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NIGER DELTA OIL SPILLS: DUTCH COURT RULES SHELL NIGERIA RESPONSIBLE

01.02.2021
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Oil giant Shell's Nigerian subsidiary is responsible for oil pipeline leaks in the Niger Delta, a Dutch appeals court has ruled.

It was ordered to pay unspecified damages to farmers who have long complained of the poisoning of fish ponds and farmland.

The decision - in a long-running legal dispute between Royal Dutch Shell (commonly known as Shell) and Nigerian farmers - could pave the way for more cases against the Anglo-Dutch energy company.

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It follows a landmark case brought by farmers - supported by environmental campaigners from Friends of the Earth in the Netherlands and Nigeria - against Shell in 2013 in a lower court.

Then, the Dutch Hague Civil Court rejected complaints by four farmers and backed Shell's argument that the spills were caused by sabotage and not poor maintenance of its facilities.

But the court did order subsidiary Shell Nigeria to compensate one of the farmers for breach of duty of care by making it too easy for saboteurs to open an oil pipe.

The lawsuit was seen by activists as a test for holding multinational companies responsible for alleged offences at foreign subsidiaries.