The Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) says it has halted the process of the sale of its onshore oil assets in Nigeria pending the outcome of a case at the supreme court.
In a statement on Thursday, Osagie Okunbor, managing director of SPDC, noted that the “recent media reporting regarding the 16 June Supreme Court proceedings does not accurately reflect SPDC’s response to the order”, according to TheCable.
Okunbor who clarified the company’s decision said: “The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd. (SPDC) complies with the law, including any court orders, and respects the judiciary and its role in upholding the rule of law.
“SPDC will continue to comply with the Supreme Court’s order to maintain the status quo. We have a strong belief in the merits of our case, which we are vigorously defending.”
Consequently, the company said it would not progress the divestment of its interest in SPDC until the outcome of its appeal.
Bloomberg had reported that the company had received final offers for its onshore oil and gas fields from Tony Elumelu’s Heirs Oil and Gas Limited and ND Western Limited.
The company had appealed the decision of a lower court on $2 billion penalties in favour of 88 communities in Egbalor Ebubu, Rivers state, over allegations of the oil spill that damaged farms and waterways.
In March, a court of appeal in Owerri stopped Shell from selling any assets in Nigeria until a decision is reached on the company’s appeal suit. The court also ordered the company to deposit the sum in an account controlled by the court.
Two weeks after the supreme court ordered all parties to maintain status quo in a contempt proceeding filed against Osagie Okunbor, managing director, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC), and three management staff of the company over the penalty fees.
The court adjourned the case till November 3, 2022.
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