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LAGOS (NIGERIA)/AMSTERDAM (NETHERLANDS), April 19, 2011 – Despite promises made by Shell since the 1990s to stop flaring the ‘associated’ gas released in oil production in Nigeria, the oil concern flared more gas in 2010 than it did in 2009 in the West African country. This has come to light from the sustainability report brought out by Shell last week.

According to its own figures, Shell flared over 30 per cent more gas in 2010 than in 2009. This, according to them, was mainly due to increased production in Nigeria and new activities in Iraq.

Nnimmo Bassey, director of Friends of the Earth Nigeria and chair of Friends of the Earth International, said:

“Shell has been flaring gas in Nigeria since 1958. Though gas flaring has been illegal, to them it is a standard industry practice. They continue to reap obscene profits from the oil fields of Nigeria at the expense of the lives and the livelihoods of the poor people. While they speak from both sides of their mouths we see that they are increasing the volume of gas flared and are thus intensifying their poisoning of the environment and the peoples of the region. They engage in this unacceptable and illegal activity just for the maximisation of their profits. Gas flaring is an act of ecocide and everyone should join us to demand that Shell stops this madness.”

Gas flaring has serious negative impacts on the health of local residents and on the environment – while the flared gas could simply be captured and used as natural gas, to the benefit of local people who often do not even have electricity in their houses. In 2007 Shell promised that it would stop flaring gas in Nigeria in 2009.

The meaningless promises and violations of environmental and human rights by the Dutch oil giant are a concern of the Dutch Parliament as well. In January of this year, it held a hearing on the conduct of Shell in Nigeria, were parliamentarians criticised the needless practice of flaring.

Shell’s sustainability report is available here:

An overview of the promises made by Shell to stop flaring gas is available here:



Nnimmo Bassey, Friends of the Earth Nigeria and chair of Friends of the Earth International, tel: +234-52-880619 (Benin city, Nigeria office) +234 803 727 4395 (Nigerian cell),

Paul de Clerck, Friends of the Earth International corporates campaign, tel +32 (0) 2 893 1000 (Brussels office),