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Remediation Issues in the Niger Delta
In Shell in Nigeria, we operate in a way that reduces as far as possible the environmental impact of our activities. We
also look for ways to bring environmental and social benefits to the communities where we operate. The standards
and practices we use are similar to other Shell operations anywhere in the world. Where land is impacted by oil spills
despite the prevention systems in place, we clean up as quickly as possible and remediate the land.
The most significant environmental damage from oil and gas operations in the Niger Delta is through sabotage of facilities resulting in
oil spills. The spills are often made worse because communities sometimes deny access to verify the spill and stop the cause of the
leak. In the last five years some 70% of all oil spills have been the result of sabotage. Whatever the cause, SPDC is committed to
cleaning up spills and remediating the land. Once complete, the work is inspected, approved and certified by the joint government and
SPDC inspection team.
We have researched and adopted a technique for cleaning up oil spills that we believe to be the most effective for the soil and climate
conditions in the equatorial heat of the Niger Delta. We add nutrients that stimulate the natural microbes in the soil. These feed on the
oil and break it down. In 2008, we continued our programme to clean up and remediate oil spills that happened before 2005 –
completing seven more sites. By year-end we had completed 68 of the 74 outstanding pre-2005 spill sites.
Wherever possible, local communities take part in the remedial work on paid contracts and in a number of successful projects, local
youths have been employed in the clean up process. On the whole, our investigations show that complex soil and water pollution
problems are not present, but in some cases, we have found difficulty in assessing the condition of sites, because the local community
prevents access. It is in nobody's interest to leave these sites as they are. We have intensified our efforts at negotiation with local
communities so that we can gain access, clean up and remediate the land. We are also looking at involving local communities in
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