Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, Limited has declared full battle with host Rivers State, vowing to snatch back petroleum assets hosted in Oil Mining Lease, OML, 11 and Kidney Island in the state.
In its reaction to takeover of its interests in Kidney Island and OML 11 by Rivers State government, dismissed the asset takeover which the Rivers State government carried in the exercise of rights acquired through a court auction.
The company stated that it also challenging the court process that that led to the auction at the Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt.
Shell stated that it would not recognize such rights as conferred on the state government by a competent court of law in the country, stating that any such right acquired “through that process including any attempt to take over or seal up the Kidney Island asset or other assets of the SPDC JV to satisfy claims” is not recognized.
The company’s statement stated that moves by Rivers State government to take effective acquisition of the petroleum assets has not been approved by the Minister of Petroleum Resources.
Energy Frontier could’ve not immediately verify if the court verdict in context infers that all due proceeding including the consent of the minister be enforced to give the judgment effect.
Shell however claims that such details including liability or the size of the award in the underlying suit of Chief Ogbara & Others Vs SPDC and sale of SPDC JV’s assets to the River State Government were not provided in the ruling of the Supreme Court on 27 November 2020.
Shell stated that it has obtained an interim order from a Federal High Court restraining Rivers state government from further enforcement of “the underlying Agbara judgment pending the hearing of the motion on notice fixed for hearing on 14 January 2021.”
In standing up against the state government, Shell declared: “We remain of the view that until the pending appeals are heard and determined, any exercise of rights including any attempt to take over or seal up SPDC JV’s assets by the Rivers State Government is premature and unlawful.”
Energy Frontier reports that Shell’s hostile relationship with the people of Rivers State has largely been the bane of the Nigerian petroleum industry operations.
The company’s perceived culpability in the hanging of nine prominent host Ogoni community leaders after the people protested the company’s operating footprints on the environment had sparked agitations, protests, militancy, facility sabotage, commodity stealing and illegal refineries in the region.
A report by the United Nations Environmental Programme, UNEP, indicted Shell for deep seated environmental pollution in the Niger Delta which, according to the report, would take decades to remediate at billions of dollars in financial cost.
The company has since the release of the UNEP report began asset divestment in the vulnerable and polluted locations in what industry analysts interpret as brazen attempt to evade responsibility for poor environmental practices in the region.
The worsening relationship between Shell and its host communities and the company’s cash out from its assets in the region have largely given rise to calls for political restructuring of Nigeria to install resource control, fiscal federalism and devolution of powers.
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