Nigeria's Oil And Gas Industry: Exploration & Production
Oilwatch Resistance Bulletin 15, April 2001
Oil was discovered in Nigeria in 1956 at Oloibiri in the Niger Delta after half a century of exploration, by Shell-BP. In 1958 the first oil field came on stream producing 5,100 bpd. In 1960, exploration rights in onshore and offshore areas adjoining the Niger Delta were extended to other foreign companies. In 1965 the EA field was discovered by Shell in shallow water southeast of Warri.
Further exploration and production activity was hampered between 1967 and 1970 when the country was involved in a civil war caused by the attempted secession of the eastern provinces from the rest of the country. In 1970, the end of the Biafran war coincided with the rise in the world oil price, and Nigeria was able to reap instant riches from its oil production. Nigeria joined the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in 1971 and established the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) in 1977, a state owned and controlled company which is a major player in both the upstream and downstream sectors.
Exploration has taken place in five major sedimentary basins, namely, the Niger Delta, the Anambra Basin, the Benue Trough, the Chad Basin and the Benin Basin. All oil production to date has occurred in this basin.
Since 1990, Nigeria has opened up the deeper areas for exploration. In 1990, the Government offered a number of new concessions in water depths of up to 3,000m. BP/Statoil, Shell, Mobil, Elf, Agip and Exxon were among the major oil companies that won concessions. Estimates of recoverable oil reserves in Nigerian deepwater areas range from eight to nearly 20 billion barrels.
In 1998 shortly before ceding power, the government of Abubakar created 25 new deepwater concessions. The blocks, designated OPL 317-325 and OPL 251-265 are located in waters with depths that range between 2,000m and 6,000m. In March 2000, 22 new concession were opened to tender. The licensing history has not been without controversy. In 1999 and 2000, Obasanjo rescinded a total of 31 licenses from local operators that were found to be unqualified or who had not developed their acreage.
The following discoveries have been made since the start of the exploration in the deep offshore. In 1996 Shell announced its major Bonga discovery and in 1997 its smaller Ngolo discovery on OPL 212 and 219 respectively; in 1996 Agip announced its Abo discovery on OPL 316. The local independent Famfa Oil and its technical partner, Texaco, announced the discovery, Agabami, on OPL 216 which was confirmed in January 2000 as being a major commercial discovery with a potential in excess of US$1 billion oil equivalent barrels. Statoil decided to remain active in Nigeria after the discovery of Nnwa on OPL 218 although BP Amoco, its joint operator on blocks 217 and 218 decided to sell its shares in its minority interests in Nigeria. In December 1999, ExxonMobil and Esso confirmed a major deepwater oil and gas discovery, Erha, on block OPL 209. In May 2000: TotalFinaElf announced a promising discovery on OPL 246 with 9,000 bopd flows of light oil. Elf plans to spend $2.8 billion on upstream activities and Shell has stated its commitment to invest $8.5 billion in the development of Nigeria’s offshore fields. The latter represents the largest ever investment in sub-Saharan Africa.
Exploration and production continues in the onshore and shallow offshore areas. Shell, Chevron and Elf are prominent players in the area and are exploring blocks located in the northern states of Gombe Plateau, Bauchi and Adamawa.
Natural Gas Exploration and Production
OilWatch Resistance Bulletin 16, May 2001
Natural gas is a major source of energy and Nigeria's gas reserves are estimated at up to ten times as large as its crude oil reserves. Nigeria contains an estimated 124 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of proven natural gas reserves (10th largest in the world) with upside estimates of associated and non-associated gas being as high as 300 Tcf which the NNPC hopes to reach in the new millenium. Associate gas production is concentrated on fields located onshore and in swampy areas of the Niger River Delta.
Gas Flaring and Gas Utilisation
Around 3,000 million standard cubic feet of gas is produced annually. Due to a lack of gas utilization infrastructure, Nigeria flares 75% of the gas it produces and re-injects 12% to enhance oil recovery. Although high, this is significantly below the over 98% flared in 1971. Nigeria has set the year 2010 as its target for achieving zero flaring of natural gas.
With the aim of increasing gas utilisation, the NNPC set up a company, the Nigerian Gas Company Ltd in 1988, with the specific task of developing, harnessing and marketing natural gas from the domestic market. A number of projects are being developed to increase the utilisation of gas and to reduce gas flaring. In 1999, the Nigerian government set in place incentives to make the utilisation of gas more attractive and to check the waste in the Nigerian gas sector through flaring. The incentives will include approval of alternative funding for gas projects, a comprehensive energy policy and tax concessions. Other incentives promised to investors in the gas sector were a higher capital allowance, investment tax credits and lower royalty in comparison with oil as well as effective monitoring of oil companies' pledge to eliminate gas flaring in the country by 2008.
As a result of these directives and incentives, together with mounting pressure by environmentalists, all the major oil producing companies are executing projects aimed at substantially reducing the amount of gas flared in the course of their operations. Several of the oil JVs have plans for using the gas currently flared and are committed towards utilising 100% of associated gas for commercial or productive purposes by 2010. In 1999, Mobil declared its intention of cutting gas flaring to 10% by 2004.
The Nigeria Gas Company (NGC) has in place more than 1,000 km of pipeline with seven gas systems and fourteen compressor stations. About 75% of NGC's sales are to four thermal power stations run by the Nigerian Electrical Power Authority. The major internationals have set up a number of gas projects.
The most ambitious of these is the Bonny Island LNG facility which is estimated to cost $3.8 billion. Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas Corporation (NLNG) comprised of the NNPC (49%), Shell (25.6%), Elf (15%) and Agip (10.4%) is developing the project. Initially the facility will be supplied from dedicated gas fields but NLNG intends to use at least 50% associated gas which is currently flared. The first two trains are complete and the third train was commissioned in 1999 for completion at the end of 2000. With three trains operational it will be possible to run the entire LNG facility on associated gas.
The first exports of gas from the facility began in October 1999, with the first shipments to Spain, Italy and Turkey, under long term purchase agreements.
The Escravos gas project (EGP) is a joint venture between NNPC (60%) and Chevron (40%). Phase I has been completed at a cost of $570 million and produces 165 Mmcf/d of associated gas from the Okan and Mefa fields. Phase II is under construction and was expected to come on line at the end of 1999, with phase III (under engineering) expected to start up in 2004.
In June 1999, Chevron and Sasol signed a JV to construct a gas-to-liquids (GTL) plant which is expected to use Sasol technology and be sited close to Chevron's EGP facilities in the Niger Delta region.
The West African GasPipeline (WAGP) will be used to supply Benin, Togo and Ghana. The project was first mooted in 1995. A feasibility study was completed in 1999 with the World Bank stating that the countries could save about $500 million in primary energy costs over 20 years. In November 1999, the US Export Import Bank expressed interest in maintenance financing of the WAGP.
Now, Nigeria has begun plans to set up another liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant to rival the existing Nigeria LNG complex (OGJ Online, Feb. 21, 2001). The plant would be located west of the Niger Delta, Presidential Adviser on Petroleum and Energy Rilwanu Lukman said at the signing of a memorandum of understanding for a feasibility study on the plant. The memorandum was signed by multinational oil companies including ExxonMobil Corp., Conoco Inc., Chevron Corp., and Texaco Inc. ExxonMobil was chosen to lead the study team, said Lukman.
Shell, Elf Petroleum Nigeria, and Mobil all have joint ventures with NNPC to improve gas utilisation. Shell’s Odidi project is expected to come online at the end of 2000, and harness flare-gas. Elf is to invest $100 million in the second phase of its Obite gas project. Mobil is in a joint venture with NNPC in the Oso NGL project located offshore Nigeria. The Oso project reached its full capacity in 1999.
Risks and Investment Problems
There are risks associated with investment in Nigeria. These can be grouped into three main categories, political activity and civil unrest, border disputes and government underfunding. There is also the continuing problem of corruption within the system.
James D. Wolfensohn, President The World Bank 1818 H Street, N.W., Washington DC, 20433 USA
Dear President James Wolfensohn,
We, the undersigned organisations and individuals from around the world, wish to express our solidarity with the local communities of the Niger Delta area and Nigerian civil society organisations who have rejected the West African GasPipeline project and requested that The World Bank should discontinue any support for the project. We share the concerns of the communities that the project would aggravate environmental devastation, human rights violations, communal conflicts and impoverishment of the communities in the gas fields and pipeline route.
We understand that the World Bank funded the initial feasibility study for the West African GasPipeline and continues to support the project, which will transport natural gas from gas fields in the Niger Delta of Nigeria to special consumers in Benin, Togo and Ghana. The project is being developed by a consortium of transnational oil corporations including Chevron and Shell in partnership with the state owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, Socièté Beninoise de Gaz and Socièté Togolaise de Gaz. The partners signed agreement for the project in 1999 and construction of the pipeline is expected to be concluded by 2002. The World Bank has been working with the governments of Nigeria, Benin, Togo and Ghana to set a fiscal and regulatory structure to make the project profitable for the corporations.
By continuing to support this project, the World Bank is encouraging the corporations and the governments involved to ignore even the most basic processes to protect the natural environment and the livelihood of local populations. Though the pipeline will have negative impacts on the natural environment and the local communities, the communities have not been informed about the nature of the project, as prior consultation with the communities is clearly not a consideration for the consortium. Also, a transparent and inclusive Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process was not carried out in all the countries involved. It is unfortunate that months after representatives and indigenes of local communities in Nigeria's Niger Delta, delegates from Ghana, Benin Republic and Togo as well as concerned NGOs and social movements met in Effurun, Delta State, Nigeria between 14 -15 March 2000 and protested the absence of consultation and EIA, Chevron, the managing sponsor of the project and the Nigerian government have been carrying on with total contempt for the objective fears of the communities.
Although the project was conceived before 1993 and a Memorandum of Understanding was signed as far back as August 1999, members of the communities in the gas fields where Chevron's gas gathering facilities are located and communities along the proposed pipeline route have been ignorant of the project. This is because Chevron has maintained a high level of secrecy, refusing to inform and consult with the communities that will bear the impacts of the project. We, therefore, conclude that Chevron and her partners are not willing to address the fears of the communities, which have arisen with the history of violations and destruction associated with Chevron and the other transnational oil corporations. Chevron, the managing sponsor of the West African GasPipeline, is currently being sued in U.S. courts for their role in aiding and abetting the Nigerian military in killing and torturing unarmed civilians protesters on two separate occasions, on the Parabe platform and in of Opia and Ikenyan villages on May 28, 1998 and January 4, 1999, respectively.
Similarly, Shell, a member of the consortium is responsible for numerous killings and rights violations in the Niger Delta area.
Chevron has failed to give adequate information in response to enquiries by civil society organisations in Nigeria, Ghana and Togo. The responses to organisations have been scanty and self-contradictory. In some of the responses, Chevron claims to be committed to consultation with host communities. However, with the project billed to commence by 2001 and construction expected to be concluded by 2002, there would not be enough time for adequate consultation considering the magnitude of the project and expected impacts.
For example, in March, 2000, Chevron failed to show-up in an information and consultation meeting to discuss the WAGP with local communities, civil society organisations, media, government agencies and experts from Nigeria, Ghana and Togo, though the independent organisers had invited the company and officials of the company had announced that the company would be sending representatives.
Similarly, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) failed to turn up for the information and consultation meeting despite the prior indication of willingness to attend during meetings with the organisers.
The governments of Nigeria, Benin, Togo and Ghana also have not demonstrated any real commitment to consultation with local communities and civil society organisations.
We must point out that a favourable condition for democratic participation in decision-making of local communities does not exist in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria, due to continuing militarisation of the area and central government legislation that deprives the local communities of all rights to ownership and control of land. With the government having the power to arbitrarily expropriate communal land for oil and gas development, the people are quite powerless to engage in any meaningful participatory consultation with oil companies and the state.
