‘Shell attempting to avoid scrutiny over oil spill’, says lawyers

‘Shell attempting to avoid scrutiny over oil spill’, says lawyers

Lawyers representing more than 13,000 Nigerians argued at London’s High Court say Shell Plc is attempting to shield itself from scrutiny over pollution in the Niger Delta region.

Thousands of members of the Bille and Ogale communities are suing Shell and its Nigerian subsidiary SPDC over oil spills.

Shell strongly denies any liability and argues that parts of the cases were brought too late.

The oil giant says the majority of the spills were caused by illegal third-party interference, such as pipeline sabotage and oil theft.Shell is also asking the High Court to set an initial trial in early 2024 to decide whether parts of the case were brought too late and whether SPDC is liable for oil spills caused by third-party interference.The case, parts of which began back in 2015, has already been to the UK’s Supreme Court, which ruled in 2021 that there was an arguable case that Shell owed the claimants a duty of care.

In response to the trial, Shell spokesperson said in a statement: “We believe litigation does little to address the real problem in the Niger Delta: oil spills due to theft, illegal refining and sabotage, with which SPDC is constantly faced and which cause the most environmental damage.”

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