Amnesty International, has said that Shell Petroleum Development Company could face increasing litigation internationally over oil spills in Nigeria, where parts of the country had been badly polluted.
Shell’s Nigerian affiliate had not responded to requests for comment, it said, though it had long argued that the vast majority of spills in the country’s oil-producing Niger Delta were caused by sabotage.
The Niger Delta region is badly polluted from decades of oil spills, and those responsible have often not faced punishment.
“Large parts of the Niger Delta, home to more than 30 million people, have become a polluted wasteland due to the activities of oil companies,” Amnesty said in a statement in response to a report from specialists at the University of Essex, United Kingdom.
“Numerous oil spills have left local communities with little option but to drink polluted water, eat contaminated fish, farm on spoiled land, and breathe in air that reeks of oil and gas,” it added.
The report includes discussion of Shell’s potential liability over Nigerian oil spills and warns that it could face increasing litigation over such spills outside Nigeria, citing various legal trends.