NIGERIA: Shell Contractors Arrested for Crude Theft

Contractors working for a Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSB) unit have been arrested in Nigeria as alleged accomplices in the theft of oil that led to a pipeline fire, according to a report by Dow Jones Newswire.

The Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) previously said the Trans-Niger Pipeline, which carries 150,000 barrels a day of oil through the Niger Delta to the Bonny terminal, was shut after a fire Wednesday caused by oil theft.

A spokesman for the Nigerian army's Joint Task Force said the army, upon arriving at the site of the fire, found eight people whom he said are employees of two contractors hired by SPDC to fix broken pipelines. He said they were arrested and “are helping our investigations as suspected accomplices.”

…….Criticised over Pipeline Sabotage Claims
Claims by Shell that sabotage is responsible for most oil spilt in Nigeria have come under fire. A Dutch agency found that the oil giant’s statements were based on disputed evidence and flawed investigations.

The National Contact Point (NCP), which was there to assess complaints about companies that abuse human rights and the environment made its statements in response to concerns raised by Amnesty International and Friends of the Earth International.

The organisations provided evidence of serious flaws in the system used by Shell for investigating oil spills, including video footage of a spill investigation in which several serious problems occurred. “Sabotage is a problem in Nigeria, but Shell exaggerates this issue to avoid criticism for its failure to prevent oil spills,” said Audrey Gaughran of Amnesty International.

“The oil companies are liable to pay compensation when spills are found to be their fault but not if the cause is attributed to sabotage – but it is effectively the company that investigates itself. This is clearly a system open to abuse and we have evidence that it has been abused.”

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