Nigeria: Regulator must help protect human rights by ensuring no conflict of interest in assessing Shell’s proposed sale

Nigeria: Regulator must help protect human rights by ensuring no conflict of interest in assessing Shell’s proposed sale

Nigeria: Regulator must help protect human rights by ensuring no conflict of interest in assessing Shell’s proposed sale

Nigeria: Regulator must help protect human rights by ensuring no conflict of interest in assessing Shell’s proposed sale

Reacting to the hiring by the Nigerian oil regulator of the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and S&P Global to help scrutinize the sale of Shell’s onshore assets in the country, Isa Sanusi, Amnesty International Nigeria Director, said:

“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.

“It is also essential that the potential buyers of the business have the ability and financial stability to manage the operations safely and effectively to ensure local communities are not exposed to further harms. The deal should not be allowed to proceed unless a series of safeguards are in place that fully protect people’s rights.”

Background

Shell announced in January that it had agreed to sell the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) to the Renaissance consortium, which comprises four exploration and production companies based in Nigeria and an international energy group, in a deal worth up to US$2.4 billion, financed partly with a loan to the buyers from Shell.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Amnesty International.