The West African Gaspipeline project, like similar projects in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria and other tropical countries, will surely affect the natural environment upon which the communities depend for survival. The wetlands and the mangroves that the pipeline will traverse are universally registered as fragile ecosystems. We are all aware of the devastating impacts the reckless activities of Chevron, Shell and the other transnational oil companies involved in the exploitation of oil and gas have had on the natural environment of the Niger Delta area. It is worrisome that despite the fact that there are a few legislative stipulations as to how projects should be organised, the oil companies and government agencies almost always ignore such stipulations.
Though an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a statutory requirement, which should precede projects of this nature in Nigeria, Chevron has not conducted any EIA for the West African GasPipeline. However, gas sales contracts have either been signed or are being negotiated. That Chevron and its partners will conclude agreements for gas sales and project construction before a consideration of the real cost of the project on the natural environment and the local communities is unacceptable to us. It should be unacceptable to the World Bank.
The West Africa GasPipeline will not contribute towards the truly sustainable development of any of the communities in the targeted countries. The fact is that the gas is not destined to supply the real needs of the communities but those of unsustainable industries. In Ghana, the gas will be consumed mainly by the gold mines. The result will be the expansion of unsustainable gold mining activities and the resultant exacerbation of environmental degradation and destruction of the livelihood of local populations. Hence the project is totally contrary to the commitment to sustainable development.
Furthermore, at a time when the world needs to decrease its reliance on fossil fuels because of the global threat of climate change, this project will further increase the world's reliance on fossil fuels.
We are aware that the project is being promoted as one that would contribute to the reduction of gas flaring, a serious environmental problem that has been created by the oil companies and the Nigerian government. It is our position that oil companies and the government should be responsible for correcting the problem of gas flaring, which they have created. Reduction of gas flaring should not be tied to profit considerations, as is the case with the West African GasPipeline and similar projects of its kind.
Despite the claims of the consortium, there is no guarantee that the flaring of ASSOCIATED GAS will be reduced as a result of the West African GasPipeline. If the West African Gaspipeline will collect natural gas from special non-associated gas fields, as is the case with the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Project, then there will not be any reasonable reduction of gas flaring. The gas that is flared in the Niger Delta area is ASSOCIATED GAS. Any project that will lead to considerable reduction of gas flaring should be based on a programme aimed at collecting associated gas. The responses to the enquiries of civil society organisations on this matter indicate that Chevron and other members of the consortium do not have a clear programme for the reduction of flaring of ASSOCIATED GAS.
Gas flaring by oil companies operating in the Niger Delta area is not just a problem for the local communities. The planet earth is affected as the emission of major greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane from this area contribute significantly to the problem of global climate change. Chevron accepts the problem that it creates and is promoting the West African GasPipeline as a project that will contribute to mitigation of global climate change. Chevron is, therefore, asking for credit under the Clean Development Mechanism. However, what this amounts to is that Chevron is asking to be rewarded for attempting to solve a problem it created. Besides, without a clear plan for the reduction of the flaring of ASSOCIATED GAS, it would amount to a faulty decision by anyone that intends to grant Chevron any carbon credit for the West African Gaspipeline. Furthermore, we object to Chevron and other companies profiting from reducing gas flaring; we believe the communities that surround these flares must be compensated for years of health and environmental problems associated with gas flaring before any company profits from gas flare reduction
Despite the recent hand-over of power in Nigeria from military to civilian rule, grave violations of human rights persist in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria, with increasing brutal repression of peaceful community protests, extrajudicial executions, detentions without trial, violation of livelihood etc. Hopes that the current civilian government would better address the Niger Delta discontent dimmed with the massacre, in November 1999, of Odi residents and the total destruction of Odi town by Nigerian soldiers on the orders of the civilian President, General Olusegun Obasanjo.
Without prior consultation with communities and with a pervading climate of insecurity in the Niger Delta area, there is no guarantee that killings and other rights violations will not be a consequence of the West African GasPipeline Project.
The expropriation of communal land and degradation of communal farmland and wetlands by Chevron and the other oil companies in the Niger Delta area have resulted in scarcity of agricultural land and fishing ground. The result has been an increasing commodification and competition for land. Communal conflicts for land have been assuming an increasingly violent character with destruction of lives and property.
Also, with the impoverishment and political marginalisation of the minority peoples of the Niger Delta area, demands for self-determination and resource control is increasing among communities in the area. Some of the communities have openly called on oil companies to withdraw from their areas pending the resolution of these issues. With these crises still unresolved by the Nigerian State, any new project of the magnitude of the West African Gas Pipeline will certainly contribute to worsening the condition for violence and destruction.
Based on the foregoing, and in support of the local communities we demand that the World Bank discontinue support for the West Africa Gaspipeline until:
The Nigerian state, which is a part of the West African GasPipeline consortium, addresses the issues of access to land, resource control, livelihoods and self-determination for communities and peoples of the Niger Delta area;
The Nigerian central government discontinues its programme of militarisation of the oil- bearing Niger Delta area and create a condition for democratic participation;
Chevron and the Nigerian government address the fears of the local communities. These fears as articulated by the people themselves include: The absence of an all-inclusive Environmental Impact Assessment, the grave environmental devastation that will result from the project including deforestation, explosions, the fragmentation of habitats and wildlife corridors and the blocking of water bodies, cultural dislocation as well as economic impoverishment.
Isaac Osuoka Environmental Rights Action / OilWatch Africa Network
cc: The President, Federal Republic of Nigeria The President of Benin Republic The President of Togo The President of Ghana The President, Chevron Corporation The Director of PCF of the World Bank
If you want to support this campaign, please contact: Isaac Osuoka OilWatch Africa Network - Environmental Rights Action 13 Agudama Avenue, D-Line. P. O. Box 13708, Port Harcourt, Nigeria Tel/Fax: 234 84 236365 - Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: More than 130 organizations have already endorsed this letter.
OIL EXPLORATION IN NIGER DELTA - AT WHOSE EXPENSE?
OilWatch Resistance 7, October 2000
By Mrs. Gbenewa Phido (President Mosop-UK)
News report confirm the United States Government has granted military aid consisting of eight fast attack patrol vessels to the Nigerian Navy. These patrol vessels are for ‘policing’ the oil rich Niger Delta region.
Anglo Dutch oil giant - Shell sets aside a total of $1 billion to develop its offshore oil and gas field in Niger Delta. This project is being financed under the alternative funding agreement between oil companies in Nigeria and the Nigerian Petroleum Corporation.
Nigerian Security in Rivers State summarily executes Ogoni children under the guise of task force on ‘pipeline vandalisation’. It was the same with Paul Okuntimu and Dauda Komo’s task force on ‘operation cleanse Ogoniland’ in 1993.
Petroleum is the main stay of Nigerian economy. It is no secret that oil accounts for 90 percent of Nigeria’s foreign earnings. Therefore it is no surprise that the Nigerian Government’s interest in all these issues is to increase the nations’ crude oil production at all cost.
The most important question therefore is - at whose expense is oil drilled in the Niger Delta of Nigeria?
It is clear that for the people of Niger Delta, life will never be the same again. Gone forever is the beautiful countryside that the people once knew. The once rich and healthy land is now a thing of the past which is relegated to the pages of history books. The source of the people’s livelihood has been snatched away from them without any replacement. The Niger Delta people are the ones who are bearing the brunt of the opportunity cost of oil exploration in Nigeria. The weight of this cost is increasingly proving too high to bear on the people. Instances include the destruction of the countryside with surface pipelines, which criss-cross the villages
and farmlands causing great danger from oil blowouts. Constant oil spills which leak into farmlands and rivers destroying and polluting the people’s marine life and crops; continuous flaring of poisonous gases which the people have been forced to inhale resulting to various lungs related sicknesses, etc.
To the people of Ogoni, the price of being an oil producing community has been devastating. Between the years of 1993 1996, Ogoniland was put under military occupation. Paul Okuntimu, Dauda Komo and Obi Umahi among others descended on Ogoniland with the most ruthless and destructive case of a military on its own citizens. Casualty figures afterwards stood at over 30 villages burnt and completely destroyed. Thousands of people killed and maimed, women of all ages raped and turned into sex objects to satisfy the libido of errant military men. Thousands more were made homeless and turned to refugees. The lives of Ken Saro Wiwa and his eight colleagues were brutally cut short to satisfy the hunger and thirst for oil. These deeds were all done on a helpless people in order to silence their yearnings for a fair deal on oil - their natural resource.
The people of Niger Delta are being subjected to an unholy grip of spellbound intimidation from the Nigerian Government and the oil producing companies. Poverty and deprivation has become the cost of oil exploration in the Niger Delta.
Above all these, oil companies are laughing all the way to the bank with the fat profits they declare yearly from the spoils of the harvest of the land. They have confiscated the wealth of the Niger Delta people in the name of doing business. Niger Delta people therefore have to get used to sacrificing and loosing everything in other to keep the oil companies in business and also to make the Nigerian Government happy.
American Government offers military aid package to Nigeria in order to protect the oil companies in the Niger Delta. Nigerian Government provides military security to oil companies in order to continue the flow of oil. Oil companies enjoy security and continue to invest billions of dollars into oil exploration with the ultimate aim of completely drilling the last drop of oil from the Niger Delta Oloibiri as a case in point.
In all these scenario, who is protecting the people of the Niger Delta from the carnage that has been unleashed on them by the oil companies?
While our children suffer malnutrition from starvation in a land of plenty; our husbands, fathers and brothers are being killed for protesting the injustice met on our land; our women raped by oil company contractors and security agents; our environment destroyed with no hope for our future generations etc, the protection we deserve alludes us. No government of the World has offered protection to the people of the Niger Delta neither have they proffered solutions to the problems we continue to face in the hands of oil companies. No humanitarian aid package has been offered by any government to the people of Ogoni to compensate for the pains they have endured through the years. A land that has produced so much wealth remains the most derelict in Nigeria. Hospitals, electricity, schools, pipe-borne water, jobs for the youths etc are neither seen nor heard about in this community.
It is time the environment of Niger Delta people is protected. It is time the continuous harassment and intimidation of Niger Delta people by oil companies and the Nigerian Security agents is stopped. It is time Niger Delta people are appreciated and respected as a people with rights and not treated as hooligans and troublemakers as has been portrayed in the recent past. It is time Niger Delta people stood up and remain standing until their rights are restored.
The Nigerian Government and the oil companies should know that the time is now for them to stop treating the Niger Delta people as victims of their own fortunes. It is time oil exploration in Niger Delta is used for the benefit of the people and not at their expense.
For comments on the issues raised in this article please contact Mrs. Phido at: email@example.com
CONSIDER THE FATE OF OGONI CHILDREN
OilWatch Resistance 11
An open letter to President Obasanjo on his visit to Ogoniland – September 2000.
Children we believe are blessings from God. Children we believe are the future of every Society because they are the leaders of tomorrow. A Society that protects and invests in her children provides a solid foundation for her future. African tradition also believes that a man’s wealth is based on his children as they provide for him in his old age.
It is with this premise that we are compelled to write to you as you visit Ogoniland. Take a good look around you and consider the fate of every Ogoni child.
We find ourselves in a predicament that was not orchestrated by our parents or us. We find ourselves in this situation that we consider beyond comprehension. A situation that has been confirmed by all as a case of ‘man’s inhumanity to man’. As you begin your tour of our land, you are going to see for yourself a land that is devastated and deprived. A land that has produced so much wealth to the nation yet begs for attention. The oil spills, the gas flares, destroyed landscape, the polluted environment etc. are going to leap themselves in your face. (This is hoping that you will be allowed to see the reality that is our land.)
Yet this desolate land is the place that has produced billions of barrels of oil. This land has produced so much revenue to Nigeria. This revenue has been used to develop other parts of Nigeria as well as keep some greedy and selfish Nigerians in untold wealth. But Ogoni children live in abject poverty. It is not due to some act of omission or commission on our part or the part of our parents. The problem lies with the Nigerian Government and the Oil Companies who are bent on drilling the last drop of oil in our land. Shell, Chevron, Agip etc and the Nigerian Government are responsible for this poor state of our community. We want to believe that the people that work for these companies have children. What is beyond imagination is the fact that the treatment Ogoni children receive cannot be compared with the way they treat their children.
