Tag Archives: Niger

Weekend Round-Up of Disaster and Disorder

14 Aug

Oil leak in North Sea confirmed by Shell

Oil giant Shell was accused of being secretive on Friday over an oil leak from one of its platforms in the North Sea off the coast of Scotland. Shell publicly reported the spill on Friday night, though it is understood that the company was alerted to a “light sheen” of oil on the surface of the water on Wednesday.

The company last night said it had “considerably reduced” the amount of oil leaking from the Gannet Alpha platform about 112 miles east of Aberdeen—but maintained a stony silence over how much was still escaping and how much had already escaped.  Read more about the spill here

Nigeria oil spills have created ecological disaster, Shell again at the forefront

After half a century of oil spills, Nigeria’s troubled Niger Delta is one of the most polluted places on Earth, and it could take $1 billion and 30 years to clean up the mess, according to a UN report released Thursday. Pollution from over 50 years of oil operations in the region has penetrated further and deeper than many may have supposed,” the report says. Some areas that seemed unaffected on the surface are severely contaminated underground and need urgent action to protect the health of fishing and farming communities, it says. The report puts pressure on Shell Petroleum Development Co., the major operator during the period, which has had a bitter relationship with communities. It produces about 40% of Nigeria’s oil in a joint venture with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corp.  Read more here

China orders petrochemical plant shutdown after protests

Chinese authorities have ordered a petrochemical plant to shut down immediately after tens of thousands of protesters marched through the streets of a nearby city, demanding the factory be relocated.

The demonstration in Dalian – one of the biggest in a series of recent Nimby rallies against potential polluters in China – was sparked by the news last week that a protective dike around the Fujia factory, in the Jinzhou industrial complex, had been breached by rain and high waves as typhoon Muifa approached.

In a rare concession the local Communist party chief, Tang Jun, and Dalian’s mayor, Li Wancai, promised to move the project out of the city, Xinhua reported.

The protesters demanded a clear timetable for moving the plant, with some refusing to leave until a plan was in place, the state-run news agency said.  Read more here

Niger Delta villagers go to the Hague to fight against oil giant Shell

6 Aug

Oil spill on the shores of the Niger Delta swamps of Bodo, a village in Niger's oil-producing Ogoniland. Photograph: Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP/Getty Images

By John Vidal

Excerpts below. To read full article go to source: Cross-posted from here

Goi is now a dead village. The two fish ponds, bakery and chicken farm that used to be the pride and joy of its chief deacon, Barrisa Tete Dooh, lie abandoned, covered in a thick black layer. The village’s fishing creek is contaminated; the school has been looted; the mangrove forests are coated in bitumen and everyone has left, refugees from a place blighted by the exploitation of the region’s most valuable asset: crude oil.

Last Thursday, a long-awaited and comprehensive UN study exposed the full horror of the pollution that the production of oil has brought to Ogoniland over the last 50 years.

The UN report showed that oil companies and the Nigerian government had not just failed to meet their own standards, but that the process of investigation, reporting and clean-up was deeply flawed in favour of the firms and against the victims. Spills in the US are responded to in minutes; in the Niger delta, which suffers more pollution each year than the Gulf of Mexico, it can take companies weeks or more.

Goi, 40 miles from Port Harcourt, is a typical case. Just a few miles from where Shell first found oil in Ogoniland in 1958, it is only 20 miles from Bane, the ancestral home of Ogoni writer and leader Ken Saro-Wiwa. People from Goi joined the great Ogoni protest march of 1994, when one in three people from the small kingdom of 900,000 rose peacefully against the company, preventing it from working any of its 30 wells in the area. Two years later, Saro-Wiwa and eight Ogoni leaders were tried on a fabricated murder charge and executed.

On Wednesday, Shell formally accepted responsibility in British law for two significant spills in nearby Bodo. Those were rare victories. More than 1,000 court cases have been taken against Shell for pollution in the last 30 years, but almost all are rejected, settled for a few dollars or remain mired in the legal system for years. Even when the courts rule against the company and fine it millions, it is possible for it to appeal, with legal delays draining communities of cash. One case against Shell taken by people in Goi is still in the courts after 14 years.

For full article go here

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