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Shell's Batan delivery line spill, pollution and harassment of the locals, Nigeria

Shell's old and unadapted equipment caused Batan's delivery line spill but yet the multinational unethical behavior enabled it to avoid taking any responsibility for it.


On October 20, 2002, a major oil spill occurred at Shell’s Batan delivery line. This pipeline connects Shell’s Batan facility to the Forcados export terminal. The pipeline is operated by its subsidiary, the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (hereafter SPDC). The communities affected by the spill were numerous, including Batan, Diebiri, Ajuju, Ewerigbene and Kumusi.Diebiri-Batn is a riverine Ijaw community in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State. The local people are predominantly fisherfolks, though some of them also engage in subsistence farming.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Shell's Batan delivery line spill, pollution and harassment of the locals, Nigeria
State or province:Delta State
Location of conflict:Warri South-West Local Government Area, Diebiri Batan,
Accuracy of locationLOW (Country level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Oil and gas exploration and extraction
Pollution related to transport (spills, dust, emissions)
Oil and gas refining
Specific commodities:Crude oil
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The Royal Dutch Shell is one of the oil multinationals with major presence in the Niger Delta. It operates in the country through its subsidiary Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC). The Batan delivery line supplies Shell's Forcados terminal, one of the biggest oil export terminals of the country. The terminal has the capacity to export around 400.000 barrels per day [4].

Project area:unknown
Level of Investment:Unknown
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:unknown
Start of the conflict:10/2002
Company names or state enterprises:Royal Dutch Shell (Shell) from Netherlands
Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) from Nigeria
Relevant government actors:Department of Petroleum Resources, the Delta State Environment Protection Agency, Federal Ministry of Environmen, the police, National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Environmental Rights Action (Friends of the Earth Nigeria), Amnesty International, local organization: Centre for Social and Corporate Responsibility (CSCR)
Conflict & Mobilization
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local ejos
Fisher people
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Public campaigns
Threats to use arms
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Oil spills, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Potential: Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…)
Potential: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Development of alternatives:Amnesty International calls Shell to be more transparent about its cleaning-up operations. The Nigerian law should be better applied. It requires that the companies always clean-up after a spill, and no matter what the cause of the spill is. Amnesty International considers that the Nigerian institution National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, should be given more means to carry on its very necessary work.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The villagers had to accept the small amount of 100.000 dollars and Shell did not even carry on a proper clean-up of the contaminated areas.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[2] Complaint to the UK and Dutch National Contact Points under the Specific Instance Procedure of the, OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, 25 January 2011, by Amnesty International and Friends of the Earth International
[click to view]

Tukur Ismaila Gusau, Oil Corporations and the Environment: the case of the Niger Delta, Thesis submitted for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy at The University of Leicester, August 2012
[click to view]

Niger Delta: Shell’s manifestly false claims about oil pollution exposed, again, Amnesty International, November 2015
[click to view]

Bad information, oil spill investigations in the Niger Delta, Amnesty International
[click to view]

[1] Nigeria: Petroleum, pollution and poverty in the Niger Delta, Amnesty International, 2009
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Nigeria: Oil spill affects five communities, October 2002
[click to view]

Shell’s Nigeria ecocide is creating a refugee crisis, October 2016
[click to view]

Eco-Crimes: Shell and the Niger Delta, Fair Planet Dossier
[click to view]

Shell: #Makethefuture - Clean up the Niger Delta, Amnesty International Campaign
[click to view]

[3] Timeline: Shell's operations in Nigeria, September 2018
[click to view]

[4] Bombed pipeline to hit Nigeria oil output, March 2016
[click to view]

Other documents

Aerial picture of the Niger delta Source:
[click to view]

"An oil polluted river in the Niger Delta" Source:’s-nigeria-ecocide-creating-refugee-crisis
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Afoke Ohwojeheri & Camila Rolando Mazzuca (EnvJustice team)
Last update08/05/2019
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