Oil Spills: Gov Wike Seizes Oil Facility Owned by Shell

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike,

Published 25th December 2020

According to a report by Bloomberg on Thursday, the Rivers State Government has seized an oil field, OML 30, owned by Royal Dutch Shell, and sealed off an oil base, Kidney Island, also owned by Shell, over an oil spill incident at the Ejama-Ebubu community during the Nigerian Civil war.

This was disclosed in a statement by the Rivers State Government, reported by  Bloomberg on Thursday.

The paper reported that Shell owned 30% of the Oil Mining Lease 11, which Rivers State said it “lawfully purchased through public auction ordered by the court.”

A Federal High Court in 2010 ordered Shell to pay the Community N17 billion for damages caused by the oil spill, but though Shell says the area has been cleaned up, it still denies causing such spillage.

Rivers State also says it has acquired Shell’s stake in the OML11, citing a court approval sanctioning the sale of the assets.

The oil-rich state offered to acquire the oil production site and Kidney island for $150 million. Meanwhile, Shell says that details of the acquisition still remain challenged at a court in Rivers, saying the announcement by Rivers state was “prejudicial,” stating that a transfer of ownership rests with the power of the Minister of State for Petroleum, which is yet to be granted.

Shell says that a court hearing scheduled for January 2021 placed a restraining order on Rivers State before acquiring any of the assets.

What you should know 

  • Recall that Nairametrics also reported that officials of Royal Dutch Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary were accused in a report of allegedly masterminding the damage to oil pipelines so as to benefit from the money spent on repairs and clean-up operations.
  • The report, citing research by Dutch environmental group Milleudefensie, revealed that employees of Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) recruited local youths to destroy the pipelines and then hired them back as workers to clean up the oil spill.
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