SWITZERLAND, FEBRUARY 11 – Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), the Nigerian subsidiary of oil giant, Royal Dutch Shell, has admitted to taking out huge amounts of crude oil from the country, unaccounted for.
Shell was recently accused of foul play in Nigeria. In December 2020, Dutch television documentary programme Zembla, together with Dutch environmentalist organisation Milieudefensie, reported in a documentary that “multiple witnesses declared that SPDC staff, had deliberately caused oil leaks to make money from subsequent clean-up initiatives. The findings of the Dutch activists were unveiled in an article on Aljazeera.
According to sources, Shell employees profit from these intentional oil leaks by pocketing money from clean up budgets,” Zembla said in a press release summarising an 18-month investigation of various leaks between 2010 and the present day.
Zembla added the SPDC, along with the Dutch embassy in Nigeria, were aware of the accusations but had failed to address them.
According to media reports, Shell is under-reporting the volume of crude oil it takes out of Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger Delta and short-changing the federal government and people of Nigeria in the process.
A recent media report quoting two authoritative government sources familiar with the development said that Shell admitted to the discrepancy following a lengthy probe by industry regulator, the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, into the volumes of crude oil it reported to the agency that it lifted between 2016 and 2018.
The sources further said that the DPR had become suspicious of Shell’s reporting and opened an independent investigation into its metering system on the Trans Niger Pipeline (TNP), which it suspected to be “irregular, rigged and unapproved.”
Following pressures by the DPR and overwhelming evidence, according to the media report, Shell admitted to the infraction and pledged it would refund over 2 million barrels of crude oil to the federal government and pay a penalty for its sins.
“Shell has severally been accused of sharp practices in the Niger Delta where its operations are located in Nigeria. A few weeks ago, a news report indicted staffers of SPDC of orchestrating damages to crude oil pipelines so they can profit from funds expended on cleanup operations,” part of the report reads.
Note: This is a developing story. Stay connected to Today’s Echo for updates.