Royal Dutch Shell spent almost 40 per cent of its $1 billion (£784 million) global security budget between 2007 and 2009 in Nigeria, pressure group Platform said, adding that much of the money went to the country’s security forces which it described as corrupt.
The oil major spent $383m protecting its staff and assets in Nigeria’s restive oil region during the three-year period, according to company figures leaked to Platform, a London-based body monitoring the oil and gas industry. “Shell paid many millions of dollars to government forces with a track record for corruption and creating instability across Nigeria,” Platform’s Ben Amunwa said. Shell did not confirm the figures but said it had to spend heavily because of the security threats.
“We have always acknowledged the difficulties of working in countries like Nigeria. Protecting our people and our assets is Shell’s highest priority,” Shell Nigeria spokesman Precious Okolobo said.
Sabotage of oil infrastructure and the kidnapping of foreign oil workers has been common in the vast oil-rich mangrove wetlands of the Niger Delta in recent years, and although an amnesty for militants in 2009 reduced violence, massive oil theft persists.
“In the period that this report refers to, the armed militancy in the Niger Delta was at its height, requiring a relatively high level of security spending there,” Okolobo said.
Shell says around 150,000 barrels per day (bpd) out of Nigeria’s more than two million bpd oil output capacity is still being stolen by gangs.
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