AMSTERDAM: Royal Dutch Shell (Shell) reached a settlement in a lawsuit concerning the Niger Delta oil spills of 2008. The settlement, totaling USD $84 million, will be divided between 15,600 individuals who will receive $3,300 each as compensation for losses caused by the spills. Shell has previously faced legal action in the UK, Netherlands and Nigeria for these oil spills and other cases.
The remaining $30 million will be disbursed throughout the community, which also suffered significant damage from the spills. Rights group Amnesty International (AI) noted that this settlement is “an important victory for the victims of corporate negligence,” they express disappointment that it took six years for the victims to be compensated.
They argue that Shell knew that the oil spills were a distinct possibility since 2002 and took no “effective” action to prevent them from occurring. However, the managing director of the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited Mutiu Sunmonu, contends that they have taken responsibility for the spills from the beginning and maintains that the spills were due to operational pipe failure.
AI also accused Shell of making false claims about the impact of the oil spills in court documents presented to a UK court last November. They state that Shell claimed that only 4,000 barrels of oil spilled for both spills but AI believes the number is closer to 100,000 barrels for the first spill alone.