Pipeline vandalism: SPDC dismisses alleged staff involvement

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By Ikenna Omeje

The Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) has dismissed a report alleging that its staff were orchestrating crude oil pipeline vandalism for a gain, saying that the company does not have formal report of named staff members or contractors involved in the alleged vandalism.

A Dutch investigative TV programme Zembla had reported on Thursday that the employees at the company masterminded damage to oil pipelines to profit from the money spent on clean-up operations.

The report  citing research by Dutch environmental group Milieudefensie, alleged that employees of SPDC recruited local youth to sabotage the pipelines and then hired them back as workers to clean up the mess.

But reacting to the allegation in a statement on Thursday, Shell’s Media Relations Manager, Bamidele Odugbesan said: “SPDC does not have any formal report of named SPDC staff members or contractors involved in pipeline vandalism or crude oil theft.”

 “SPDC, like other Shell companies globally, investigates all credible reports it receives of misconduct or unethical behaviour and takes robust action where evidence exists.”

According to Odugbesan, the company has multiple ways the public can report allegations of wrongdoing by anyone working for SPDC, including a telephone helpline available round the clock and a dedicated email address.

He said the company monitored its joint venture facilities and “any incident or suspected criminal activities are promptly reported to the regulators and government security agencies for investigation and possible prosecution.”

Explaining one of the measures adopted by the company to discourage host communities from tampering with SPDC assets in their communities, Odugbesan said apart from not paying compensation for spills found to have resulted from sabotage activities, contractors from host communities are not awarded clean-up contracts for sabotage spills in their communities.

“All spills are assessed by a government-led joint investigation team. Where sabotage is established, the clean-up contract is not awarded to contractors from the host community to ensure that possible accomplices do not benefit from such activities. SPDC cleans up and remediates areas impacted by spills that come from its operations, irrespective of cause of spill,” he said.

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