Saturday, September 18, 2021

Niger-Delta oil no longer suitable for our business: Shell CEO Van Beurden

Shell has been beset by myriads of challenges ranging from oil theft to pipeline sabotage, as well as agitations by local communities over oil spills.

• May 19, 2021
Shell CEO Van Beurden
Shell CEO, Ben Van Beurden [Photo Credit: World Oil]

Multinational oil giant Shell has revealed its intention to withdraw from Nigeria’s onshore oil sector.

Making this known at Shell’s annual general meeting on Tuesday, the CEO, Van Beurden, said his organisation was in talks with the Nigerian government to work out how to exit its onshore licenses.

Mr Beurden explained that Niger Delta oil is no longer suitable for its business, adding that the incessant cases of oil theft and sabotage and spillage don’t fit with the organisation’s risk appetite.

“The balance of risks and rewards associated with our onshore portfolio is no longer compatible with our strategic ambitions,” Mr Beurden said. “We cannot solve community problems in the Niger Delta.”

He further disclosed that Shell proposed disengagement from Nigeria’s onshore sector will not affect its offshore operations, adding that the organisation is still very much interested in exploring the country’s deep water and natural gas.

Shell, had in the cause of its onshore operations in Nigeria, encountered numerous problems ranging from oil theft and pipeline sabotage, as well as lawsuits instituted by local communities over oil spills.

In February, Mr Buren while decrying the increasing sabotage and theft of oil in Nigeria disclosed that the multinational giant was considering sales of its onshore assets in Nigeria.

He said that growing cases of theft and sabotage in the Niger-Delta region could force the organisation to reconsider its onshore operations in Nigeria.

Last week, Peoples Gazette reported how Bayelsa and Rivers Communities along the 14-inch crude trunk line operated by Shell  in the Niger Delta region suffered spillage in April as 276 barrels of crude oil pervaded their soils and water in three incidents.

Also in April, The Gazette reported two different cases of oil spillage in Bayelsa communities.

These spillages have continued to negatively affect the region’s environment, decreasing its agricultural productivity due to farmland degradation, and causing pollution of traditional fishing grounds and destruction of aquatic life.

In January, a Dutch court ordered the multinational oil giant to pay compensation in a case brought by four Nigerian farmers thirteen years ago, accusing the company of polluting their land. 

The appeal court in The Hague ruled that Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary will pay for the damage wrought in the Niger Delta by its oil spills.

However, Shell has introduced Net-Zero plans to address the environmental issues caused by its operations.

The Net Zero plan seeks to end carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.

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