One of the largest producers of crude petroleum in Nigeria, Shell Nigeria, has received orders by a Hague-based court to grant reparations to a local in the Niger-Delta after prosecution won a case against the company for pollution of the area.
Though the mother company, Shell, does not get a side whip from this conviction, its reputation has suffered a blow since the decision came out of the court yesterday. However, other locals in the petroleum cradle of southern eastern Nigeria could now start opening new cases of similar magnitude following the precedent.
The latest guilt ruling has occurred nearly five years after four people from Nigeria together with Friends of the Earth lobby organization, filed the case in the Hague Netherlands, which is the HQ of the international Shell, descrying the perverse contamination of the offshore basin, as well as, the land around the Niger-Delta.
Shell Nigeria in Brief
Vaunting some of the highest revenues in the Nigeria petroleum sector, Shell Nigeria produces 21 percent of the net output of oil in the country. It has over 80 fields that in the particular year 2009, accounted for 629000 barrels on a daily basis.
The company has multiple multinational interests in the West African country, besides the inaugural oil production niche. These include the manufacturing of chemical bases, lubrication products and fuel essentials, all of which began in the year 2000 subsequent to the inception of Shell Nigeria Oil Products.
Though the oil giant began as a marginal interest for prospecting in Nigeria in 1937, it was not until 1956 that it struck its initial ‘black gold’ field in the southern reaches of the oil-rich basin, and two years later it was exporting the product.
Like many interests in the wealthy sector of Nigeria petroleum, Shell Nigeria is a part of a larger amalgamated interest, SPDC, accounting for 30 percent of the total shares of which the state corporation controls 55 percent. While the national corporation is involved in the distribution aspect, Shell capitalizes on the actual drilling and removal of fossil matter from the earth’s crust.
Interestingly, the politics of corporate structures were playing out in the latest case where only one farmer will receive reparations for having filed a case against the subsidiary SPDC whereas the other four litigants who had accused the bigger Shell did not glean anything from the case.