Shell suffers another setback as gunmen hack staff to death

Not too long after Shell suffered major defeat in the court over oil spillage, a set of gunmen have killed a police officer and six of the oil giant’s employees.

Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s Nigerian unit recently agreed to pay a local community $111 million to resolve a long-running dispute over an oil spill that occurred more than half a century ago.

The Anglo-Dutch energy giant will pay the Ejama-Ebubu people N45.7 billion ($111 million) in compensation to end a legal case that began in 1991, the community’s lawyer, Lucius Nwosu, said by phone. Shell approached a Nigerian court on Wednesday to disclose the development, he said.

Again this week, gunmen killed a police officer and six employees of a Nigerian oil and gas services contractor during an attack on buses transporting workers to a Shell project site in the southeastern state of Imo, police said.

Attacks on oil and gas facilities have long been a problem in Nigeria, where the multi-billion dollar industry sits alongside impoverished communities that have seen little benefit from it. In this case, the motive was unclear.

The Nigerian arm of Shell, SPDC, confirmed that unknown gunmen had attacked a convoy of buses taking staff of its contractor, Lee Engineering, to its Assa North Gas development project site in the Ohaji area of Imo State on Monday morning.

“We have since shut down the project site while the incident has been reported to the police for investigation. SPDC is working with the contractor and supporting the police through a thorough investigation of the incident and to prevent a recurrence,” it said in a statement.

The oil company is apparently not happy with happenings. They think the recently PIB may even make the Niger-Delta more volatile. So, Royal Dutch Shell has engaged Standard Chartered to shop for local investors to buy some of its onshore assets as the oil major blames insecurity, poor government engagement and the recently passed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) for pushing them out of Nigeria.

According to Shell the Nigerian Niger Delta businesses are for now not core to it’s on- going business strategy worldwide.

Shell first announced its plans to scale down its Nigerian onshore interests during its annual general meeting in May this year when the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Shell Ben van Buerden said. that the company is reviewing some of its global operations.

“We have been reviewing positions that continue to be challenged from an environmental perspective … and a particular point of attention has been onshore oil in Nigeria” Buerden had said.

Imo State police spokesman Michael Abattam said efforts were ongoing to arrest the perpetrators.