But Ogoni children are flesh and blood as well and are supposed to have same rights as children everywhere else in the world. We want to imagine that the wealth and luxury your children enjoy as a result of the resources from Ogoniland and the Niger Delta is ordained by nature and not for your sole use. For this reason we want you to know that Ogoni children are suffering under the weight of the laws you enact.
We want you to know that we are not peasants and therefore were not born to inherit poverty, pains and sufferings. Ogoni children are entitled to same rights as other children in the world and so deserve the good things of life. Yet we lack educational, medical and social facilities that make for decent and healthy living. Our community has been neglected for decades while we the children suffered untold hardship. What future do we have? What hope in the future?
While it will take volumes to enumerate the various forms of our human rights that have been violated, economic exploitation and physical maltreatment to which we have been subjected, we would like to remind the present Nigerian Government that our situation has become unbearable. We hereby wish to refer your Government to The Children’s Act and UN statement on the Rights of Children November 1991. Here are some excerpts we have chosen to state our case:
Every Ogoni child has the right to grow as a child.
Every Ogoni child has the right to be safe and happy.
Every Ogoni child has the right to receive the
broadest and highest quality education possible.
Every Ogoni child has the right to be respected and valued.
Every Ogoni child has the right to develop the knowledge, skills and understanding necessary to participate and contribute to a rich, complex and socially diverse society. Etc, etc….
From above, we are aware that our rights have been and are continuously trampled upon in our country Nigeria.
This is the situation we wish to change. We want the Nigerian Government to consider the following issues:
Ogoniland is our land. The proceeds on this land are ours. The oil you drill on this land is our rightful possession. This oil is the only inheritance we can get from our poverty stricken parents at this time. While other children look up to their parents for inheritance, we look up to our land for our survival. We do not intend to remain in poverty. Our rights must be restored and we hope you will heed our demands by restoring the glory of our land. Mutual respect for our rights and sustainable development is the way forward for our future.
More information: firstname.lastname@example.org
NIGERIA: OIL BLAZE KILLS 50
OilWatch Bulletin 12, January 2001
A fuel pipeline blaze has killed more than 50 people in a fishing village near the Nigerian city of Lagos.
Some of the victims, including children, were caught in billowing flames as they were scooping up petrol from the leaking pipeline. An explosion ripped through the fractured pipeline near Ebute-Oko, a fishing village opposite the central business district of Lagos across a lagoon.
Nearby huts and wooden houses were engulfed by the fire. Many of the dead were reported to be fishermen burned alive in their dugout canoes.
Injured people were evacuated from the area by boat as firefighters struggled to contain the blaze. Villagers said the pipeline, operated by the state-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), had been leaking for nearly two months.
The incident is just the latest in a string of oil pipeline tragedies that have hit Nigeria in the past two years. ‘There are dozens of bodies, more than 50,’ said Marine Police Officer Edward Agwale.
The cause of the blaze is not known, but a spokesman for the state oil company blamed it on the activities of people he described as fuel thieves.
Witnesses quoted by Reuters news agency said the fire was ignited by a wood stove where a woman was cooking in the open. The pipeline lies near Atlas Cove, the main loading centre for fuel imported into Nigeria.
Some oil leaks are caused by poor maintenance, but others occur after pipelines are deliberately punctured and the leaking fuel is siphoned off. There is a thriving black market in fuel.
Nigeria is Africa's top oil exporter, but often faces shortages of refined products. Many of Nigeria's pipeline fires have been in the Niger Delta region, which accounts for most of Nigeria's crude production of over two million barrels a day.
In July, at least 250 people died when fuel exploded at a pipeline near Warri.
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NIGERIA: CHILDREN DIE AFTER PLAYING IN OIL; TOXIC CHEMICAL SUSPECTED
LAGOS, Dec 8 2001 (AFP) - Eight children and a woman have died after contact with an oil slick off the coast of Nigeria, possibly due to toxic chemicals in the oil, officials said Friday.
Some of the children had apparently been playing in the oil, which washed up on a beach near the settlement of Akassa, in Bayelsa State, on December 1 and 2.
A local official in the area said the main oil company operating in there was Texaco, a US firm. Mike Weeks, the coordinator of environmental group Pro-Natura International, earlier told that nine people from two villages, eight of them children and one woman, had died, apparently after coming into contact with the slick, he said.
Oil industry experts Friday declined to comment publicly on the incident but suggested the slick might have contained toxic chemicals or chemicals used for cleaning out oil tanks.
Forensic tests were being carried out at a laboratory in Port Harcourt on traces of the slick washed ashore at the villages, Weeks said. A spokesman for Bayelsa State Governor Diepreye Alamieyseigha told Texaco was the only major operator in the area where the oil slick was reported last week. ‘We cannot be certain for now, but it seems most likely it was from Texaco,’ the spokesman said by telephone from the state capital, Yenagoa.
Two oil companies, US group Texaco and a Nigerian group called Consolidated, operate in the area from which the slick appeared to have come, the Bayelsa spokesman said, adding no-one could say for now who was responsible.
Pro-Natura runs a major development and environmental development project at Akassa and Weeks said its workers there had confirmed nine deaths but said locals reported more had since died. He said a first group of five children died on December 1 when they came into contact the slick as they were playing in the shallow waters off the beach, Weeks said.
The group started vomiting within minutes and died as they tried to return to their village, he said. Another three children and a woman in a neighbouring village died the next day also after contact with the slick, he added.
A report in the newspaper This Day Friday said its correspondent had seen dead fish floating in the water and lizards lying dead on the beach. As well as being populated by people, the area is considered an area of great natural beauty and environmental importance with a large population of rare turtles.
A spokesman for Texaco's Nigerian arm, Texaco Overseas Petroleum Company, was unavailable for comment on Friday.
LAGOS, January 10, 2001 - Royal Dutch/Shell's Nigerian producing unit said on Tuesday it had shut in 46,000 barrels per day of output after an oil spill in Nigeria's southern Delta State.
A Shell statement said the spill was reported on Sunday at Well-26 in Ughelli West, near the oil city of Warri. The trunk line was promptly closed to prevent crude oil from polluting the environment, it said. ‘Production shut in is about 46,000 barrels per day,’ the statement said, adding that the cause of the spill had not yet been established. Shell, denying a Nigerian newspaper report on Tuesday, said no farmlands had been affected by the spill. A joint investigation team comprising officials of the Department of Petroleum Resources, Shell, environmental agencies and community leaders was trying to determine the cause of the accident and the extent of damage.
Shell is Nigeria's biggest oil producer, accounting for roughly half the country's daily output of just over two million barrels.
Source: REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
More information: From: ‘ERA/FoEN’ <email@example.com>
RECENT HISTORY ON SHELL’S ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTERS IN NIGER DELTA
OilWatch Resistance Bulletin 14, March 2001
1. ‘Pipeline explosion rocks Delta Community. This pipeline belonging to SPDC exploded in Warri. Spilling about a million barrels of oil in the area’ Daily Times of Nigeria 9th January 2001
2. ‘Shell’s oil spill claims 28 lives including women & children in Akassa Local Government. More than 200 villages were affected (Post Express 5th January 2001)
3. ‘Fire guts Shell’s ‘well 18’ in Ugheli Nigeria.’ - Nigerian Guardian 13th December 2000.
4. ‘Ikarama oil spill spreads to Ahoada, the spill has polluted the people’s source of drinking water’ Nigerian Observer 5th November 2000
5. ‘Shell’s oil spill occurs at well 32 (Ekulama) covering river and destroying aquatic lives. Ekulama women protest against Shell over shooting of youths’ Environmental Rights Action Nigeria. 10th August 2000
6. ‘Unending crude oil pollution. Shell immerses Biseni community in Crude oil and refuses to clean spill’ Environmental Rights Action Nigeria 15th July 2000
7. ‘Shell, blood stains from Evwreni’ Environmental Rights Action Nigeria 22nd February 2000
8. ‘Shell instigated attacks on Elelewon’ Environmental Rights Action Nigeria 31st January 2000
9. ‘Shell spill in Eregbesene’ Environmental Rights Action Nigeria 27th January 2000
10. ‘43 years on, Oloibiri is a study in neglect the road to Oloibiri, the first oil well at Oloibiri, view of the No. 2 location of Shell at Oloibiri in 1956’ Nigerian Guardian 25th December 1999.
11. ‘6 Years after abandonment, Shell facilities spew oil in Bodo’ ERA 27th December 1999
12. ‘Shell in Bille; unending spills and crisis’ ERA 24th November 1999
13. ‘Shell fails to clean spills, refuses to pay compensation in Amuse Oyigbo’ ERA 22nd Nov. 1999
14. ‘Shell’s well in Ogoni area goes aflame. A dormant oil well belonging to Shell burst into flames in Yorla oil field’ - Nigerian Guardian 27th July 1999
15. By 1993, Ogoni could point to 3,000 oil spills from high- pressured oil lines laid over their farmlands.
16. Shell has been summoned to the Human Rights Commission sitting in Port Harcourt Nigeria on 16th January 2001. This is in relation to the corroboratory role it played with the Nigerian dictator by sponsoring the Nigerian army with ammunitions and financial assistance, which was used to kill, unarmed Ogonis in order to deter them from protesting against its activities. Shell is also expected to answer to its role in the hanging of Environmental / Human Rights Activist Ken Saro Wiwa and the 8 other Ogonis hanged by the draconian regime of Sani Abacha. Comet News 16th January 2001
17. ‘Shell fights compensation order of $40m’ British Broadcasting Corporation News 26th June 2000. Shell still refuses to pay oil spill compensation court order to the Ebubu Ejaama people of Ogoni for 1970 spill, which devastated the area.
The Ijaws are one of the most affected nations by oil activities in the Delta region. The Ijaws are the most populous indigenous inhabitants of the Niger Delta.
Crude oil was first discovered in commercial quantity in Oloibiri community of Ijawland in 1958. Since then, oil companies such as Shell (Anglo/Dutch), AGIP (Italian), Elf (French) and Chevron (American) have colluded with the military and successive governments of Nigeria to wage a war of economic exploitation and environmental degradation, as well as the institution of internal colonialism. Chevron in particular has been implicated in several acts of human rights abuse in the Niger Delta. Chevron's corporate policy of instigating violence against the Ijaws continues unabated.
Environmental Rights Action of Nigeria has collected a series of environmental testimonies that capture the voices and perspectives of the people in their own words.
The publication gathers eleven testimonies from the Delta del Niger, a region deeply affected by the activities of transnational companies, and unmask the role they have played in the region.
A large part of the testimonies are related to the activities of the oil companies Shell and Chevron. The testimonies indicate Chevron as a company who wants to have a ‘green’ image, but whose behavior and actions towards the local population proves the contrary. 42 companies are located in the area of Chevron’s influence, and the population has been subject to deaths and massacres.
As far as Shell goes, their brutal repression has been common history in the entire Delta.
The testimonies include stories that begun several years ago, immediately after the independence of Nigeria. New stories are also included, such as the new operations such as the seismic prospecting company CGG working for Shell in Umoghu - Nokhua, through seismic operations.
Testimonies of palm and wood companies are also included, such as the African Timber and Plywood Company.
Many testimonies request that the reader take action and describe various possible actions.
The publication is illustrated with heartrending photographs.
This report details the oral her stories of women from the Niger Delta, as told to me over a period of three weeks in March 2000. Ordinary women who have become extraordinary by virtue of the violence they have experienced and the courage they have to speak out despite the risk they incur of retribution by the state authorities.
In presenting the stories it is highlighted the impact of militarization and oil exploration on the lives of women and girl. The stories give voice to the experiences of the women and girls who live in and around the many tributaries, rivers and creeks of the delta of the River Niger.
