Shell Puts Niger Delta Offshore Drilling on Hold

Managing blowback from the BP oil spill is “job #1″ for Big Oil these days. International petro giant Shell , with headquarters in England and Wales and a significant refinery in Martinez, CA, has announced it will halt its Nigerian offshore oil drilling, while implementing a groundbreaking remediation plan for the Niger Delta.

Shell announced sweeping plans to clean up all areas of the Niger Delta where they operate, compensate local communities for past injuries, and institute a local stakeholders program that will contribute to lifting the region out of poverty.

“Recent events in the Gulf of Mexico demand change,” said Shell spokesperson Bernadette Hopma. “The expected hurricane of regulation and policy change across industry, resulting from the negligent practices by one pair of companies especially, means that all of us need to try to push harder in the interests of long-term survival. Shell will therefore distinguish ourselves by being the first oil company in history to cease taking risks with important delta ecosystems. The unique geology underlying these deltas have sustained our shareholders very well, but we must not let that kind of sustainability come at the the expense of the biodiversity, carbon absorption and O2 production that are their true worth.”

Shell’s plan includes:

– The immediate cessation of deepwater drilling off the coast of Nigeria until the conclusion of a full independent safety review by our local government partners with international oversight.

– The immediate cessation of gas flaring, with all open flares converted by 2012 into energy sources for tariffless local consumption.

– An investment of $8 billion by 2012 followed by $1 billion per annum for 10 years to attempt partial environmental restoration of the Niger Delta. The work force carrying out this mission will be 97% locally sourced and trained.

– A $45 million “truth and reconciliation process” fund to assess and award reparations for perceived injustices since 1958, when Shell first started commercially exporting oil from the region.

– The establishment of a $4 billion fund earmarked for compensation for perceived injustices.

– The establishment of a local stakeholder program that gives decision-making and veto capacity over new and ongoing projects to communities affected by Shell and SPDC projects worldwide, pending more formal control at the level of local government.

– A commitment to cap oil production at current levels until 2015, and then to gradually reduce production to 10 percent of current levels by 2050, while compensating for this reduction through the development of renewable energy sources.

“Shell is proud to be the first international petrochemical company to embark on a rehabilitation and compensation program of any significant scale,” said Shell spokesperson Bernadette Hopma. “The Gulf of Mexico gush has made CSR-ND especially timely.”

Source: Shell,May 18, 2010;

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