The Ogoni Issue
The Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) started operations in Ogoni land in Rivers State in 1958, drilling a total of 96 wells to bring nine oil fields onstream. By the end of 1992, Ogoni production was some 28,000 barrels of oil a day, about 3% of SPDC’s total production,
The Movement for Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) was established in 1990 and began campaigning for greater control over oil and gas resources on their land, for economic development, and autonomy over their affairs, (including cultural, religious and environmental matters). MOSOP's demands were summarised in their 1990 'Ogoni Bill of Rights', which were mostly of a political nature and addressed to the Nigerian Government. By November 1992, MOSOP was also demanding US$6 billion in royalties from past oil production and US$4 billion for alleged environmental damage, and SPDC was given 30 days to accept or leave Ogoni land.
SPDC stopped production in Ogoni land and withdrew from the area in 1993 after violence against our staff and action targeting our facilities. Violence in Ogoni land continued, and in May 1994 four prominent Ogoni leaders were murdered by a mob. Ken Saro-Wiwa (President of MOSOP) and eight others were accused of complicity in the murders, tried by military tribunal in 1995, found guilty and executed.
SPDC has produced no oil or gas from Ogoni fields since 1993, although Ogoni land continues to serve as a transit route for pipelines transporting both SPDC and third-party oil production from other areas. SPDC has publicly called for calling for reconciliation among Ogonis and between the Ogonis and SPDC and continues its SPDC’s community development programme in the area despite the fact it is no longer an oil producing area.
Shell initiated and was a leading sponsor of the Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative, which openly publishes payments made to the government by the energy industry and the allocation of money to states by the federal government. We are keen that oil producing state governments adopt similar initiatives.