The focus of my study is the testimonies of the women I spoke with. The presentation is shaped by my experience of listening to the women, the circumstances of each interview, my memories of their faces and their lives.
The women of the Niger Delta are part of the communities of suffering and resistance that exist throughout the world. Unfortunately the testimonies can only give you the words, it cannot reproduce the tears, the sadness and pain that accompanied the words. The reader should be reminded therefore that behind the words are women whose hearts are swollen with pain but whose strength is uncompromising.
REVIEW: Blood & Oil: Testimonies of Violence from women of the Niger Delta by Sokari Ekine in association with the Niger Delta Women for Justice
The discovery of oil in Nigeria's Niger Delta in 1956 triggered a chain of events that has led to the political and economic marginalisation of the inhabitants. Rivers, farmland and fishing creeks have also been subjected to devastation, due to the activities of the Western oil companies operating in the Niger Delta. Indeed, it has been argued that oil has been more of curse than a blessing to the people who have been at the receiving end of horrendous government repression and brutality, often resulting in fatalities. Despite 40 years of oil production and hundreds of billions of dollars of oil revenue, the local people remain in abject poverty without even the most basic amenities such as water and electricity. Blood and Oil restores voice and agency to a segment of the Niger Delta crisis that has often been neglected or given short shrift by journalists, writers and researchers: Women.
This monograph is also very important for yet another reason:. In its pages the authentic voices of these women spring to life. We hear them speak of their fears and sufferings and pains. We hear them speak of rape and defilement and death. They speak of loss of property and limbs and loved ones but are made extraordinary and heroic by their deeds and there determined refusal to be oppressed.
Sokari Ekine, a writer and environmentalist, is the International Coordinator and researcher for the Niger Delta Women for Justice (NDWJ), a Non Government Organisation based in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. NDWJ is committed to improving the personal, economic and educational status of women and to ensuring that their environmental and human rights are upheld.
OilResistance-Africa information & strategies to support African oil struggles
THE NIGER DELTA’S ANSWER TO ATIKU’S THREAT – A PSALM
Deliver us from our enemies O our God Defend us from those who rise up against us Deliver us from the workers of iniquity And save us from bloodthirsty men.
For look, they lie in wait for our lives The mighty gather against us Not for our transgression nor for our sins, O Lord But because we want control of the resources you gave us.
Forty years they have stolen from us Yet they are not satisfied Forty years they robbed the widows that they created They have killed the young men so that none should rise up They have polluted the land and the water We can neither farm nor fish.
Now they have made an alliance with the powerful To obtain weapons and training Not to enthrone righteousness, nor to glorify Your name Not to establish justice, but to intimidate and suppress They run and prepare themselves through no fault of ours They have said to themselves Who can stop us?
Awake to help us and behold: You therefore O Lord God of hosts, the God of Israel Awake to punish all the nations Do not be merciful to any wicked transgressors.
At evening they return They growl like a dog And go all around the nation Indeed they belch with their mouth Swords are in their lips For they say, “Who hears?”
They poured concrete on the desert sand And planted a seed, and said it will not grow.
But You, O Lord, shall laugh at them You shall have all the oppressors in derision.
We will wait for You, O You our strength For God is our defense Our God of mercy shall come to meet us God shall let us see our desire on our enemies
Do not slay them, lest our people forget Scatter them by Your power And bring them down O Lord our shield. For the sin of their mouth and the words of their lips Let them be taken in their pride. And for the cursing and lying which they speak Consume them in wrath, consume them That they may not be.
But we will sing of Your power Yes, we will sing aloud of Your mercy in the morning For You have been our defense And refuge in the day of our trouble To You O our strength, we sing praises For God is our defense Our God of mercy Forgive us our sins in the name of our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
The People of Nigeria.
NIGERIA PREPARES FOR COURT BATTLE OVER OIL CONTROL
April 9, 2001
Lagos (Reuters) - An unprecedented Supreme Court battle between Nigeria's federal and state governments over who controls the nation's oil resources begins on Monday.
Some politicians say that the outcome of the case, opening in the capital Abuja on Monday, could plunge the volatile country into chaos or even civil war, whatever the verdict.
‘The court will decide one way or the other, one party will be aggrieved,’ leading human rights lawyer Olisa Agbakoba said in an interview with the National Interest daily on Sunday.
Nigeria's southern states, which produce the country's mainstay crude oil, have been agitating for greater control over oil revenues since the end of military dictatorship in 1999, when Nigerians became free to express themselves openly on key national issues.
Elected president Olusegun Obasanjo has previously defused the issue by agreeing to implement a constitutional formula for revenue sharing that allocates 13% of oil earnings to states producing the commodity.
But he angered oil states when he decided that oil from offshore fields belonged exclusively to the central government and would be excluded from the so-called derivation formula.
The six littoral states, which account for most of Nigeria's over two million barrels per day oil output, then threatened to wrest total control of oil and other natural resources and only pay taxes to the federal government.
Echoes of Biafra
Obasanjo warned the states that such a move could lead to civil war similar to the late 1960s conflict over the oil- producing region's failed bid to secede as the state of Biafra.
Federal Justice Minister and Attorney-General Bola Ige in February filed a case at the Supreme Court asking it to decide who had ultimate control over natural resources.
‘The federal government has one view of this issue. The state has one view. The constitution says it is the court that can interpret it,’ Ige said in answer to politicians arguing in favour of a political rather than legal solution.
Leading politicians from the oil-producing states have warned Obasanjo against allowing the case to go to court. They say that it will heighten tensions at a time when many Nigerians are already disgruntled over worsening economic hardships, massive unemployment and the deterioration of public utilities.
‘Our position is that this is not a matter for the Supreme Court. It is overheating the system unnecessarily,’ said Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, who is from oil-producing Akwa Ibom State and Chairman of the Senate's Appropriation Committee.
‘If it does not go our way there will be a total break down of law and order and I don't think Obasanjo needs that,’ Udoma told Reuters.
Although he is a member of Obasanjo's ruling party, Udoma's state would be hit hard if offshore oil, which accounts for over 90% of crude from its territory, were deemed as belonging to the federal government.
The central government reckons that 60% of Nigeria's oil is produced inland and 40% offshore. The oil states say the 13% of revenues they receive on the basis of where the oil is produced is in fact 60% of what they should get.
The Supreme Court last week named seven judges led by Chief Justice Muhammad Uwais to hear the case. All the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory have been joined in the suit and are sending their attorneys-general for the high-stakes drama that could be drawn out for months.
SOURCE: OilResistance-Africa Information & strategies to support African oil struggles
COURT CLEARS WAY FOR RELATIVES TO SUE SHELL OVER SARO-WIWA'S DEATH
OilWatch Bulletin 19
By Andrew Buncombe in Washington, Independent News, 27 March 2001
America's Supreme Court cleared the way yesterday for the relatives of the executed Nigerian playwright Ken Saro-Wiwa to allege in court that the multinational oil giant Shell was complicit in his death.
The court announced that it will allow a civil action to proceed in New York, in which the relatives will claim Shell aided and abetted the writer's torture and death in Nigeria in 1995.
Saro-Wiwa and eight others were tried and hanged by Nigeria's former military regime after protesting about oil exploration in the southern Delta region, populated by the Ogoni people. The trial organised by the regime - based on an allegation that Saro-Wiwa was responsible for a fatal attack on another group - was widely seen as a legal farce.
Since then, the case of the so-called Ogoni Nine has been a constant thorn in the side of the Dutch and British owners of Shell Nigeria, in the shape of a lawsuit lodged by three Nigerian émigrés to the United States, including Saro-Wiwa's brother Dr Owens Wiwa.
The Ogoni tribe welcomed the decision by the Supreme Court. ‘We stand a much better chance of getting justice outside Nigeria,’ said Deeka Menegbon, secretary general of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People.
In an action that could cost the company millions of dollars in damages, the action alleges that Shell ‘facilitated Saro-Wiwa's execution’. It specifically claims that Shell provided money and guns to the Nigerian government to help deal with protesters, recruit police and soldiers to attack villages in the Delta region and crush opposition to oil exploration and participated in the fabrication of murder charges against Saro-Wiwa.
Shell has tried for several years to have the action thrown out on the basis that a New York court had no right to hear the case and the plaintiffs had no right to sue, because the victims were not American.
A Federal judge dismissed the case in 1998 but it was later reinstated by the Second US Circuit Court of Appeals. Shell had asked the Supreme Court to rule against the appeal court. The company's lawyer wrote: ‘Under the ruling, virtually any multinational corporation with a listing on a US stock exchange, not to mention numerous foreign officials, will be at risk of having brought into court in New York to answer for acts having no connection to the US and not violating any Federal Law.’
The Supreme Court made no comment in announcing its decision yesterday not to interfere with the previous ruling.
Shell Nigeria first began its operations in 1958, when the country was still a British colony. Nigeria has vast oil reserves and its economy is largely fuelled by oil: up to 90 per cent of its export earnings come from oil.
But the Delta region, in which much of the oil reserves are found, is also home to the Ogoni people - an ethnic minority group with little political voice. The Ogonis' campaign against the 100 wells (and an estimated 3,000 oil spills) began in the early 1990s. It was initially peaceful but was violently repressed by the military regime, which harassed Ogoni leaders.
Environmental groups such as Earthlife Africa have accused oil companies of causing serious damage, without consulting the Ogoni about their activities.
The lawsuit by the relatives of Saro-Wiwa was originally filed in a New York court in 1996 under laws that allow action in America against firms accused of human rights abuses anywhere in the world.
SHELL AND OGONI IN UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT RULING
03 April, 2001
‘...I repeat that we all stand before history. I and my colleagues are not the only ones on trial. Shell is here on trial and it is as well that it is represented by counsel said to be holding a watching brief. The company has, indeed, ducked this particular trial, but its day will surely come ...there is no doubt in my mind that the ecological war the company has waged in the delta will be called to question sooner than later and the crimes of that war duly punished. The crimes of the company's dirty wars against the Ogoni people will also be punished. ...’
Ken Saro Wiwa - Port Harcourt, 21st September, 1995.
Excerpt from Ken's last statement to Justice Auta's kangaroo Tribunal.
Multibillion oil company Shell will be sued for its environmental crimes against the Ogonis in New York. A ruling in the US Supreme Court of 26th March upheld an earlier decision by the federal court. Shell - the oil giant with declared profit of 9 billion British pounds sterling in 2000 - should be sued in the US on human rights grounds.
Included in the suit by relatives of the murdered activists are the following:
Shell took land without paying proper compensation
Shell polluted the Ogoni atmosphere
Shell paid the police to suppress Ogoni protest and opposition
Shell fabricated evidence to support murder charges against Ogoni activists which led to the hanging of 9 Ogoni leaders.
‘This is one of the best news Ogonis have heard in a long time. Just as predicted above by the Ogoni leader Ken Saro Wiwa in 1995, a day of reckoning has come for Shell to account for its gory activities of 40 years in Ogoniland.’ Said Mrs Gbenewa Phido, President of MOSOP-UK.’
By 1993, Shell had mined oil from Ogoni worth an estimated $60 billion. In spite of the enormous wealth drained from this community, it remains one of Niger Delta's most deprived and under-developed community. Ogoni remains a poverty stricken land. There continues to be lack of electricity, water, schools, hospitals and employment opportunities in the community. Ogonis on taking stock of their situation had protested non-violently against this unfair treatment by both the Nigerian Government and its oil producing companies. Shell had seen this protest as a bruise on its ego and taint on its highly guarded reputation. For this reason Ogonis had to be stopped in a most drastic and brutal way to serve as an example to other communities. This initiated the deadly might of the Nigerian Military and Shell to quash the Ogoni protest. The aftermath of this coalition was the death of over 3,000 innocent and defenceless Ogonis. Shell confessed to Oputa human rights commission in Nigeria of buying arms and financing the military to kill Ogonis.
