Will this Oil Spill End Up Costing Shell Big?
In 2008, a pipeline in the Niger Delta owned by Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDSA)(NYSE:RDSB) burst and spilled 1,640 barrels of oil over a 72-day period, according to Shell’s official investigation. Ogoniland, where the oil spilled, is in the southeastern part of a delta on Africa’s Gulf of Guinea and is home to a fishing community of up to 31,000.
The amount of oil spilled in 2008 — just one of many major spills in the Niger Delta over the past several years — is a contested issue. Accufacts Inc., a U.S.-based research company, determined that between 1,440 barrels and 4,320 barrels flooded into the area around the community, centered in the town of Bodo, Nigeria. A separate report claims that real amount is between 103,000 barrels and 311,000 barrels.
“The difference is staggering,” commented Audrey Gaughran, director of global issues at Amnesty International, “even using the lower end of the Accufacts estimate, the volume of oil spilt at Bodo was more than 60 times the volume Shell has repeatedly claimed leaked.”