Shell Oil: Pay Up, Shut Up, or Get out...

A Nigerian court has given Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) a Monday deadline to pay $1.5 billion in damages for pollution in the oil-producing state of Bayelsa, the energy giant said on Saturday.

Shell said it had appealed against the order by Justice Okechukwu Okeke, who in February upheld a resolution by parliament that the firm should pay the money to ethnic Ijaw communities in Bayelsa in the Niger Delta, which produces all of Nigeria's output of 2.4 million barrels of oil per day.

"The court ordered that we pay the money into an escrow account by Monday, while the case continues. We have filed an appeal against the judgment," said a spokesman for Shell, Nigeria's biggest producer. Communities often accuse Shell of allowing its oil to spill into the rivers and swamps of the Niger Delta, spoiling crops and driving fish away.

Shell says most spills are caused by saboteurs trying to steal the oil for sale by international criminal syndicates on the world market.

The payment of $1.5 billion to Ijaw communities is one of several demands made by a militant group that has hit a quarter of Nigerian oil exports in a five-month campaign of sabotage and kidnapping against the oil industry.

Decades of living alongside the multibillion dollar oil industry have brought few benefits to the estimated 20 million people who live in the delta, mostly in extreme poverty. (More)

A statement today from the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, the armed ethnic Ijaw group, said: "There have been reports that negotiations are ongoing towards the release of these individuals. This is absolutely untrue."
It added: "We are continuing with our attacks on oil facilities and oil workers in the next few days. We will act without further warning."
Following the violence, Shell - the biggest oil producer in Nigeria - has halved its output from the country.

A spokeswoman for the company told Times Online that the company was unable to comment on the court ruling because it had not yet been made aware of it.

she added Shell remained convinced "independent expert advice" showed that it strong grounds to appeal the order to pay compensation.

"We remain committed to dialogue with the Ijaw people," she said.

According to the BBC, Shell's lawyers argued in the Pourt Harcourt Federal Court that the joint committee of the Nigerian National Assembly that made the order in 2000 did not have the power to compel the oil company to make the payment. (More)

So the plot thickens in Nigeria on the eve of elections sans President Obasanjo, will Shell (aka The One Eyed Wooden Shoe Pirate) break the law passed down by the land? You better believe it, Nobody on earth wants to pay a $1 billion plus fine for anything. Shell's excuse of saboteurs is like RJ Reynolds blaming BIC (the people who make lighters) for smoking!!! Note to anybody in the US who thinks this is a little matter, If you got a shell credit card just watch how you interest rates jump the hell out of the roof if they already havent. THESE CATS ARE GONNA GET PAID ANY WHICH WAY THEY CAN.

"Yo potna, Can I get those ends, cuz you delinquent"