‘Shell has confirmed apportioning more value to the flow of oil than the flow of Ogoni blood. The senseless and callous action of this multibillion company must be brought to book and punished and there is no better place than a court of law.’ Says Mrs Phido. For these reasons and more, Ogoni have vowed never to let Shell into their land again. Shell is however adamant about this and still insist on returning to Ogoni to drill the last drop of oil. A view Mrs Phido is vehemently opposed to. According to her, ‘Shell remains 'persona non grata' in Ogoni. Shell should be prepared to kill all generations of Ogoni before it can have access to our natural resources again. We believe 40 years is enough time for a people to be held in captivity as is our experience with Shell.’ she said.
Mrs Phido continued ‘Shell in the US court of justice is a welcome change to the sufferings endured by the Ogonis over the years. We want to see justice done for the blood that Ken Saro Wiwa and the other Ogoni shed on our land.’ ‘We demand that justice be done to the people of Ogoni who have endured decades of exploitation from this multibillion company whose sole interest is profit at the expense of the masses. For destroying our environment and allowing generations of Ogoni to wallow in poverty Shell must answer and pay for its crimes in Ogoni.’ She continued.
On a related issue regarding the environmental award being given to Shell by WEC, Mrs Phido said ‘Shell can buy as many awards as money can buy but it will never change the reality and history of its ruthless and greedy activities in Ogoni and other parts of the world where the truth speaks for itself.’ ‘MOSOP-UK organised a world wide petition against this award which has produced over 5,000 signatories as at the last count. This petition will be forwarded to the United Nation, WEC, UNEC and many other international organisations. We are confident that Shell will be disqualified from this award especially now that it has to answer to its environmental crimes in the United States courts.’ Mrs Phido concluded.
NIGERIA: MURDER OF OGONI YOUTH: SHELL WORK WITH POLICE DISPATCHLINE
Date: July 8, 2001
In the wake of the devastating blowout at the Yorla oil field, ERA issued a detailed field report number 78 on May 8, 2001, titled, ‘SPDC oil blow-out heightens famine crisis in Ogoniland’ which spelled out the ecological and socio-economic dangers the spill posed to the rural people and their economy. Since then, ERA has monitored closely the situation up to the extra-judicial killings of Mr. Friday Nwiido, and the media campaigns by Shell and the police. In this special update report, ERA presents what the local peoples are saying as Environmental Testimonies. Hear the sad voices of Green Barinem (a youth leader), Mrs. Alice Nwiido (Mother of late Friday Nwiido), Chief Nwoke Wikune (the Paramount ruler of Buan Community) and Mrs Waaka Nwiido (Wife of late Friday Nwiido).
‘At Yorla, the spill is still flowing, destroying our farmlands and polluting our rivers, Shell only corked their wellheads to stop it from flowing from their facility, but the lost products are still travelling, destroying our crops especially now that, the rain is falling heavily’ - Green Barinem (Youth Leader)
‘My late son, Mr. Friday Nwiido as a security guard for Shell. When he told me about the job with shell, I encouraged him since he was the only breadwinner for the family and my ‘husband’, since my real husband died some years ago. He hails from here, Buan community in Ken-Khana kingdom of Ogoni. He was 31 years old and married with 3 daughters. Throughout the entire Ken- Khana he was popular and loved by all, because of his sincerity. He was a hardworking man. After my son had worked for Shell throughout the time of the Yorla explosions, Shell refused to pay my son. As a tactics to get his money from Shell, my son and his friend, one Igbo man who is a driver with Shell (whose salary was not paid too), collaborated and drove the Shell big van into this community, and parked it just by the roadside.
Few days after, officials of Khana local government council, Shell and policemen came here and went straight to the paramount ruler's house, I don't know what they discussed. By then, my son had gone to work for a construction company - Homan, in a nearby community. My son was not around when the delegation came here on June 14, 2001. The next day fully armed mobile policemen and some conventional ones came here in 10 police vans. It was around 8.00 am they started by shooting teargas canisters and live bullets indiscriminately.
I don't know who called my son. He suddenly, reappeared from his workplace and walked into the invading force with his hands raised in surrender. As he came he was shouting, ‘I am the one, I didn't hijack any vehicle, Shell is owing me and I want my money.’ He cried as the police fired live bullets at him at close range. He was hit on his thighs several times. He fell down, bleeding profusely. He was carried from the ground by one of the police officers and dumped in the boot (trunk). I hired a car immediately and followed the police who were retreating after killing my child. When they noticed that we were following them, they stopped us. We diverted and monitored them up to the police station at Bori, Ogoni. I saw when Shell vehicles stopped and entered the police station. The police held brief talks with Shell and Khana local government officials.
From there, we moved to Port Harcourt. My son was crying in pains as they drove on. Some of the police vans had left the convoy remaining some unmarked cars. It was when they stopped over in Shell clinic at Rumukrushi, Port Harcourt that I missed my way. I went to the military hospital where they told me that there was no body like that. I visited all the government and Shell hospitals in Port Harcourt but I could not find my son. It was at the Shell hospital somebody I will not mention his name, told me that really the boy was brought there alive and after several secret talks with the medical personnel, they transferred him to the Mini-Okoro police station. At Mini-Okoro, another reliable source told me that the boy was executed on Saturday and that the people who were present during the shooting were the Divisional Crime Officer (DCO), Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Area Commander, one man nicknamed Ahoada and 2 others.
To confirm the source, I was told that, the corpse was deposited at the mortuary of the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH). I went there and saw the corpse of my son. I then went back to report all my ordeals to Hon. Emmanuel Deeyah, Commissioner for special duties in Rivers State. I told the commissioner that I want to see the Governor, Dr. Odili, since I voted for him. On 29 June 2001, Deeyah held a meeting with us in his office. Present at that meeting were our village head, elders, youths and the chairman of Khana local government council, Hon. Letam Korsi.
The Ogoni commissioner blamed those who attended for allowing the poor boy to die.
Up till now I am still waiting for the corpse of my son. I want to bury him, as I said to the police when they arrested and tortured me for a day, I still maintain my stand that the police, Shell, council officials, and the village council are all responsible for my child's death. I will say these things anywhere, any day. Please, quote me anywhere, I have read what Shell and the police are saying in the Nigerian media, they are all liars.’
-Mrs. Alice Nwiido (Mother of late Friday Nwiido)
‘Youths from this village are threatening to burn my palace and deal with me for betraying Mr. Friday Nwiido. The deceased was my cousin. How can I have a hand in his death? On the 13th of June 2001, the police invited me to their station. I only talked while one of the policemen wrote it down.
Look at the statement. I didn't call the police; they just came and disturbed the people of my community. I have reported to the police and the government about the threat. I am afraid.’
- Chief Nwoke Wikune (Paramount ruler of Buan Community)
‘Since my mother-in-law told me of my husband's death. I have been sick and have packed from my husband's house to my mother-in-law's place. I am afraid.’
- Mrs Waaka Nwiido (Wife of late Friday Nwiido)
Source: ERA SPECIAL UPDATE REPORT
Bowoto vs. Chevron
9 May 2001
In May of 1999, victims of gross human rights abuses associated with Chevron's oil production activities in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria filed suit against Chevron in federal court in San Francisco. The case is based on two incidents: the shooting of peaceful protestors at Chevron's Parabe offshore platform and the destruction of two villages by soldiers in Chevron helicopters and boats. It was filed under the Alien Tort Claims Act, which permits suits in U.S. courts against individuals or corporations that commit international human rights violations anywhere in the world, if that person or corporation resides in or visits the United States.
In a major victory for the Plaintiffs, the Court in the Spring of 2000 rejected Chevron's request to dismiss the case. Chevron had argued that Nigeria was the proper forum for the dispute. It had also argued that the claims arising out of the Parabe incident did not allege violations of international law because the Plaintiffs were trespassing on the platform and that litigation of the Parabe claims would interfere with U.S. foreign policy vis-à-vis Nigeria. The Court concluded that none of these assertions warranted dismissal of the case at this early stage of the proceedings.
The Shootings at the Parabe Platform Chevron's massive environmental destruction in the Niger Delta has caused serious problems for the local people. Specifically, Chevron's dredging has salinated the fresh water supply, destroyed riverbeds and the natural ecosystem, and caused erosion.
Indeed, several villages are at such extreme risk from erosion that they may simply be swallowed up. In other areas, the water level is now too low, due to silt, and boats can no longer pass nor fish survive. In sum, Chevron's activities have destroyed local people's homes and fisheries, leaving them without means of support and ruining their fresh water supplies.
Delta residents petitioned Chevron to clean up its mess, and to provide water wells, jobs, scholarships and electricity. (Ironically, while Chevron makes huge profits from Delta oil, and while it lights the sky at all hours and causes massive air pollution by flaring natural gas, neighboring communities have no electricity.) Chevron, however, ignored the residents' complaints and refused even to discuss their concerns. Finally, in frustration, Delta residents went to Chevron's offshore Parabe Platform and demanded that Chevron officials meet with community elders on shore.
Chevron admits that while these local people carried no weapons, Chevron's own security officers on the platform were armed. After three days, when negotiations seemed to be moving, the protestors agreed to leave the next morning and Chevron was informed that they would do so. Apparently, however, Chevron management decided to teach the residents a lesson and to send a message to any other Delta people thinking about a similar protest.
Early on the morning of May 28, 1998, Chevron pilots in Chevron-leased helicopters approached the platform. Inside the helicopters were soldiers and other Chevron representatives. The soldiers opened fire on the protestors even before the helicopters landed. Two protestors were killed and others were wounded, one of whom was bayonetted after already having been shot. The leader of the protest was taken off by the soldiers and later tortured because he refused to sign a confession stating that he was a pirate. Amy Goodman and Jeremy Scahill, reporters for Democracy Now, visited Nigeria shortly after the Parabe Incident and secured admissions from Chevron that their helicopters were used and that their head of security was on board during the attacks.
The Destruction of Opia and Ikenyan on January 4th, 1999, about seven months after the Parabe incident, Chevron-leased helicopters flew over the fishing villages of Opia and Ikenyan and opened fire. Shortly thereafter, Chevron-leased boats filled with soldiers attacked the villages. As a result of these air and amphibious assaults, at least 7 people are known to have died and most of both villages were burned to the ground. Many more were injured or remain missing, and nearly everyone lost their homes, boats or other possessions in the fires.
The Court's Rulings
Chevron argued to the Court that Plaintiffs' claims should be heard in Nigeria, not San Francisco, where Chevron is based. The Court rejected that argument, because Chevron did not consent to subject itself to jurisdiction in Nigeria. The Court also noted that a court in California has a compelling interest in hearing cases involving allegations of international human rights violations against a California corporation.
Chevron further argued that the Parabe Plaintiffs could not sue because the shooting of unarmed protestors who are trespassing does not violate international law. The Court, however, concluded that the Plaintiffs had adequately alleged violations of the international norms prohibiting summary execution and torture. Finally, the Court rejected Chevron's argument that the Parabe claims would interfere with U.S. foreign policy, concluding that it could not reach that conclusion at this stage of the litigation. These rulings are significant. In stark contrast to Chevron and its military crony's violent repression, the Court has granted Plaintiffs an opportunity to seek justice before a neutral forum.
More information: EarthRights International firstname.lastname@example.org
Isiokpo-Ogbodo Explosion-spill: Policemen Overrun Community
Unending Pollution In A Rural Community
Despatchline: Ogbodo, Ikwerre Local Government Area, Rivers State, Nigeria
PATRICK NAAGBANTON, JULY 11, 2001
‘Shell admitted that the incident occurred as a result of the failure of their facilities. They have been battling to stop the spill but hard as they have tried, the spill is spreading. Another thing I can't understand is the taking over of our community by this large number of mobile policemen. They move from one part of the community to another and even enter our sacred grounds, which are forbidden to strangers. Our community is always peaceful and quite. The presence of the armed men is not necessary. We have been holding meetings with Shell officials here in our community, Ogbodo, at our ruler's palace. Shell cannot claim that any of our people have harassed them. We learnt that Shell invited these hefty armed men. I say again they are not necessary. We have been discussing about how to stop the spill, restore the environment and compensate us for the loss of our occupation and environment. The youths have been complaining since pick-up vans from the mobile police littered our community. It is even our boys that have been clearing the swamp to trace the source of the spill. They do the job unprotected (with bare body and without any footwear). They are paid very meagre amount by Shell’.
