Shell ignorierte interne Warnungen vor Ölkatastrophen in Nigeria, wie aus Dokumenten hervorgeht

Dieser Artikel ist älter als 9 Jahre

Beim Obersten Gericht in London eingereichte Dokumente deuten darauf hin, dass Shell den Ratschlägen zur Reparatur der veralteten Pipeline nicht gefolgt ist und das Ausmaß von zwei Ölunfällen in Nigeria im Jahr 2008 unterschätzt hat

Pastor Christian Lekoya Kpandei stands in his oil-soaked fish farm in Bodo, Nigeria. Photo: Amnesty International

Shell Nigeria's internal documents show that in 2002 the company was advised by its own employees to immediately replace a 30-year-old pipeline running through impoverished Delta communities because it was constantly leaking and posing a major risk.

But it wasn't until the crucial 24-inch Trans-Niger pipeline burst twice within days in November 2008, spilling thousands of barrels of oil across nearly 1,000 hectares of mangrove forests and destroying the livelihoods of up to 15,000 villagers, that the company publicly acknowledged that it was to blame.

Other Shell documents filed with the London High Court and obtained by Amnesty International suggest that the company downplayed the scale of the two oil spills near Bodo in Ogoniland.

Shell investigation reports prepared jointly with others on the two spills say only about 4,000 barrels of oil were spilled in total. However, an independent assessment published by US firm Accufacts Inc. found that the amount spilled exceeded 100,000 barrels. Shell admits in the documents that the figures for both spills were incorrect: "The total amount of oil released... exceeded contemporaneous estimates."

Amnesty said this casts doubt on the company's assessment of hundreds of other oil spills in the Delta, as all oil spill investigations are conducted in the same way.

The admissions in the documents are important because the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) is being sued by 15,000 villagers near Bodo. The company admits blame for the two oil spills in 2008, but has repeatedly blamed oil thieves for the many other accidents along its pipelines and refused to pay more than £15 million in compensation.

A preliminary ruling in the case, expected to begin in May, suggested that the company could be held legally liable for any illegal activity on its pipelines if it is proven that it did not take adequate measures to protect its infrastructure.

Niger Delta oil spills: the true cost of crude oil Guardian
One document, an internal Shell project report from February 2002, said the company should "initiate an immediate replacement" of the Trans-Niger pipeline.

A second report in 2001 stated: "Recently there have been a number of oil spills, in most cases due to sabotage and in some cases due to technical failures of pipelines, causing major losses, environmental pollution and serious reputational damage for the company.”

“A [technical] study... shows that the remaining life of most SPDC oil transmission pipelines is more or less non-existent or short, while some sections pose major risks and dangers.”

Another email sent after the two oil spills in 2008 said the company had failed to maintain its pipelines across Ogoniland. “We have also been corporately exposed that the PP lines [sic] in Ogoni have not been properly maintained...for over 15 years.”

“Amnesty International firmly believes that Shell knew the Bodo data was false. If they did not, it was scandalously negligent – we have repeatedly presented them with evidence showing that they dramatically underestimated the spills,” said Audrey Gaughran, global affairs director at Amnesty International.

“Shell has refused to engage with us and it is only now that they are in a UK court that they have been forced to apologise. These oil spill investigative reports have defrauded entire communities of adequate compensation.”

An SPDC spokesman said the company had always accepted responsibility for the two “deeply regrettable” oil spills in Bodo. “We want to compensate those truly affected fairly and quickly and clean up all areas where oil has leaked from our facilities,” he said.

“Following the oil spills in 2008, a team comprising relevant government agencies, SPDC and Bodo community representatives visited the leak sites as part of a statutory process under the supervision of the regulator and prepared a joint report on the investigative visit. They estimated the total amount of oil spilled at about 4,144 barrels.

“As part of the litigation, we asked satellite remote sensing experts, hydrologists and mangrove ecology specialists to assess how Bodo’s waterways and mangroves were affected and provide other relevant information


Quelle: The Guardian