Success: Shell to Pay for Oil Spills

Oil Spill Seen From Space

Target: Royal Dutch Shell CEO Ben van Beurden

Goal: Applaud Shell for giving the farmers and fishermen in Nigeria fair compensation for its oil spills

The Royal Dutch Shell corporation has just agreed to pay $83 million as compensation for two oil spills in 2008 and 2009 in the Niger Delta region. These spills devastated the natural environments in the area, causing severe stress on the local farmers and fishermen who rely on untainted waters to make a living for themselves and their families.

This is one of the biggest amounts ever given to African residents from corporations that interfere in their lives. This is also the first time in history that the money from a settlement over an oil spill has been given directly to the people whose lives were disrupted by it. It took nearly seven years, but after thousands of people standing up to express their outrage at Shell through petitions like ForceChange’s “Shell: Own Up to What You Owe for Nigerian Tragedy,” the people hurt by these massive oil spills are finally seeing some justice.

Each farmer and fisherman affected by the spills will be given $3,300, which for them is equivalent to several year’s earnings. This may not make up for the long-term effects on the environment and the health of the locals, but is closer to being fair than the vast majority of settlements seen from incidents like these involving huge global corporations. Behavior like this, in which companies take responsibility for the damage they do, should be encouraged. Sign to applaud Shell for agreeing to pay a decent amount of money to make up for the oil spills.


Dear Mr. Beurden,

I understand that you’ve agreed to pay $83 million in damages to the farmers and fishermen of the Niger Delta region who were impacted by the oil spills caused by your company in 2008 and 2009. Because of this, each of the individuals whose livelihoods were devastated by the negative effects on the environment, the poisoning of the water supply and the impact on the fish populations, will receive several years worth of earnings to make up for what they lost.

I hope that having to pay this amount will cause you to exercise more caution in the future. Even though the people you’ve harmed will be compensated, there will be long-term damage to the environment from the two oil spills. This will effect the land, water, and animal populations for many years. You can’t put a dollar amount on the damage you’ve done.

However, I do want to thank you for taking unprecedented action to compensate the people of the Niger Delta region. These people have just as much worth as those from any other part of the world, yet they rarely see any money when global corporations disrupt their lives. The fact that you are giving $3,300 to each farmer and fishermen directly shows that you care somewhat about the people you effect with your oil transportation.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: NASA/GSFC via Wikimedia Commons

Original petition: Shell: Own Up to What You Owe for Nigerian Tragedy

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  1. Michael Guest says:

    Well, at least that’s some progress. There’s more work to be done to stop more spills of oil.

  2. “The human appetite for animal flesh is a driving force behind virtually every major category of environmental damage now threatening the human future – deforestation, erosion, fresh water scarcity, air and water pollution, climate change, biodiversity loss, social injustice, the destabilization of communities and the spread of disease.” — The World Watch Institute

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