- Mr. G. Orul - 38, Community Development Committee (CDC) Member
‘Our community, Ogbodo is the largest in the entire Isiokpo clan of Ikwerre, the spill occurred on June 26, 2001 and the effects has been devastating. Those of us at the bank of Miniamu River were engulfed with irritating odour and itching every morning. We no longer drink from the rivers. As an emergency measure, Shell supplied few litres of water to the 15 families that make up Ogbodo. Apart from the one I saw with my eyes, everyone here complained that the water Shell supplied is dirty and smells. Many people simply threw theirs away. We are facing severe water scarcity now’.
-Isirim Alison, 33 years, Youth leader, Ogbodo
‘Our community swamps harbour the highest number of species of crocodiles. Since the spill occurred, we hunters have been unable to go into the swamps because the whole place is covered with crude oil. We have been coming home with carcasses of animals that died because of the pollution. Our kinsmen have advised us not to use them for food. The river bank is littered with dead fishes and animals.’
- Mr. Edwin Wahu, 45 years,Community leader
‘Our children bathe in the Miniamu River (where the spill occurred) before going to school. We used it for drinking and other domestic purpose too. The spill has polluted the entire area and if you go there now, the entire fresh water has turned red. It stinks.
- Mrs. E. M. Wakwu, 50 years
ABOUT THE OGBODO COMMUNITY AND PEOPLE
Ogbodo is one of the largest villages (in terms of population) in the Isiokpo clan of Ikwerre ethnic nationality in the Niger Delta. It is an agrarian community with rich swamps, which serve as hunting grounds for community members who eke existence from it.
SHELL IN OGBODO
Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) discovered oil here in commercial quantity in 1972 although the pipeline in question was constructed through the community in 1963.
Aged and rusty facilities belonging to Shell have resulted in frequent spills of oil into the Ogbodo environment. These have left the fragile ecosystem devastated and degraded. The sprawling community is criss-crossed by Nkpogu/Rumuekpe oil pipeline and harbours two oil wells belonging to SPDC
JUNE 1995 BLOWOUT; A SAD TALE
In the month of June 1995, at the Nkpogu/Rumuekpe facility, a major blow out occurred which resulted in gas fire. Large quantity of the hazardous crude totally covered the Miniamu River with large patches of oil sludge floating on the entire water surface which in turn is covered in sheen at Egula river and other rivers and streams that dotted the area.
Shell admitted that the accident was caused by the failure of its facility. Shell paid compensation to the people but community described the gesture to be too meagre. The effect of that spill is still visible.
ONCE UPON A DEAFENING EXPOSION
ERA field assessment at Ogbodo community revealed that the terrain is a flood plain and is replete with vulnerable receptors, which aid speedy off-site migration of the hazardous product in tragic situations such as these. The present spill at Ogbodo is a case in point.
Peasant farmers in the community who were in their farms when the explosion occurred told ERA how the explosion from Shell's Nkpoku/Rumuekpe oil facility that fateful Monday, June 25, 2001 shattered their day. Characteristically, a large volume of the crude spewed into the adjacent rivers, streams and rivulets in the community. The main affected river is Miniamu River, which is linked to other major rivers, streams and rivulets. It flows into the Egulo River and Egulo River and terminates into the Miniamu River, which empties itself into the great Calabar River. The above rivers traverse human settlements, towns, villages and hamlets.
The explosion occurred at a place called ‘Alioma,’ right inside the community.
SHELL'S REPONSE; IMPURE AS RELIEF PACKAGE
Community leaders and Chiefs led a delegation to Shell's office at Rumuobiakani in Port Harcourt to notify Shell of the spill. Shell admitted that the spill was caused by failure of their facility and not sabotage. A few days after the ugly incident, Shell's contracting firm, DEC Oil & Gas Company Limited moved into the community unhindered to undertake containment measures. Inside sources told ERA that due to the magnitude of the blow out and spill, the contractor left the job. Subsequently, another Shell contractor, WILBROS, took over the job and succeeded in somewhat blocking the leakage. When ERA visited the facility, crude oil was still trickling out of the pipe.
Shell has also supplied the community with 14 cans (500 litres) of impure water and 70 bags of rice, 50 bags of beans and 70 bags of salt. A local newspaper, South-South Express, writing under the title, ‘SHELL RECOVERS 7,000 BARRELS OF CRUDE FROM OIL SPILL, 2O COMMUNITIES AFFECTED’ in its Wednesday edition, July 11, 2001 reported that Mr. Don Boham, External Relations Manager of Shell, said that about 2 weeks ago, SPDC promptly mobilised oil recovery and containment. However, intimidation, hostage taking and harassment of SPDC and contractor staff and the denial of access for prompt intervention, made it impossible for Shell to carry out clean-up exercises in the impacted area.
This is contrary to our findings and the testimonies of the local people.
Shell is a Dominant Player in the Nigerian Economy
22 October, 2001 By Sola Odunfa in Lagos
Shell, the Anglo-Dutch oil company, is suing two villages in Nigeria for alleged damage to equipment during an attack by militant youths in September
Company statement to the court
The High Court in the Nigerian state of Benin is expected to begin hearing the case on Monday
Shell is suing the two Niger Delta communities for $25m in damages as well as more than $800,000 per day in lost production since the 27 September attack.
The case against the Olomoro and Oleh communities has been described as the first such action by a multi-national company against a local community.
Shell, Nigeria's largest oil producer, has been the target of local militants who demand a greater share of the country's wealth.
There have been frequent attacks on oil companies in the Niger Delta amid allegations of environmental degradation and economic neglect by both the oil companies and the Nigerian government.
Shell is suing for damage to equipment and lost production.
Shell says the September attack wiped off 40,000 barrels per day of its crude oil production.
In a statement filed to the court, the company said it had been "very sensitive to the welfare and well-being of host communities". Shell said it had implemented several projects to enhance local living standards. But the statement said it had suffered constant harassment of staff and extensive destruction of equipment.
In September, Shell alleges armed youths took over the Olomoro flow station and tried to shut it down.
But then a build-up of pressure in the surge tanks caused the explosion, which put the facility out of use and spilled crude oil over several hundred square metres of woodland around the station.
Shell produces about half of Nigeria's total daily output of oil - about 800,000 to 900,000 b/d of a daily total of just over two million barrels.
PHILADELPHIA, Nov 1 2001 (Reuters) - Nigeria could double its proven natural gas reserves if it steps up its search for gas, which could boost plans for a pipeline to Algeria, Nigeria's top energy official said on Thursday.
"All of the gas in Nigeria has been discovered accidentally while searching for oil," said Rilwanu Lukman, energy adviser to Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo.
"It is the general belief that a deliberate search for gas may result in a doubling of reserves," Lukman said on the sidelines of the U.S.-Africa Business Summit.
Nigeria has to flare half the gas it produces because of a lack of export outlets. It has proven natural gas reserves of 3.51 trillion cubic meters but it only produced 11 billion cubic meters during 2000.
As Nigeria expands its reserves, it plans to send the new supply through a $5 billion to $7 billion pipeline aimed at European markets it is developing with fellow Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) member Algeria.
The 2,500-mile-long (4,000-kms) Trans-Sahara Gas Pipeline will link Nigeria's capital Abuja, across Niger to the Mediterranean port city of Beni Saf, around 300 miles (500 kms) west of Algiers.
To be connected to Algeria's existing network, the pipeline would boost gas exports to southern Europe where Algeria, Africa's No. 1 natural gas producer, already sends 62 billion cubic meters of gas per year.
The new line would complement Algeria's two gas pipelines to Spain and Italy. "The European Union market is an infinite market," said Chakib Khelil, Algeria oil minister and OPEC president, said on the sidelines of the conference.
Egypt and Qatar are also targeting the European market. "There is room for everybody," Khelil said.
The sheer volume of gas from Algeria and Nigeria, which hold the biggest gas reserves in Africa, would make trans-Sahara gas more competitive than gas from other countries, he added.
Russia and Norway supply most of the European Union's gas.
Financing for the trans-Saharan gas line could come in part from a "new Marshall plan" by the Group of Seven economic powers, James Harmon, former chairman of the U.S. Export-Import bank, said.
Khelil said many banks, including Citibank and European export credit agencies, also have talked to Algeria about financing the pipeline.
Sources: Timothy Gardner, New York Energy Desk, ++646 223 6051, fax ++646 223 6078 OilResistance-Africa. Information & strategies to support African oil struggles http://www.topica.com/lists/OilResistance-Africa
Remembering November 10th, 1995
OilWatch Bulletin 23, Dec. 2001
It is now 6 years since the brutal murder of Ken Saro Wiwa and the 8 other Ogoni activist in Nigeria.
This killing which shocked the world remains the greatest act of terror Ogoni witnessed. Today the world experiences terror in dimensions of great magnitude and it is now time to combat acts of terrorism. But Ogoni continues to be intimidated by economic terrorist. We remember with sadness the carefully masterminded plot by the oil multibillion giant Shell to cut short and put an end to the lives of Ken Saro Wiwa and his eight colleagues for crimes of demanding justice for Ogoni people.
MOSOP believes in the sanctity of lives and condemns in strong terms all acts and agents of terrorism and mourns with all those who have lost loved ones to the great enemy of the people known as terrorism.
While the world combines efforts to combat terrorism, MOSOP reminds all of the pains which is still being inflicted on Ogoniland both on her people and her environment by – Shell, whose sole motive is to drain the Ogoni community of her resources. We remind the world of our sufferings and continue to demand attention to our plight.
Memories of the years of 1993 to 1996 remain fresh in our minds when:
Over 2000 Ogonis were killed by the Nigerian military in a war of genocide against the people
Thousands of Ogonis were maimed and thousands of women raped.
30 Ogoni villages were razed to the ground by soldiers in an operation aimed at cleansing Ogoni
Over 100,000 Ogonis were made refugees and had to flee their homes
On November 10, 1995, Ken Saro Wiwa and his 8 colleagues where hanged for demanding justice for the Ogoni people.
While six years has elapsed since the hanging of our leaders, we hereby inform the world that nothing has changed in Ogoniland. The deplorable conditions of living of our people are certainly not acceptable and we remind Obasanjo's government of the duties it owes the Ogoni people.
While remembering Ken Saro Wiwa, Dr. Barinem Kiobel, Saturday Dorbee, Paul Levura, Nordu Eawo, Felix Nuate, Daniel Gboko, John Kpuinen and Baribor Bera, MOSOP continues to demand justice for Ogoni and all oppressed people of the world.
The struggle continues.
Mrs Gbenewa Phido President - MOSOP-UK Contacts: Harrison Neenwi & Gbenewa Phido
LAWSUIT AGAINST SHELL FOR HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN NIGERIA TO PROCEED
Press Release, March 5th, 2002
New York -- A U.S. Federal Court has ruled that a civil lawsuit charging multinational oil giant Shell with complicity in human rights violations will go forward. The ruling in Wiwa v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. by Judge Kimba Wood held that Shell Transport and Trading Company and Royal Dutch Petroleum Company can be held liable in the U.S. for cooperating in the persecution and execution of environmental activists in Nigeria.
‘This ruling means that the families of Ken Saro-Wiwa and his Ogoni colleagues may yet get some measure of justice for the unlawful executions and other abuses in which Shell was complicit,’ said Richard Herz, an attorney with EarthRights International, a non-profit group that is co-counsel in the case. ‘More broadly, it sends a strong message to other multinational companies that they cannot participate in egregious human rights abuses with impunity.’
