Ikebiri Village Sues Eni for Damages From Pipe Line Explosion

The logo of oil company Eni-Saipem is pictured at the petrol station in Milan, Italy, February 28, 2016. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

A Nigerian village has filed a lawsuit in Milan against an Italian oil company, Eni, demanding compensation for damages caused by an oil pipeline explosion in 2010, an Italian lawyer representing the village said on Thursday.

Eni is one of the international oil companies operating in Nigeria through subsidiaries, including Nigerian Agip Oil Company Limited.

The village of Ikebiri in the Niger Delta is asking Eni for €2m ($2.2m) in damages along with a commitment to clean up the area covering more than 43 acres (17 hectares), the lawyer, Luca Saltalamacchia, told a news conference.

“The explosion that happened near a river caused an environmental disaster that polluted water and land,” Reuters quoted Saltalamacchia as saying.

Mining and energy firms around the world have battled a spate of cases brought in international courts against their subsidiaries in other countries.

An Anglo-Dutch oil company, Royal Dutch Shell, successfully fought efforts by one Nigerian community to sue it in British courts, but it settled another case brought in London by another Nigerian community in 2015.

According to Saltalamacchia, Nigerian Agip Oil Company has claimed it has already carried out cleaning up operations in the area.

The lawyer, who will be flanked by an environmental campaign group, Friends of the Earth, in the case against Eni, said a first hearing had been set for December 11 at the Milan civil court.

Eni has been operating in Nigeria since 1962 and last year produced 117,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.


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