Amnesty International has described as “fiasco” the investigations into Shell oil spills in the Niger Delta, alleging that the company repeatedly blamed sabotage in an effort to avoid responsibility.
The investigation process into oil spills in the Niger Delta has been challenged by Amnesty International and the Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development (CEHRD), as inconsistencies in Shell’s claims about sabotage were revealed.
Experts have examined evidence from the latest oil spill from Shell’s poorly maintained pipelines in the Bodo creek area and confirmed that it strongly indicates that the leak is due to corrosion of the pipeline. However, Shell appears to be ignoring the evidence of corrosion.
“The investigation process into oil spills in the Niger Delta is a fiasco. There is more investment in public relations messaging than in facing up to the fact that much of the oil infrastructure is old, poorly maintained and prone to leaks – some of them devastating in terms of their human rights impact,” said Audrey Gaughran, Director of Global Issues at Amnesty International.
“No matter what evidence is presented to Shell about oil spills, they constantly hide behind the ‘sabotage’ excuse and dodge their responsibility for massive pollution that is due to their failure to properly maintain their infrastructure and make it safe, and to properly clean up oil spills.”
Amnesty International and CEHRD asked US firm, ACCUFACTS, which has many years experience in examining oil infrastructure, to examine photographs of the pipe at the leak point. They stated: “This is apparently due to external corrosion. Notice the layered loss of metal on the outside of the pipe around the “stick” from pipe wall loss (thinning) due to external corrosion. It is a very familiar pattern that we have seen many times on other pipelines.”
“Shell has said that the spill looks like sabotage, and they completely ignore the evidence of corrosion. This has generated a lot of confusion and some anger in the community,” said Stevyn Obodoekwe, Director of Programmes at CEHRD. “We have seen the pipe and brought an expert to look at it, and it seems pretty clear it is corroded.”
When Amnesty International contacted Shell’s headquarters to ask for evidence to support the claim of sabotage in Bodo, Shell said the company has not claimed that the cause of the spill was sabotage and the joint investigation has not been completed. However Shell could not explain the statements made locally to the community.
Filed Under: Civil Society