SHELL has suspended its decision to divest its Nigerian onshore oil assets, choosing instead to comply with the outcome of a Supreme Court ruling over an oil leak filed by a community in Bayelsa State.
This was contained in a statement issued on Thursday June 30, 2022 and signed by the managing director of Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) and chairman of Shell companies in Nigeria, Osagie Okunbor.
“Shell welcomes the Nigerian Supreme Court’s decision to hear the appeal of the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd (SPDC) in this case. Until the outcome of SPDC’s appeal, Shell will not progress the divestment of its interest in SPDC,” the statement read.
The Court of Appeal and Federal High Court, Owerri, had awarded $1.95 billion compensation to 88 communities in Rivers State for a 2019 oil spill they blamed on Shell and which damaged their farms and waterways.
The case, decided in favour of the communities, found Shell guilty of farmland and river pollution in the Ejalawa community in Oken-Ogosu, Egbalor Ebubu/Eleme Local Government of Rivers State.
Shell denied responsibility for the spills and filed an appeal at the Supreme Court. While the oil firm awaits a hearing, it still has plans to continue investing in offshore oil and gas, as well as onshore gas production.
Okunbor explained that continued investment in Nigeria as a whole would require a “stable and competitive investment climate.”
He stated that the company would see the court case to its conclusion and had no intention of breaking the law.
“The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd complies with the law, including any court orders, and respects the judiciary and its role in upholding the rule of law. Recent media reporting regarding the 16 June Supreme Court proceedings does not accurately reflect SPDC’s response to the order.
“SPDC will continue to comply with the Supreme Court’s order to maintain the status quo. We have a strong belief in the merits of our case, which we are vigorously defending,” he said.
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