Shell Plc said it has suspended its plans to sell its onshore oil assets in Nigeria, responding to a Supreme Court suit over oil leak appeal filed by a community in Bayelsa State.
The oil major had announced its plans of divestment in May 2021. It was subsequently sued by the people of Aghoro I in Ekeremor Local Government Area in Bayelsa over the May 17, 2018 oil leak from the oil firm’s Trans Ramos Pipeline.
The Supreme Court on June 16 ordered Shell to maintain the status quo until October, a ruling that will stop Shell from selling its assets in Nigeria until a dispute over a lower court decision to award a Niger Delta community N700 billion in compensation over the spill is resolved.
At the time, the spokesperson of the oil giant said the court ruling did on affect the planned sale of onshore assets in Nigeria.
“The Supreme Court ruling on 16 June was with respect to the contempt proceedings and not related to (the) onshore portfolio review,” Reuters quoted him as saying.
In a new turn of event on Thursday, the company in a statement by Chairman of Companies and Managing Director of SPDC, Osagie Okunbor, said it will not progress the divestment of its interest in SPDC until the outcome of SPDC’s appeal.
“The following is a statement by Osagie Okunbor, Managing Director of SPDC and Chairman of Shell Companies in Nigeria on recent media reporting on the Supreme Court of Nigeria Torchi proceedings:
“The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd. (SPDC) complies with the law, including any court orders, and respects the judiciary and its role in upholding the rule of law.
“Recent media reporting regarding the 16 June Supreme Court proceedings does not accurately reflect SPDC’s response to the order. SPDC will continue to comply with the Supreme Court’s order to maintain the status quo. We have a strong belief in the merits of our case, which we are vigorously defending.”
The Shell Group has confirmed separately that it will not progress the divestment of its interest in SPDC until the outcome of SPDC’s appeal.
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