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Shell under fresh pressure over reports of the size of its Niger Delta oil spills

…an independent investigation into how the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s guidelines are enforced found ‘discrepancies’ between Shell’s story and other accounts of the size and cause of spills… urged Shell to publish all investigations carried out prior to 2011, potentially exposing the company to multi-million pound lawsuits…

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By Rob Davies: PUBLISHED: 09:11, 19 June 2013

Royal Dutch Shell’s claims to be reducing the amount of oil it spills in Nigeria have been undermined by a report into how it publishes data on environmental disasters.

The Anglo-Dutch firm has been at pains to show that most spills in the Niger Delta are the result of thieves hacking into pipelines, a crime known as ‘bunkering’.

But an independent investigation into how the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s guidelines are enforced found ‘discrepancies’ between Shell’s story and other accounts of the size and cause of spills.

Holland’s National Contact Point for the OECD told the oil giant to ‘be prudent’ when publishing spill investigation data.

It also called on Shell to publish figures from before January 2011, when the company began putting information about leaks on its website.

And it repeated UN concerns that investigators are ‘at the mercy of the oil companies’ when assessing the size and severity of spills. The report follows a complaint by Friends of the Earth and

Amnesty International, which submitted evidence of spill investigations it said were heavily influenced by the company.

‘Shell has repeatedly stated operational spills are going down and sabotage is going up. This is all based on a process where the investigator is being investigated,’ said Audrey Gaughran, of Amnesty.

She called for more independent assessment to offset weakness in local regulation.

Shell has pointed to improvements in the way it reports spill information since 2011.

But Gaughran urged Shell to publish all investigations carried out prior to 2011, potentially exposing the company to multi-million pound lawsuits.

Shell (up 15p to 2118p) said that its Nigerian subsidiary SPDC ‘has been found to be in compliance with the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises’.

SOURCE

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