Despite widespread international protest, noted Nigerian environmentalist and writer Ken Saro-Wiwa, youth leader John Kpuinen and seven other Ogoni activists were hanged by the Nigerian military government on November 10, 1995. The ‘Ogoni Nine’ had opposed Shell's pollution and oil development in the Niger Delta. In his last statement to the military tribunal that sentenced him to death, Saro-Wiwa said ‘Shell is here on trial. The Company has, indeed, ducked this particular trial, but its day will surely come.’
Fulfilling this prophecy, the court refused to dismiss the lawsuit brought by surviving relatives of Saro-Wiwa and Kpuinen, which alleges that Shell played a role in the execution of the two men as well as other violations. The court also refused to dismiss similar claims against Brian Anderson, the former head of Shell's Nigerian subsidiary, and claims by an additional plaintiff, who remains anonymous for her safety, alleging that she was beaten and shot while peacefully protesting bulldozing of her land by Shell.
In denying Shell's motion to dismiss the case, the court found that the alleged actions of Shell and Anderson constituted participation in crimes against humanity, torture, summary execution, arbitrary detention, and other violations of international law. The court also found that Anderson could be sued under the Torture Victim Protection Act, which allows victims of torture to sue the perpetrators in federal court.
Finally, the ruling allows the plaintiffs' claims under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act to proceed, finding that plaintiffs' allegations that Shell acted in concert with the Nigerian military would constitute racketeering. The case now proceeds to discovery, where plaintiffs will have the opportunity to interview Anderson and other Shell employees, and to review their documents.
The plaintiffs are represented by New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), Washington D.C.-based EarthRights International, Seattle University law professor Julie Shapiro, and Paul Hoffman. Judith Chomsky, a CCR Cooperating Attorney, commented today, ‘Shell had direct involvement in human rights violations against the Ogoni people. Any company that profits from crimes against humanity should be brought to justice wherever they are. When they do business in the U.S., they should be made to answer for their actions in U.S. courts.’ CCR attorney Jennie Green added, ‘Human rights law doesn't apply only to governments and individuals; multinational corporations also must be held accountable when they violate such fundamental international legal principles.’
Sources: Richard Herz (202) 466-5188 ext. 4; Marco Simons (202) 466-5188 ext. 5 EarthRights International, www.earthrights.org
Nigeria Sets $176 Million Fine for Oil Spills
March 4, 2002
ABUJA - Nigeria said oil tankers or production companies responsible for oil spills in its territorial waters could face a fine of up to $176 million.
‘From now on should there be an oil tanker spill within our territorial waters, the sum of $176 million is the maximum amount payable as damage,’ Transport Minister Ojo Maduekwe announced at a news conference.
‘This action is taken in our vital national interest to safeguard the nation from oil spillage and pollution,’ Maduekwe said.
The measure applied to oil tanker owners and oil companies producing Nigeria's two million barrels per day of crude in the creeks of the Niger Delta and offshore, he said
Oil spills from burst pipelines are common in the Niger Delta but spills from oil tankers are rare. A spokeswoman for the Department of Petroleum Resources which monitors oil spills, said no data was immediately available on the number of oil spills in Nigeria.
Five oil multinationals led by Royal Dutch/Shell are the dominant players in Nigeria, producing oil in joint venture with state-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. The other four are ExxonMobil, ChevronTexaco, TotalFinaElf and Agip.
Review: Oil in Nigeria: Conflict and Litigation Between Oil Companies and Village Communities
OilWatch Resistance Bulletin 27, April 2002
By Jedrzej Georg Frynas
Excerpt from back cover:
This well-researched book on the oil industry in Nigeria deals with the major consequences of foreign oil operations in village communities. The study, which has been developed out of a doctoral thesis at the University of St. Andrew's (UK), gives a comprehensive overview of conflicts between oil companies and village communities, which have so far been little understood. In addition, a wide range of background data is presented on oil companies, their conflicts with village communities and government policy in Nigeria, including statistical tables, which allow for the book to be used as a reference for scholars and non-scholars alike.
The book describes the interaction between oil companies and village communities, discusses the economic, social and legal problems that can be encountered in this context and derives important conclusions regarding the involvement of multinational companies in developing countries. With the help of a large number of court cases, it uses a new approach to illustrate the social and environmental impact of multinational companies. Using exemplary cases from Nigerian courts on topics such as oil spills and compensation payments for land acquisition, the book demonstrates how legal materials can be used to understand conflicts between multinational companies and indigenous people. The court cases deal with large multinational companies such as Shell as well as smaller oil company sub-contractors such as Seismograph Services, and provide a wealth of information on issues such as land conflicts, loss of property and life, as well as oil company compensation efforts. This information is supplemented by some recent political inside material related to Shell's Nigerian operations. Written in an accessible style, this study makes difficult topics such as seismic study or communal land rights east to understand.
CHEVRON SIGNS DEAL FOR $1.3 BLN NIGERIA GAS PLANT
LAGOS April 18, 2002 (Reuters) -- ChevronTexaco said yesterday it had signed with its Nigerian joint venture partner technology agreements marking the start of work on its $1.3 billion Escravos Gas to Liquids plant.
Chevron and partner Nigerian National Petroleum Corp (NNPC) signed the deal with SasolChevron Holdings Ltd, the technology licensor, in Abuja this week, a Chevron statement said.
The project marks the biggest technology cooperation between Nigeria and South Africa, the continent's two most important economies with growing business ties.
The state-of-the-art Slurry Phase Distillate process developed by Sasol of South Africa will be used in the facility, integrated with Chevron's own technology.
‘These agreements will formally initiate the Engineering, Procurement and Construction phase of the project and put the EGTL (Escravos Gas to Liquids) project, valued at $1.3 billion on track towards completion by mid-2006,’ it said.
When completed, the facility will propel Nigeria into the select group of the world's leading countries in GTL production, with output of 34,000 barrels per day of premium GTL fuel, naphtha and liquified petroleum gas for export.
Story by John Chiahemen, REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
CHEVRON RECORDS ANOTHER SPILL IN ILAJE, ONDO STATE
Sources: ERA ALERT. MAY 8, 2002
A huge crude oil spill has occurred at Chevron's Wells A and B located between Ojumole and Ikorigho communities. The spill has been on for over 5 days now. Chevron has ensured that local people and environmental monitors are denied access to the area by using the dreaded Mobile Police to seal off the area.
Niger Delta Development Commission (N.D.D.C.) officials led by its state commissioner, Honourable Olusola Oke paid a brief visit to the scene yesterday.
Ojumole community, located in Ilaje local government area of Ondo State, is host to Chevron Nigeria Limited and has recorded series of oil spills in the past.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
1. Write a letter to Chevron asking them to immediately clean up the spill and pay compensation to the affected communities
2. Support the Ilaje Communities' struggle against Chevron's unwholesome environmental practices.
3. Write to your legislators/senators and also to local/international groups concerned with environmental protection, and request them to take keener interest in environmental issues and also to remind CHEVRON of their obligations to the people.
REVIEW: PETROLEUM AND STRUCTURAL CHANGE IN A DEVELOPING COUNTRY: THE CASE OF NIGERIA
By: Peter O. Olayiwola
OilWatch Resistance News 29, June 2002
This work explores problems in national development in the Third World using Nigeria during the petroleum boom as a case study. The book explores how historical, political, ideological, economic, social, and cultural factors affected Nigeria's development and policies. Special attention is devoted to the development paradigms that influenced Nigerian development thinking, the national planning apparatus, nationalist ideology, and the role of world market and multinational corporations.
Petroleum and Structural Change in a Developing Country concludes that Nigeria has experienced growth without change and that unless structural change is implemented, real development will remain elusive.
Shell's two million barrel-capacity Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel is one of the monsters rearing its heads in our waters. It saves money for the oil moguls and tightens the noose around our necks. This particular FPSO will pose special dangers.
As a preliminary consideration, think what could happen if the recent Supreme Court judgment stands and the Niger Delta people see that they have no stake in offshore oil. Think about it. Would that facility be safe? How would it be protected?
Would it have a battalion of soldiers stationed on it? (I know there will be a cantonment on it). Should anything happen to this monster, no matter how small a leakage, an environmental catastrophe will be on our hands. If a more serious accident happens, our continental shelf will be highly threatened.
It is interesting that oil activities are shifting offshore. But this Shell's FPSO has no rival in size and capacity. The nearest to it (in sheer monstrosity) in African waters may be the Congolese off-shore N'Kossa concrete barge ever built. This barge measures 200 metres by 36 metres and is 16 metres deep. This concrete monster weighs 110,000 tons.
While our National Assembly members are busy squabbling over who gets what contract, we hear nothing about the EIA on the project. Onshore oil/gas exploitation has predictably generated conflicts due to the brazen disregard of social and environmental concerns and today, the Trans National Corporations (TNCs) are literally heading offshore so that they may well do as they please.
Offshore is attractive for many reasons among which is that TNCs´ activities are removed from the immediate view of local communities.
Less needs to be spent on requirements of good neighbourliness. Once out in the seas, TNCs claim they have no neighbours. No stakeholders.
Toxic wastes can be dumped into deep waters with less resistance or need for environmental accountability. More than 6,000,000 metric tons of crude oil is leaked into the world's continental shelf each year. The mother of them all is in the making here.
Not one oil spill has ever been adequately cleaned up in the Niger Delta. Not one. Rivers and forests have been set on fire in attempts to remove spills. By far the more popular method has been skimming the crude off the water surface. That only begins to be effective in calm waters. Not in locations far out into troubled waters.
Fisheries and other marine life will be gravely impacted. Some species may be completely wiped out. Crude oil spills block off sunlight from penetrating into the waters and also decreases the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water.
The livelihood of our people will be negatively impacted.
Some impacts may be more insidious and less readily noticed.
Human rights abuses can thrive here with no witnesses.
No one knows the full, long-term impacts of this facility.
These are not speculations but the stark reality. With a Federal Government that believes that there can be extractive business without stakeholders, Shell will not only make a financial kill; it will literally kill our environment. ERA is absolutely opposed to this project.
Executive Director, Environmental Rights Action - Nigeria
IJAW, OGONI ACCUSE GOVERNMENT OF BETRAYAL
Ijaw and Ogoni in the Niger Delta have vowed to resist Federal Government's new policy thrust to focus more on oil exploitation and production in the offshore fields rather than on-shore where over 70 per cent of existing oil output is done. Accusing the Federal Government to have connived with oil companies to begin accelerated development of offshore fields, the two ethnic nationalities claimed that it was a careful way to abdicate the responsibility of developing the Niger Delta region by the government.
On June 28, 2002, SPDC's pipeline located at an area in the community of the rural Ikata peoples called Akbor ruptured and spewed large quantity of crude oil into the communities sources of water; lakes, rivers and farmlands.
The Paramount Ruler of the community, Chief ThankGod Ozor, 49 years old, and father of 8 children who is concerned about the devastation of the community environment and its effect on the rural economy, spoke to ERA Field Monitor:
‘This crude oil spill occurred on the 28th of June, 2002, we noticed it when our women who were going to their farms that morning returned to my palace to report that their cassava, and yam farmlands are covered with crude oil. I summoned my council of elders, women and youths of my community and told them to be calm that Shell is coming to clean the spill. After then, we invited Shell; they came and repaired their leaking pipeline, but did not clean the spill. Our lakes and rivers which are our only source of drinking water are covered with crude oil. We are still pleading with Shell to clean up the spills in our rivers, lakes and farmlands. This is not the first time this kind of a thing is happening. In 1983 at Agbeupa area and in 1996 at Isioku area in our community, their pipelines spilled crude oil too, and destroyed our farmlands. This time around we are not prepared to accept Shell's claim that we sabotaged their pipeline. They only told us that we can't prove it. They have been doing that. They don't ever compensate us for the damage done to our rivers, lakes and farmlands.’
ERA investigations revealed that since 1964 when Shell started its operation in the community, the facilities and pipelines have not been changed or replaced. But Shell's officials visited the community with armed mobile policemen to intimidate local folks. Since this incident occurred Shell has not cleaned the spill and has even refused to accept responsibility for the spill and the resultant destruction of sources of livelihood.
