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Amnesty International doubts ability of firms to vet purchase of Shell’s onshore assets, warns Nigeria

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Amnesty International: BCG, S&P Global have business relationship with Shell

‘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’

By Valentine Amanze

The renowned global environmental protection watchdog, the Amnesty International, has raised doubts over the ability of Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and S&P Global to help scrutinize the buying of Shell’s onshore assets in Nigeria.

It said that the contract issued by Nigeria’s oil regulator, the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), would not benefit Nigerians because of Shell’s business relationship with BCG and S&P Global.

Amnesty International Nigeria Director, Isa Sanusi, in a statement issued on Thursday July 4, 2024, urged the Nigerian government to avoid any perceived conflict of interests by ensuring and guaranteeing the full independence of any consultant it uses to review Shell’s proposed sale of its assets in Nigeria.

The group stated: “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.”

Also read: Shell must pay for environmental crimes in Nigeria – ERA/FoEN

“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.”

Amnesty International also appealed to the federal government of Nigeria not to approve the takeover by a Nigerian firm unless a series of safeguards were in place that fully protect people’s rights.

Recall that 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 $2.4 billion, financed partly with a loan to the buyers from Shell.

valoa2000@yahoo.com

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