Shell offers 30 million
pounds to settle 2011 Nigeria oil spills: sources
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[June 21, 2014]
LONDON (Reuters) - Royal
Dutch Shell is ready to pay up to 30 million pounds ($51
million) in compensation for two oil spills in Nigeria
in 2008 after a London court rejected a larger claim,
sources involved in the case said on Friday.
Around 15,000 residents of the Bodo community in the Niger Delta
represented by law firm Leigh Day appealed in 2011 to a London court
for more than 300 million pounds in compensation.
Claimants say that the two spills resulted in the leakage of of
500,000 barrels of oil but Shell estimated the volume at around
Shell has already offered some compensation for the spills.
The sources said a Shell offer from September 2013 to settle the
case for 30 million pounds remained on the table. The lawyer
representing the claimants on Friday rejected the sum.
“Shell have consistently sought to underestimate the damage whilst
paying only lip service to an apology. These spills, which are some
of the largest oil spills in history, have devastated a community of
many thousands of people and ravaged the environment," Martyn Day
said in a statement.
“The offer of £30m has been offered before and has been flatly
refused by our clients who found it insulting and derisory, nothing
has changed this view.”
The London High Court on Friday rejected the claimants' attempts to
expand the scope of the compensation, ruling that the pipeline
operator could not be held responsible for damage caused by oil
A trial is planned to start in May 2015 in Nigeria, but Shell urged
the claimants to reach a settlement beforehand.
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"From the outset, we've accepted responsibility for the two deeply
regrettable operational spills in Bodo," Mutiu Sunmonu, Managing
Director of the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd
(SPDC), said in a statement.
"We hope the community will now direct their UK legal
representatives to stop wasting even more time pursuing enormously
exaggerated claims and consider sensible and fair compensation
offers," Sunmonu said.
Massive oil theft, sabotage of infrastructure and leaks from ageing
pipelines are cutting into the profits of oil majors operating in
Nigeria, as well as damaging the public finances of the African
(This story was fixed to correct number of claimants in paragraph 2
and clarify size of spills in paragraph 3)
(Reporting by Ron Bousso; editing by Jon Boyle)
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