Business

Amnesty International faults FG for hiring Shell’s consultant to review onshore asset sale

Amnesty International has faulted the Nigeria Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) over the hiring of Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and S&P Global to review Shell’s onshore asset sale stating that it poses a conflict of interest as the consultants also work for Shell.

The group stated this in reaction to the hiring of BCG and S&P Global by the NUPRC. The statement was signed by its Director for Nigeria, Isa Sanusi.

According to the group, the NUPRC must ensure they protect the rights of the Indigenous people of the Niger Delta by ensuring that there is no conflict of interest during the review of the sale stating that “it is essential the reviews are not just independent but seen to be independent”

It further stated that assurances from the aforementioned consultants that their reviews will be free from their wider interest with the oil major are unlikely to dispel fears of potential human rights abuses related to the history of Shell in the region.

The statement reads, “The government regulator overseeing Shell’s sale of its onshore assets in Nigeria must avoid any perceived conflict of interests by ensuring and guaranteeing the full independence of any consultants it uses to review Shell’s proposed sale of its assets in Nigeria.”

“The decision by the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission to hire BCG, which already performs a wide variety of other work for Shell, to help assess this sale is concerning. It is similarly worrying that S&P Global, which also plays a key role in rating Shell’s debt and creditworthiness as well as providing other services to the oil company, is also involved.”

“Given the enormous human rights risks at stake it is essential that reviews of the sale are not just independent – but seen to be independent. Shell must be held fully to account for the oil spills related to the business it is selling, which for decades have polluted the environment, contaminated drinking water and poisoned agricultural land, fisheries and people.”

“Any assurances from these consultancy groups that their reviews will be divorced from their wider commercial interests with Shell are unlikely to allay worries that they could soft pedal on the remedies required to address the human rights abuses related to Shell’s activities.”

Backstory

In January, Shell announced that it had agreed to sell the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) to the Renaissance consortium. This consortium includes four Nigerian exploration and production companies and an international energy group. The deal is valued at up to US$2.4 billion.

The sale of Shell’s onshore assets in Nigeria has generated controversies over the effects of the firm’s activities in the Niger Delta concerning the environment and oil spills.

The Centre for Research on Multinationals stated that the sale should not be approved until Shell cleans up the Niger Delta or guarantees that the buyer of its assets will clean up the region.

What you should know

  • The NUPRC is responsible for approving the sale of oil and gas assets in the country. Just recently the commission approved the sale of AGIP’s assets to Oando and Equinor’s divestment.
  • In April, the NUPRC set the guidelines for approving the sale of oil assets in the region stating it rests on seven key pillars which include technical capacity, financial capability, legal considerations, decommissioning and abandonment (D&A), host community trust/environmental remediation fund, industrial relations and labour issues, and data repatriation.

Source: TheTimes.com.ng.

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