Shell Oil Production in Nigeria

Topics: Petroleum, Ogoni people, Ken Saro-Wiwa Pages: 2 (872 words) Published: October 1, 2013
Shell oil began their oil production in Nigeria when the wildcatters first discovered oil deposits in Nigeria back in 1956. Since that time the company has steadily increased its operations and investments within the nation. Ogoniland, one of the regions in Nigeria, faced the brunt of the political decisions which were fueled by the profit made as a result of oil drilling. With a population of half a million packed in 400 square miles, Ogoniland has produced more than 600 million barrels of crude oil in the past forty years. The region has paid the price by having frequent blowouts and leaking pipes that damaged the crops and streams, which were sometimes irredeemable. Ogoniland has suffered 111 oil spills between 1985 and 1994 and Shell claims that about 70% of the spills were due to sabotage. The oil exploration ruined the creeks and the seas which were ideal for fishing before and also rendered most of the fertile land unusable. Due to lack of family planning there was a lot of pressure on the left-over usable land. The Ogonis also claimed that the gas flares caused acid rain that destroyed their crops and contaminated the drinking water. Seeing this, Ken Saro-Wiwa a Nigerian activist, formed a group MOSOP and started a nonviolent campaign against environmental degradation of the land and water by the Shell. Ken Saro-Wiwa along with other eight defendents were arrested and executed for the brutal murder of four Ogoni chiefs (Saro-Wiwa denied that saying that his campaign was non-violent and he was being framed). Amidst this political chaos and mayhem, it is suitable to question what role Shell could have played in all of the above accounts. Shell justifies there its neglect of infrastructure and development of Ogoniland by paying a few dollars for the destroyed trees, building a water tank and a new health center, but he workers left the area after a few months. This shows the area had become more or less inhabitable and the compensation that the Shell...
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