After two decades of suspending its operations in the massively polluted Ogoniland in Rivers State following unrest, Shell on Thursday said it had launched a review of its oil and gas assets, resuming work in the area.
The Anglo-Dutch oil major said the move was not part of an attempt to restart oil production in Ogoniland, describing it instead as a bid to comply with a 2011 United Nations (UN) report that called for one of the world’s biggest ever environmental clean-ups, reports AFP.
“The intention is to determine the state of our facilities since we suspended operations in the area in 1993, and determine how best to decommission them”, Mutiu Sunmonu, managing director, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC), was quoted to have said in a statement.
Spokesman Precious Okolobo told AFP that the review was “a key step” in complying with the UN Environmental Programme report, which detailed the devastating impact that decades of oil pollution had brought to the area.
The report called for the oil industry and the Nigerian government to contribute $1 billion to a clean-up fund for the region, adding that restoration could take up to 30 years.
Okolobo said the company has sent community outreach staff to the region in recent years, but the review exercise marks the first time oil and gas workers have been to Ogoniland since the pull-out.
The firm still controls at least seven oil fields in the area, as well as flow stations, gas plants and pipelines, according to the SPDC statement.
FEMI ASU with agency report