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Oil spills: Shell in talks with FG to divest onshore assets

BY Aderemi Ojekunle

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Royal Dutch Shell says it is in talks with the federal government to sell its onshore oil assets in Nigeria.

Ben van Beurden, chief executive officer of Shell, said this while speaking at the company’s annual general meeting on Tuesday.

He said the oil giant can no longer be exposed to the risk of theft and sabotage in the Niger Delta.

In January, a Dutch court ruled that the company pay for damages caused by oil spills in the Niger Delta region. Four farmers had sued Shell for oil spills that they say caused widespread pollution of the land.

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“We cannot solve community problems in the Niger Delta; that’s for the Nigerian government perhaps to solve. We can do our best, but at some point in time, we also have to conclude that this is an exposure that doesn’t fit with our risk appetite anymore,” he said.

“We’ve drawn that conclusion, and we’re now talking to the Nigerian government on the way forward.”

The Anglo-Dutch energy giant has been gradually selling its onshore assets for more than a decade in Nigeria

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Timipre Sylva, minister of state for petroleum resources, who confirmed the development said “the sides are considering a take over by the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC); acquisition by indigenous operators, and involving a mixture of local players and other foreign independent operators in the process.

“Shell has announced their intention to divest from their onshore assets and focus more on the offshore.

“We are actually in talks with them on how we are going to achieve it.”

 

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