDC supports all the recommended emergency measures and is working closely with the Rivers State Government regarding supplying potable water to some communities while developing detailed plans to rehabilitate existing water facilities and build new, more permanent ones.

*Prior to the report, SPDC had agreed with its joint venture partners on the need to construct an alternate pipeline that will evacuate production from its land fields to Bonny Terminal…This additional line would facilitate repair work on the existing Trans Niger Pipeline (TNP) running through Ogoniland – which in recent years, has become a major target for oil theft and illegal refineries and as a result, has become a source of pollution.

SPDC agrees with the UNEP finding that all sources of ongoing contamination, including activities such as crude theft and illegal refining, must be brought to an end before an effective widespread clean-up can begin.

Efforts to bring lasting and meaningful change must also address the social and economic challenges in the Delta to break the cycle of militancy, violence and sabotage, which affects everybody in the area. This is not something that SPDC can bring about on its own; it will require a joint effort by all relevant stakeholders, but SPDC will play its full part.

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Written by Baffour Ankomah

Baffour Ankomah, born in Ghana, has been editor of New African since July 1999. His passion is Africa and its Diaspora. A journalist since 1980, Baffour started his career at The Pioneer, the oldest existing newspaper in Ghana, where he became editor 1983-86. He joined New African in mid-1988 as assistant editor, then rose to deputy editor in 1994, and editor in 1999. His column, Baffour's Beefs, a big hit for New African readers, has been running since 1988.

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