Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Monday, November 11, 2013

Who is to blame?

Why is Amnesty International investigating this? Why not the state or national government? What are the political implications of the answers? Who is going to deal with the problem(s)? Why is there no "Co-ordinated action from the industry, government, security forces, civil society and others"? You don't think there's any corruption involved?

Nigeria oil firms 'deflect blame for spills', says Amnesty
Amnesty International has accused major oil companies, including Shell, of failing to report the true picture of oil spills in Nigeria.

Amnesty says oil companies often blame oil spills on sabotage in order to get out of paying compensation when in fact corroded pipes are the cause…
Niger Delta pollution

Shell said it "firmly rejects unsubstantiated assertions".

It highlighted the issue of theft of crude oil, which it said "remains the main cause of oil pollution in the Delta"…

Working with a local human rights group, Amnesty studied the oil spill investigation process in Nigeria over six months.

It claims there is "no legitimate basis" for the oil companies' claims that the vast majority of spills are caused by sabotage and theft.

Members of the local community together with oil company staff and government officials are supposed to investigate oil spills, but Amnesty calls this Joint Investigation Visit (JIV) process "wholly unreliable" because, it says, the companies themselves are the primary investigators and the process lacks transparency.

It says this means that both the causes and severity of oil spills may therefore be misrecorded, sometimes meaning affected communities miss out on compensation…

Shell said it "firmly rejects" the claims.

"We seek to bring greater transparency and independent oversight to the issue of oil spills, and will continue to find ways to enhance this."

It said the JIV process was a federal process the company could not unilaterally change.

Stolen oil, Shell said, costs Nigeria billions of dollars in lost revenue.

"Co-ordinated action from the industry, government, security forces, civil society and others is needed to end this criminality, which remains the main cause of oil pollution in the Delta today," Shell said…

Advocacy Group Tackles Oil Companies Over Spills

"In a report released on Thursday, Amnesty International attacks the multinational company, Shell, for too quickly attributing oil spills to sabotage and theft by outsiders. It also accused Agip, a subsidiary of Eni, of not properly controlling its activities…

"The report says: 'Shell has claimed that... oil spill investigations are sound when they are not, that sites are cleaned up when they are not, and that the company is transparent when, in reality, it maintains very tight control over every piece of information - deciding what to disclose and what to withhold.'

"In a press release accompanying the report, Amnesty acknowledges Shell has improved its investigations since 2011, but says 'serious flaws remain, including weaknesses in the underlying evidence used to attribute spills to sabotage.'…

"No response was immediately forthcoming from Shell Nigeria, but The Guardian in London reported the company's London office as rejecting what it called 'unsubstantiated assertions that [Shell Nigeria] have exaggerated the impact of crude oil theft and sabotage to distract attention from operational performance.'

Shell said it wanted 'greater transparency and independent oversight' in handling oil spills. It also said it could not unilaterally change the process of investigating spills, which also involved regulatory bodies, Nigeria's ministry of environment, the police, state government and local communities.

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