BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Africa
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-------------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Thursday, 3 May, 2001, 08:37 GMT 09:37 UK
Oil 'time-bomb' in Nigeria
Ken Saro-Wiwa
Ken Saro-Wiwa led the campaign against Shell in Ogoniland
The oil company Royal Dutch Shell says that 14 of its abandoned oil wells in Nigeria could blow up without warning.

The company made the announcement after investigations into an oil spill in Ogoniland in southern Nigeria showed that one of the wells was leaking.


We withdrew from Ogoni without being allowed to carry out proper evacuation procedures

Company spokesman Donald Boham
Company spokesman Donald Boham said that the wells are "potential time bombs".

Shell was forced to abandon production in Ogoniland in 1993 as a result of the campaign by the writer Ken Saro-Wiwa, who accused it of responsibility for widespread pollution.

The company says that only two wells were properly sealed.

Ensuring safety

Mr Boham now says that the remaining 14 must be sealed with cement and other materials before disaster strikes.

He said that there is a danger that leaking gas combined with the oil could create an inferno.

Woman running away from oil blaze
Oil fires have been a major problem in Nigeria
Most Ogonis are extremely suspicious of Shell. The company is accused of causing serious environmental damage in the area.

But Mr Boham said: "The need to secure these wells and other facilities, and to clean up spills which occurred in our absence, has been the subject of dialogue with the people of Ogoni."

The spill that Shell is investigating in the Yula oilfield was first reported on Sunday.

Shell officials told the BBC that initial evidence suggests it may have been the result of sabotage, but Ogoni activists have released a statement saying they are shocked by such suggestions.

They say that oil is still flowing out at the point of the spill and that there is a risk of fire in the area.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

03 May 01 | Business
Shell posts record profits
22 Jan 01 | Africa
Nigeria hears Ogoni oppression
12 Jul 00 | Africa
Oil wealth: An unequal bounty
15 Jan 01 | Africa
No end to Saro-Wiwa's struggle
08 Jun 00 | Africa
Oil: Nigeria's blessing and curse
26 Mar 01 | Americas
US court backs anti-Shell lawsuit
13 Jul 00 | Africa
Nigeria oil fire erupts again
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Africa stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Africa stories