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Conditions in the Niger Delta
The Niger Delta is one of the most difficult places where Shell companies operate. Most of Nigeria’s oil is produced here but poverty and violence are widespread.
Most of the oil that Shell companies produce in Nigeria comes from onshore in the Niger Delta.
The delta is half swamp, half land, with a maze of creeks and mangroves.
It is hot and humid and access is difficult - equipment has to be brought in over hundreds of kilometres by barge.
After many years of oil and gas operations in the delta, most of the 30 million people living there remain poor.
The rapidly growing population is putting pressure on traditional livelihoods like fishing and agriculture.
Only a very few have access to basic services and infrastructure like schools, health clinics, electricity and running water.
Local people demand better public services and a greater share of the oil revenues that companies like the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) pay to federal government in tax and royalties.
Communities have become increasingly frustrated and civil unrest has grown.
Against this background security has deteriorated.
Over the last decade, heavily armed and well-organised gangs have shut down operations, kidnapped staff and sabotaged pipelines.
Militant groups have emerged, financed in part by the theft of crude oil and condensate on an industrial scale.
They cause massive pollution in the process by damaging wellheads and other facilities.
In 2010 the government declared an amnesty for militants.
As a result, security has improved and engineers from SPDC have reactivated dozens of wells and hundreds of kilometres of pipeline.
But crude oil theft and illegal refining remain widespread.
That continues to cause major environmental problems from oil pollution, increasing community resentment of oil companies.
SPDC is an integral part of life in the Niger Delta.
Its operations deliver a range of economic benefits, including employment and training, contracts for local companies and tax payments to the government.
SPDC and other energy companies have extensive social investment programmes for communities near our facilities.
And SPDC recently launched a new model to improve the way it works with communities, build more trust and give them greater control over their own development.