Shell in Dutch court on Nigeria oil spills case
BY SELINA WILLIAMS
LONDON--Royal Dutch Shell is appearing in court in the Netherlands over compensation claims for damage from oil spills in Nigeria.
The case has been brought by environmental group Friends of the Earth Netherlands and four Nigerian farmers, who claim that the oil major is responsible for cleaning up oil spills in three villages in the Niger Delta.
Shell said that the three oil spills in question were caused by sabotage of pipelines and as such isn't liable to pay compensation. A spokesman for the company said that the oil major's Nigerian subsidiary has cleaned up the pollution at the three locations and that this has been certified by Nigerian authorities.
It is the first time a company has been sued in the Netherlands over issues involving a subsidiary abroad and could set a precedent for future cases.
"If the verdict of the Dutch court turns out to be beneficial for my clients, a major precedent will be set in that regard," said Channa Samkalden of the Bohler lawfirm, which is acting for the plaintiffs.
The oil spills at Oruma, Goi and Ikot Ada Udo in the Niger Delta took place between 2004 and 2007. The total amount of oil spilt in all three was about 1,100 bbl.
A verdict from the one-day hearing is expected in late 2012, early 2013.
Dow Jones Newswires