Shell Allowed to Appeal Court Ruling Over Oil Spill in Nigeria
This year, the Nigerian oil sector has faced challenges. The country's status as Africa's top oil exporter was lost to Angola after oil production in the West African state declined by more than 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) due to oil theft, according to Nigeria's official oil firm.
Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd, Shell Plc’s Nigerian subsidiary, is allowed to appeal against a ruling directing it to pay $1.8 billion, Nigeria’s Supreme Court announced. In November 2020, the Federal High Court of Nigeria ordered the company to pay 800 billion naira ($1.8 billion) to the communities of Egbalor Ebubu in Rivers state, Niger delta region. The communities accuse the firm of causing an oil spill that harmed farms and waterways, which Shell denied.
“We believe in the merits of our case and are encouraged that the Nigerian Supreme Court is hearing this matter. We look forward to the hearing of our main appeal,” a Shell representative said.
12 November 2022, 14:31 GMT
The Supreme Court's decision comes as part of a dispute over the sale of Shell’s onshore assets in Nigeria. In 2021, Shell announced plans to sell all of its onshore assets in the country, focusing only on deep water projects. Several local oil producers (such as Seplat Petroleum and Sahara Group) have expressed their interest in purchasing the assets. In June 2022, Shell said it would not go on with the disposal of local assets until the court ruled on the appeal against the spill accusations.
Previously, another compensation case between Nigeria and Shell was concluded. In November, an appeals court in Italy rejected Nigeria's $1.092 billion compensation request from the corporations Eni and Shell in civil proceedings over corruption accusations.