SOUTH DURBAN (SOUTH AFRICA) 24 February 2006 — Friends of the Earth International today welcomed an unreported announcement of oil giant Shell which said this week that it will replace all fuel transport pipelines linking the Shell oil refinery to the Durban harbor in South Durban. [1]

Friends of the Earth International

The decision comes after a meeting between Friends of the Earth International, community people from South Durban and Shell CEO Jeroen van de Veer in December 2005. [2]

Shell’s fuel pipelines and holding tanks have been under severe scrutiny in South Durban, after several leaks in 2001, where more than 1 million litres of petrol leaked through rusting infrastructure to settle in communities and under peoples’ homes, [3] resulting in people having to relocate from their homes.

Friends of the Earth International worked with the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) [4], GroundWork [5] and a global network of civil society organizations calling for Shell to be held accountable for its leaking fuel pipelines in South Durban.

Desmond D’Sa, chairperson of SDCEA, said: “Despite the fact that Shell tried to unduly influence political leadership in Durban, we managed to expose this process and force Shell to respond to our legitimate demands.”

Up until December 2005, Shell was not prepared to accept the community demand of replacing the south Durban fuel pipelines. Shell decided to replace the pipelines under pressure from a mix of shareholder activism, political lobbying and community mobilization over the past five years.

“Shell is finally accountable to the South Durban community, and this victory shows that corporations can be held accountable throughout the global South when international campaigns are coupled with local community pressure,” said Bobby Peek of Groundwork/Friends of the Earth South Africa.

The campaigning organisations now expect Shell to start moving on other critical pollution reduction plans and improve operating conditions at the local Shell oil refinery.


Bobby Peek, Groundwork/Friends of the Earth South Africa: +27-82-464 1383

Desmond D’Sa, South Durban Community Environmental Alliance: +27-83-982 6939


[1] Friends of the Earth International is the world’s largest grassroots environmental network, with approximately 1.5 million members and supporters around the world.
[2] Civil Society organizations from the USA, Brazil, The Philippines, Nigeria, Russia, Ireland and Curaçao have worked in a coalition to hold Shell accountable.
[3] see:
[4] SDCEA is a local environmental justice organisation based in south Durban that provides a collective voice for the various community organisations and residents in south Durban, who live adjacent to the petro-chemical industrial developments in the south Durban area. See:
[5] groundWork/Friends of the Earth, South Africa is an environmental justice organisation working focusing on air pollution, waste and corporate abuse and works with community organisations living adjacent to petro-chemical facilities in south Durban, Sasolburg, Secunda and Cape Town. See