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Shell sued Shell faces oil spill suit

The Bille and Ogale communities, whose source of livelihood depend largely on fishing and farming are demanding compensation and a clean up.

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Oil giant Shell is being sued by two Nigerian communities over multiple spills in the oil-rich Niger Delta.

The Bille and Ogale communities, whose source of livelihood depend largely on fishing and farming are demanding compensation and a clean up.

They say they have not had clean drinking water since 1989 because of the oil spills.

London law firm Leigh Day Co is representing them after winning an unprecedented $US83.5 million ($A114.40 million) in damages from Shell in a landmark ruling by the same court in 2015. Shell originally offered villagers $US50,000, the Associated Press reported.

Claims

"The two new claims against Royal Dutch Shell plc (RDS) and the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd (SPDC) have now been issued in the High Court in London on behalf of residents of the Ogale Community in Ogoniland and the Bille Kingdom," Leigh Day said in a statement on Tuesday.

Leigh Day said the Ogale community had "been subjected to repeated oil spillages across much of the community since at least 1989," while in Bille Bille community made up of fishing settlements, livelihoods had been "destroyed" from spills emanating from the Nembe Creek pipeline.

Theft

But Shell accused the two communities of oil theft, pipeline sabotage and illegal refining.

"Both Bille and Ogale are areas heavily impacted by crude oil theft, pipeline sabotage and illegal refining which remain the main sources of pollution across the Niger Delta," Shell said.

"Ogale is in Ogoniland and it is important to note that SPDC has produced no oil or gas in Ogoniland since 1993. Access to the area has been limited following a rise in violence, threats to staff and attacks on facilities," the company added.

Court hearing

The first court hearing is due on Wednesday at the Technology and Construction Court, which will determine if the claimants can can lodge a case against Shell's Nigerian business, known as Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC).

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Laigh Day also accused Shell of failing to comply with a UNEP report that recommended a clean up of the spill sites.

"At the time, Shell stated it accepted the findings and the recommendations of the UNEP Report. However, four years later, Shell has failed to comply with the recommendations of the UNEP Report and to clean up the sites polluted by their oil," Leigh Day said.

But shell said it has agreed a clean-up plan.

"In mid-2015 SPDC JV, along with the government, UNEP and representatives of the Ogoni community, agreed to an 18-month roadmap to fast-track the environmental clean-up and remediation of Ogoniland which includes a governance framework," it said in a statement.

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