11 April 2013, Lagos – The Royal Dutch Shell said, Wednesday, it had begun decommissioning of its facilities in Ogoni land in Rivers State and had no intention to secretly resume oil production in the area.
The company said in a statement issued by Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria, SPDC, that the decommissioning exercise would commence with an audit of its assets in the area.
Shell said the process began with bush clearing in the fourth quarter of last year, following series of engagements and consultations with the communities.
Shell had kept quiet about the decommissioning until now, and it is the first time Shell will be entering Ogoni land for any activity in about 20 years.
Shell’s action is also coming about two years after the United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP, recommendations, asking Shell to take urgent action with regard to the pollution of Ogoni land.
The August 2011 UNEP Report required Shell to conduct a comprehensive review of its assets in Ogoni land and develop a decommissioning plan.
Shell in its statement, said it has commenced an inventory of its assets in Ogoni land in line with the Report, saying that “The assets being identified include flowstations, compressor and gas plants and pipelines. Seven fields have so far been covered.”
Also commenting on the development, Mr. Mutiu Sunmonu, Managing Director and Country Chair, Shell Nigeria, clarified, “I wish to make clear that the exercise is not an attempt to secretly resume oil production in Ogoni land.
“The intention is to determine the state of our facilities since we suspended operations in the area in 1993, and determine how best to decommission them.
“We are grateful for the co-operation of local government councils and the communities, including traditional rulers, and are working to complete the exercise later this year.”
UNEP had in an independent scientific assessment in 2011, revealed that pollution from over 50 years of oil operations in the region has penetrated further and deeper than many may have supposed.