ABOUT THE COMMUNITY AND PEOPLES (Patrick Naagbanton September 27, 2002)
Ikata is a relatively big rural settlement in the Ekpeye ethnic nationality in the Niger Delta (administratively located in the Ahoada-East Local Government Area, Rivers State, Nigeria). The population of the community is about 3,600. Subsistence agriculture and fishing are the major occupations of the people. Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) started its oil activities in the community in 1964.
ENVIRONMENTAL RIGHTS ACTION/ FRIENDS OF THE EARTH Nigeria) #214, Uselu-Lagos Road, P. O. Box 10577, Benin City, Nigeria. Tel/Fax: + 234 52 600165 E-mail: email@example.com
WARRI, Nigeria (Reuters) - France's TotalFinaElf shut its oil production facilities in Nigeria's western delta and evacuated workers on Saturday because of spiralling tribal unrest in the area, company officials said.
"We decided to shut our production and evacuate the area because of the deteriorating situation," a company official said in Lagos.
In the same region, other workers were stranded in a major ChevronTexaco oil export terminal as angry villagers prevented them from leaving, industry sources said.
The leaders of the Ijaw ethnic community, which has been clashing with the army since Thursday, raised their death toll estimates from 14 to 58, all allegedly killed in army raids on villages.
At least 55 others have died, including 10 soldiers, in the political and ethnic violence, according to community leaders and security sources.
A Reuters correspondent saw a helicopter land in the oil city of Warri, bringing the first group of workers fleeing fighting in oilfields around the Escravos export terminal.
The group was accompanied by armed soldiers.
Company officials said the helicopters were ferrying frightened worker from the Opumami tank farm, the French oil firm's most important facility in the Obodo district where it produces just 7,500 barrels per day of crude.
But there was no immediate official confirmation that militants had set fire to part of the tank farm.
"We are still getting reports from the area. We are following the situation," the Lagos-based official said. A surge in ethnic conflict in the Nigerian delta has forced oil majors Shell and ChevronTexaco to shut down their operations.
The two companies, which have declared force majeure on some export commitments, say they are losing a total of 315,000 bpd of crude, or 16 percent of Nigeria's output.
The Niger Delta, which accounts for most of Nigeria's just over two million bpd crude output, has been on the boil for years, with oil multinationals getting caught in a deadly struggle for oil benefits by local ethnic groups.
The latest flare-up pits ethnic Itsekiri against the Ijaw, who are spearheading a campaign in the delta for a greater share of Nigeria's oil wealth. The increasingly violent campaign has added to nationwide political unrest threatening the country's national elections next month.
Scores of people, including 10 soldiers quelling unrest, have died in the past one-week alone.
Nationwide, well over 10,000 people have died in ethnic, religious and political violence since President Olusegun Obasanjo's election in 1999 ended 15 years of military dictatorship.
The unrest is raising fears over a series of elections, including a presidential poll on April 19. Disruption to key oil exports could add economic hardship to the political crisis.
A source at an oil contracting company in Warri town said villagers were preventing her firm's employees from leaving ChevronTexaco's Escravos export terminal.
"Our staffs are stuck there. They said they have no way have getting out from there. They said they are just living by God's will," she said, adding that Ijaw youths were shouting threats at those behind the terminal's fences.
"They came toward them, shouting that they will kill them because Chevron has invited the police to fight them," she said.
ChevronTexaco denied requesting any action on the part of the police or the army. Company spokesman Sola Omole said in Lagos there was an "uneasy calm" around the terminal.
Port agent GAC said on Friday that the 340,000 bpd Escravos export terminal was expected to close on Saturday after the army ordered its evacuation, but Omole said the only evacuation so far had been of villagers sheltering there from the unrest.
SOURCE: OilResistance-Africa information & strategies to support African oil struggles
NLNG DESTROYS MANGROVE FOREST IN THE NIGER DELTA AGAIN
From Oilwatch Resistance Bulletin #38, May 2003
Bonny Kingdom, a calm island situated at the southern edge of Rivers State in the Niger Delta of Nigeria, since the early 90s when the Federal Government of Nigeria in Collaboration with its international partners started the multi-billion dollar project, Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) had known no peace.
There are complex social and ecological problems associated with the project. The rural community of the Ijaw ethnic nationality is currently under severe and serious threat. Over 6,000 local residents are being affected by the clearing of 35 ha. of mangrove forest with more mangrove destruction from the controversial gas line project forthcoming.
The latest threat to the people is coming from NLNG. The company with its consortium of International partners have just resumed the mindless and wanton destruction of a large expanse of virgin mangrove forest located in the area. Wilbros (American), Sodexho Nigeria (French) and Daewoo (South Korea) are contractors (or partners) undertaking the plundering of the environment of the people.
Bonny people had protested against the devastation, but the act is done under the watchful eyes of heavily armed security operatives. The firms are contracting access canal for pipelines to connect oil and gas from other oil fields in other parts of the Niger Delta to the NLNG plant.
Please help stop further destruction of mangrove forest in Niger Delta; write letters of concern to the following government official:
The Rivers State Ministry Of Environment and Natural Resources First floor, Podium block, Secretariate complex, P.M. B. 5544, TEL; 234-84-238238 FAX; 234-84-234460 E-Mail; firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information, contact - email@example.com
MESSAGE IN SOLIDARITY WITH COMMUNITIES IN THE NIGER DELTA REGION, NIGERIA SUBMITTED AT A PUBLIC FORUM ORGANISED BY ERA IN COLLABORATION WITH TWN-AFRICA AT OLOIBIRI
SEPTEMBER 7TH, 2006
We, communities affected by mining, oil and gas, citizens’ organisations, NGOs, and academics from Cameroon, Congo Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Zambia and Zimbabwe participating in a Pan-African seminar on communities affected by mining organised by Third World Network-Africa (TWN-Af) in collaboration with Oilwatch Africa Network/Environmental Rights Action, Community Defence Law Foundation and Gulf of Guinea Citizens Network from September 4-6th 2006, Port Harcourt, Nigeria;
Having thoroughly discussed the impacts and implications of the renewed mining, oil and gas boom on communities affected by these activities in Africa, and the consequent developmental challenges of mineral and petroleum endowed African countries;
Aware of the vast oil potentials of the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria and the opportunities such potentials present for transforming the social and economic conditions of the people into building their productive capacity and improving quality of lives;
Noting the long experience of oil and gas exploitation in Nigeria, and in the specific case of Oloibiri dating back to a period of 50 years; Having witnessed the visible and huge destructions caused by the activities of transnational oil and gas companies to the environment and livelihood sources of people living in communities located in areas of oil/gas extraction projects;
Agitated by the lack of social and economic infrastructures as well as the apparent high level of poverty measured against the huge revenues accruing to the Federal and State Governments, and oil and gas companies over the past decades;
Concerned about the high level of unemployment, repeated cases of State and corporate repression against communities in the Niger Delta, constant gas flaring and general environmental pollution;
Mindful of the fact that these problems are not peculiar to the Niger Delta in Nigeria alone but also manifest in several communities living in areas of extractive activities in particular mining, oil, gas, fisheries and timber across the continent of Africa;
Disturbed about the relationship in which governments, national elites, transnational companies and their home governments together with International Financial Institutions (IFIs) like IMF and World Bank line up in opposition to the legitimate concerns and interest of citizens and people directly affected by extractive activities;
Confident that community self-determination and the popular will of the people shall prevail over the ruthless exploitative tendencies of governments and their conspirators;
Do express our unflinching solidarity with the people, communities and legitimate struggles in the Niger Delta and Nigeria in general; We do also call on:
I Governments to:
Restore the dignity and respect of people in the oil rich Niger Delta, and all communities affected by mining/oil activities across the continent by ensuring community access to benefits of mining/oil and gas as well as their resources in particular land, fresh water, clean and diversified environment, and cultural heritage.
Put the rights of communities and people as a whole first before the interests of transnational mining/oil companies.
Cease forthwith any further repression of communities that express dissenting views and engage in legitimate struggles.
Re-think and revision national mining and oil laws to; provide for the rights of communities and mechanisms for maximising the net benefits of oil and mineral wealth to communities and national economies.
Allow the evolution of processes that legitimise communities and traditional systems in decision-making regarding resource extraction, ownership, control and use.
Ensure environmental protection standards with clear powers of enforcement and adequate institutional delivery capacity for effective compliance enforcement and pollution abatement throughout the life cycle of extractive projects.
Through national legislative institutions include corporate criminal liability in domestic legal systems. Through this system, it would be possible to impose stringent enforcement orders on transnational mining/oil companies.
II Oil/Mining Companies to
Respect the rights, culture, values, interest and concerns of people living in communities they operate
Obey the national laws and comply with internationally recognised human rights norms and standards
Cease forthwith any further repression against communities and advocacy groups
III Home governments of Transnational Mining Companies to:
Regulate the operations of Transnational Oil and Mining companies in Africa according to international human rights norms and standards.
IV Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to:
Pressure all actors in the mining, oil and gas sectors in particular the Governments and companies to ensure that the processes of resource extraction is translated into building the productive capacities of national economies in manners that guarantee human and peoples rights and environmental sustainability.
Work together in solidarity with communities and people affected by mining and oil activities to promote community interest, environmental sustainability and national economic development.
V. Endorsed by
Jose Nguema Oyana Equatorial Guinea Agnes Ebo’o, Cameroon, Citizens Governance Initiative/Gulf of Guinea Citizens Network Dieudonne Serge Mounthou, Republic of Congo, Commission Diocesaine Justice et Paix Mme. Mambou Aimee Gnali, Republic of Congo, Collectif des Originaires du Kouilou Augustin MPOYI MBUNGA, D. R. Congo , AVOCATS VERTS (Avocats africains pour la protection de l'environnement et la défense des droits comunautaires) Hon Augustino Nestory Sasi, Tanzania Thabo Madihlaba, Environmental Justice Networking Forum, Johannesburg, South Africa Mr. Tumai Murombo ,South Africa, Oliver Schreiner School of Law George Tshenolo Ramorula, South Africa Peter Sinkamba, Zambia, Citizens for a Better Environment Nelson Kaluba, Zambia, Community Rep. Dr Kakoma Maseka, Zambia, Copperbelt University, Kitwe Makanatsa Makonese, Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association, Harare, Zimbabwe Sena Alouka, JVE Togo, Lome, Togo Mustapha Thomas, Sierra Leone, Fourah Bay College, Freetown, Sierra Leone Mary Durran, Canada, Development and Peace, Montreal, Canada Benjamin Annan, Ghana Telecom, Obuasi Exchange, Obuasi Richard Adjei-Poku, Ghana, Accra Thomas Akabzaa, Ghana, Third Word Network-Africa Lindlyn Tamufor, Ghana Abdulai Darimani, Ghana Dr. Ben Naanen, Nigeria, University of Port Harcourt Dr. Lemmy Owugah, Nigeria, University of Uyo Nankin Bagudu, Nigeria, League for Human Rights, Jos Nnimmo Bassey, Nigeria, Environmental Rights Action Asume Isaac Osuoka, Nigeria, ERA/Oilwatch Africa Oronto Douglas, Nigeria, ERA/Community Defence Law Foundation, Port Harcourt Anyakwee Nsirimovu, Nigeria, Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (IHRHL), Port Harcourt Patterson Ogon, Nigeria, Ijaw Council for Human Rights Dr. Sofiri Peterside, Nigeria, Centre for Advanced Social Science, Port Harcourt Hon. Uche Onyeagucha, Nigeria, National Assembly, Abuja Emem Okon, Nigeria, Niger Delta Women for Justice Patrick Naagbanton, Nigeria, CEHRD, Port Harcourt Che Ibegwura, Nigeria, Egi Ethnic Coalition Chidi Odinkalu, Nigeria, Open Society Justice Initiative Chido Onumah, Nigeria, Social Action/Gulf of Guinea Citizens Network Elias Courson, Nigeria, Community Defence Law Foundation
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