Finance24.com (South Africa): Shell may have to quit Nigeria: “Lagos - Even before last week's announcement that Shell will fail to meet its Nigerian oil export contracts this month because of local unrest, the troubled Anglo-Dutch energy giant's operations here were facing mounting pressure from critics ranging from lawmakers to guerrilla leaders.”: “The company "cannot ignore Niger Delta conflicts or its role in exacerbating these... The 'do-nothing' option is taken at (Shell's) peril," said the report, which was widely leaked to the media.” (ShellNews.net) Posted 27 Dec 04
Lagos - Even before last week's announcement that Shell will fail to meet its Nigerian oil export contracts this month because of local unrest, the troubled Anglo-Dutch energy giant's operations here were facing mounting pressure from critics ranging from lawmakers to guerrilla leaders.
The company faces fire from the Nigerian Senate, which has demanded that Shell pay $1.5bn in damages for polluting Niger Delta communities, and from its own local workers who are threatening to strike to oppose any job losses coming from a restructuring plan.
Meanwhile, protesters from a fishing community have forced the firm to halt production of 114 000 barrels of crude per day, and the leader of one of the most dangerous factions in the Delta's ceaseless political violence has warned that Shell's platforms may be attacked.
A confidential report which Shell commissioned from a team of conflict experts warned that the company might have to quit Nigeria - its largest oil producing zone - by the end of 2008 if it cannot disassociate itself from a conflict now estimated to cost 1 000 lives per year.
The company "cannot ignore Niger Delta conflicts or its role in exacerbating these... The 'do-nothing' option is taken at (Shell's) peril," said the report, which was widely leaked to the media.
On Thursday, Shell declared "force majeure", warning its clients that an ongoing dispute with ethnic Ijaw villagers from the Kula community which has shut down two oil flow stations would prevent it from honouring export contracts from its Bonny oil terminal.
On December 5, hundreds of protesters from Kula boarded two Shell stations trapping 75 workers on board and halting production in order to press their demands for investment in their community.
'Shell represents the evil of the Nigerian state'
The occupation ended two days later after government-brokered talks, but the incident has thrown the spotlight on the controversial relationship between Shell and the heavily armed soldiers and police which protect the firm's facilities.
"Shell allows the military to carry arms on their platforms. It's not done anywhere else in the world. It's against international safety standards," Alhaji Dokubo Asari, the leader of a separatist Ijaw ethnic militia, said earlier this month.
"Shell represents the evil of the Nigerian state. They are the mastermind of all the wrongs committed against us. They should pull out and go," he declared.
The managing director of Shell's Nigerian subsidiary, Basil Omiyi, said the company had no choice but to allow the government to post troops to oil facilities as the government had declared the industry of national strategic importance.
Nigeria is Africa's largest oil producer, exporting about 2.5 million barrels per day, and Shell accounts for around half its output.
The Gulf of Guinea fields account for about 15% of US supplies and the region is expected to grow rapidly as a source of both oil and natural gas.
But, four decades after the oil first started to flow, the minority tribes - Ijaw, Ekwere, Ogoni, Itsekiri and others - of the delta waterways still live in extreme poverty.
There is massive unemployment among young men and many villages lack such basic amenities as clean water and mains electricity.
Analysts say Shell can expect to find that 2005 will be another difficult year in Nigeria.
CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW TO VIEW THE RELEVANT LEAKED CONFIDENTIAL REPORT:
ShellNews.net: LEAKED SHELL CONFIDENTIAL INTERNAL REPORT ON SHELL’S ACTIVITIES IN NIGERIA BY WAC Global Services Dec 03: “PEACE AND SECURITY IN THE NIGER DELTA”.