A Plan by Shell to Sell off a Nigerian Subsidiary Raises Brows

The company this week said it wants to sell off its onshore Nigerian subsidiary, the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) in a deal worth $2.4 billion.

It named the buyers as Renaissance, a consortium comprised of four Nigeria-based exploration and production companies and an international energy group. The deal is still subject to Nigerian government approval.

Shell said it would not completely exit Nigeria. Some local activists told DW that they regard Shell’s onshore divestment plan as a bid to avoid taking responsibility for damage and pollution in Nigeria.

“They are running away from the atrocities and also the damages they have caused the people and the environment and are trying to run away from it in a way of evading to pay a compensation or evading justice from the community,” said Kentebe Ebiarado of Environmental Rights Action, a national environmental and human rights advocacy NGO.

Other multinational companies with operations in Nigeria are divesting for similar reasons, Ebiarado added. Shell pioneered Nigeria’s oil and gas business in the 1930s.

Oil spills, which the company blames on many factors including theft, sabotage, and operational issues, have occurred ever since.

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