General Interest news briefs, Mar. 26

US Supreme Court � Royal Dutch Petroleum � Shell Transport & Trading � ExxonMobil � Nigeria

The US Supreme Court refused to hear arguments by Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. and Shell Transport & Trading Co., parents of Royal Dutch/Shell Group, contesting US jurisdiction for trial of a case in which the companies are accused of instigating the 1995 torture and murder of Nigerian activists who opposed drilling on their lands (OGJ Online, Sept. 19, 2000). The nonaction allows the suit to be tried in the US. The case, filed by relatives of slain activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, is being closely watched by the industry because of the effect it might have on the treatment of human rights problems overseas.

The Indonesian government asked ExxonMobil Corp. to resume production in Aceh by Apr. 2, as security forces have been deployed to guard the company in the restive province. Free Aceh rebels have threatened the company and the project (OGJ Online, Mar. 19, 2001).

Nigeria will embark on a new licensing round for allocation of acreage in its oil blocks in the third quarter of this year, according to Rilwanu Lukman, presidential adviser on petroleum and energy. Winners of bids for the 2000 licensing round were announced last December.

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