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Shell warned of Nigeria pipeline leak

Staff Reporter | 1:58 PM |
Oil firm Royal Dutch Shell was told a pipeline had reached the end of its life years before it spilled up to 500,000 barrels of oil, according to court documents seen by the BBC. Two spills in 2008 affected about 35 sq miles (90sqkm) in southern Nigeria, according to a group suing Shell. The area included sensitive mangroves.

Shell "dismisses the suggestion that it has knowingly continued to use a pipeline that is not safe to operate"’ it told the BBC. The emails, letters and internal reports submitted to a court in London show that senior Shell employees were concerned before the spill that Shell’s pipelines in the area had reached the end of their lives and needed replacing to avoid danger to lives, the environment and the economy.

The spills took place in Bodo, a town in the Ogoniland region, where people interviewed for an Amnesty International report into the effects of the incident reported headaches and eyesight problems.

Following the spills, the price of fish, a local staple food, rose as much as tenfold, according to Amnesty. People who worked in fishing had to find jobs in other industries which proved more difficult to find. – BBC