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Polluted Stream At Ogale

Sale of SPDC

Shell recently announced its plans to sell its on-shore Nigerian oil business, SPDC, to a consortium of five buyers. Shell has only provided limited details about the potential sale of SPDC in the public domain, meaning there is considerable uncertainty about the implications of the sale and the future plans of SPDC and the proposed consortium of buyers.

Posted on 27 February 2024

Nigerian civil society organisations have expressed concern about the proposed deal, as have communities that have been impacted by Shell’s operations over many years in the Niger Delta. The Niger Delta region remains chronically polluted and residents are concerned that Shell may not fulfil its responsibilities in cleaning up and remediating this pollution. This proposed sale has increased their fears that Shell is looking to leave the Niger Delta without properly addressing the troubling environmental legacy of its operations there.
Leigh Day represents three Nigerian communities (Ogale, Bille, and Bodo) in claims against SPDC and Shell plc. They are claiming for compensation for oil spills caused by the negligence of SPDC and its parent company, Shell plc, as well as for breaches of the right to a clean environment under the Nigerian Constitution and the African Charter, and for clean-up and remediation of oil pollution.
You can read more about the claims here, and here. We also published a briefing note in February 2023 on the Ogale and Bille claims, available here, and the most recent update on our website, from November 2023, is available here.
Our clients are worried that the proposed sale could affect SPDC’s ability or willingness to fulfil the terms of any judgment which may be made against it, including in relation to orders to clean up and remediate the polluted areas. Our clients do not consider that failing to clean up the chronic pollution that impacts many of their lives on a daily basis is consistent with Shell’s claims that it is working on a “just transition” to clean energy.
We note that concerns about Shell’s exit from the Niger Delta have recently been raised in the House of Commons by Clive Lewis MP, who has raised the issue with the Secretary of State for Business and Trade. We share the concerns expressed in his letter which asks for assurances that Shell plc will conduct the proposed sale responsibly and in compliance with its legal obligations and its commitments under the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Matthew Renshaw
Corporate accountability

Matthew Renshaw

Matthew Renshaw is a partner in the international department.

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Leigh Day represents people from around the world in fighting for their rights against corporations and governments. We have secured justice for tens of thousands of women, men and children