Report highlights changing legal landscape for oil sector

Investors should rigorously challenge oil companies regarding their environmental standards and impact on communities in oil-rich regions such as the Niger Delta, or they could be left exposed to serious financial risk, according to legal experts at Essex University.

A new academic report, entitled Corporate liability in a new setting: Shell and the changing legal landscape for the multinational oil industry in the Niger Delta, focuses on legal actions taken against Shell, but its conclusions could have repercussions for other multinational enterprises.

The independent report — produced with support from Amnesty International UK and Fair Pensions — highlights a shifting legal environment in which Shell can expect to face an increase in lawsuits.

It urges the company to take greater responsibility for the actions of its subsidiaries and associate companies in the Niger Delta and addresses the contradiction between Shell’s portrayal of itself in current litigation and the statements it provides to investors.