Friday, February 03, 2006

Shell's obscenity

Shell's £13 billion record profits have been called by some 'not enough'. What does this mean?

The Low Carbon Kid says it means The Chancellor and pension groups are relying too much on oil companies to provide their bread and butter.

It means that even this level of profit is not resulting in significant new oil finds and 'peak oil' is getting nearer.

It means that the Ogoni tribe in Nigeria where Shell is in dispute with villages near the field where its oil workers were kidnapped last month will be sick with rage and frustration.

According to Keith Myers, an expert in African oil and gas exploration at Chatham House, "The value of that oil is about 80 cents a day for every Nigerian."

Shell has consistently refused to clean up the vast environmental destruction it has caused there, stop the violence, or take any responsibility for the social, cultural and environmental damage its oil extraction has brought.

Nnimmo Bassey, of the Nigerian group Environmental Rights Action says of Shell. "We see a multinational corporation that has no respect for the rule of law, but who at every turn loves to characterise local people as vandals and saboteurs."

"It's astonishing that Shell has not complied with this court order preventing it from continuing gross violations of human rights," added Peter Roderick of the international organisation Climate Justice. Shell is facing contempt of court proceedings in Nigeria over gas flaring. Flaring creates awful local pollution and health problems, and is inherently wasteful of a resource which could bring income to local communities and perhaps the biggest source of carbon emissions in Africa. There are regular spillages of oil and accidental fires. Waterways are polluted with oil slicks.

Shell has just announced one single contribution to the local community. It is to fund 70% of the cost of the construction of a road with 10 bridges into the area.

So the army and robber barons can get in and out faster with less risk of being kidnapped perhaps.

>> Nigeria's Environmental Rights Action report on Shell's activities '10 Years After Ken Saro Wiwa' [2.5MB PDF download].

No comments: