Norway’s Oil Fund Invited to the Niger Delta to witness the first-hand impact of Shell’s Operations

Norway’s Oil Fund Invited to the Niger Delta to witness the first-hand impact of Shell’s Operations

We at ANEEJ (Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice) have been working to hold fossil fuel companies accountable for the damages that have been caused in the Niger Delta. 

Norway’s Oil Fund (managed by Norges Bank Investment Management – NBIM) is a top three shareholder in Shell. In 2013 Norway’s Ministry of Finance directed the Oil Fund to engage with Shell for up to ten years on the environmental and societal harms caused in the Niger Delta, which were exposed by Norway’s own Ethics Council. Those ten years have now come to an end. 

A Nigerian delegation including Rev. David Ugolor, Executive Director of ANEEJ, will visit Norway this month to discuss these areas of concern and extend an invite to representatives from the Oil Fund to come to the Niger Delta to see the polluted land and hear from people in affected communities. 

In its 2022 Responsible Investment Report issued this February, Oil Fund presented its 10-year dialogue with Shell about the Niger Delta as a success story. It stated that:

“Shell PLC and its partners in Nigeria have implemented various measures, including maintenance, better protection of wellheads and closer collaboration with local communities. The clean-up of affected areas is progressing, and the backlog has been significantly reduced. The company is working with the Nigerian authorities to clean up legacy pollution in Ogoniland and is continuing to pay its share of the clean-up costs.” 

When we and other groups on the ground in Nigeria saw this, we were shocked. This is absolutely not the reality observed by people living in the Niger Delta, recent NORDRA oil spill data, reports by the Bayelsa State Oil & Environmental Commission, Independent Monitoring of the Ogoniland Clean-up, investigation by the Nigerian Tribune and many others.

Following the second People’s AGM held by ANEEJ in May earlier this year, we and 30 other Nigerian civil society groups wrote an open letter to the Oil Fund’s boss Nicolai Tangen in which we: 

  • Encourage the Council on Ethics “to recommend full divestment and exclusion of all holdings of the Norway Government Pension Fund in Royal Dutch Shell, Plc. and its subsidiaries.”
  • The Fund to “re-direct significant investment to support the development of new technology that will advance a just transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources.”
  • Call on Mr. Tangen and his colleagues “to respond urgently to undertake a fact-finding mission to the Niger Delta in collaboration with civil society organisations, to ascertain the true state of affairs.”
  • To follow the example of the Church of England and to “vote against Shell’s Chair and Directors and the transition plan update during the company’s 2023 annual general meeting.”

Read the letter here.

This month, the delegation will visit Norway to discuss the issues currently facing the people of the Niger Delta as a result of Shell operations and the necessary steps needed to address them. 

More information on the delegation’s visit can be found here