Shell to challenge $5 bln fine from Nigeria image

Nigerian regulators are demanding Royal Dutch Shell pays $5 billion in fines for environmental damaged caused by an oil spill at its offshore Bonga field, one of the biggest in the history of Africa’s largest energy industry.

But the oil giant said it would challenge any attempt by the Federal Government to impose penalty on it for last December’s oil spill at the deep offshore field, Bonga.

“Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Co. will challenge any attempt to impose such a penalty,” Managing Director Chike Onyejekwe said today in an emailed statement.

“We deeply regret that this incident took place, but as a responsible operator and corporate citizen we responded to it professionally and effectively and that everything we did was in cooperation with the authorities and in compliance with the regulations. Also, we cleaned up a third party spill that impacted the shoreline” Shell said.

“We do not believe there is any basis in law for such a fine. Neither do we believe that SNEPCo (Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Co) has committed any infraction of Nigerian law to warrant such a fine,” said the oil company.

Oil spills are often onshore in Nigeria with many caused by sabotage or thieves tapping into easily accessible pipelines. Several communities have taken Shell to court over a failure to clean up spills.

A United National Environment Programme report last year said Shell was not doing enough to clean up spills and maintenance of the infrastructure was inadequate.

Bonga oilfield with a capacity of 200,000 barrels per day, is located some 120 kilometres (75 miles) off the coast of Nigeria.