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Shell Nigeria Employees Vandalize Oil Pipelines

Employees of Shell’s Nigeria subsidiary SPDC ordered the deliberate vandalization of oil pipelines to profit from them, according to a Dutch TV documentary, done in partnership with environmentalist organization Milieudefensie.

Aljazeera reports that the program, to be aired today, cites witnesses who said pipeline leaks were caused by SPDC employees.

“According to sources, Shell employees profit from these intentional oil leaks by pocketing money from clean up budgets,” the program, Zembla, said.

The report is a result of an 18-month investigation conducted by Milieudefensie and verified by Zembla, the company that produces the program said.

“According to Shell, 95% of the leaks are a result of sabotage. The oil company denies any responsibility for these. The perpetrators of these leaks are said to be local criminals and organized gangs. Now, Shell employees themselves are accused of being a part of a perverse industry of deliberate leakage. Zembla verified all of this and interviewed the sources on camera,” the producing company, BNNVARA said.

“Shell employees persuade local youths to vandalize the pipelines. If a cleanup is necessary, these same youths are then hired to perform it,” one resident of a Niger Delta community told Zembla. “And then they split the money from the cleanup. The recovery department from Shell sabotages the pipelines. If the cleanup will take seven months, they’ll stop after only three months.” 

Shell and SPDC have said they were not aware of any involvement of their employees in pipeline vandalization.

“As of now, we are not aware of any staff or contractor having been involved in acts causing oil spills in the Niger Delta,” the Nigerian subsidiary told Reuters.

The Nigerian National Oil Corporation reported in January this year there had been more than 45,300 oil pipeline breaches between 2001 and the middle of 2019.

“Unfortunately, the combination of crude oil theft, illegal refining and pipeline vandalism, has become a major threat to Nigeria in meeting its revenue projections in recent time,” NNPC’s managing director, Mele Kyari, said at the time.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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