A Review of the Nigerian Energy Industry

Shell Nigeria must pay damages for oil spills – Dutch Court

30 January 2013, AFP, The Hague – A Dutch court has ruled that Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary must pay damages to the farmers and fishermen in one of their claims, relating to oil spills near the Niger Delta village of Ikot Ada Udo.

The court however rejected a bid by the group of Nigerian farmers to have Shell’s parent company held responsible for oil damage, saying only the subsidiary, Shell Nigeria was responsible for one oil leak.

The court “dismissed all claims against the parent companies… since pursuant to Nigerian law a parent company in principle is not obliged to prevent its subsidiaries from harming third parties abroad,” judge Henk Wien told the court.

Environmental groups had hoped that a ruling against Anglo-Dutch Shell, which is headquartered in the Netherlands, could set a precedent for global responsibility and open the door for hundreds of similar claims.

In ruling that Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary must pay damages to the farmers and fishermen in one of their claims, relating to oil spills near the Niger Delta village of Ikot Ada Udo, Judge Wien said: “Shell Nigeria has been sentenced to pay damages in one of the cases. All claims in the other four proceedings have been dismissed,” Wien said.

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