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FOCO & Friends of the Earth Argentina vs. Shell Capsa

Case overview

Date filed 28 May 2008
Current status Blocked
Issue Shell's environmental and health violations in Argentina
Summary of the case FOCO and FoE Argentina filed a complaint against Royal Dutch Shells Argentine subsidiary, Shell Capsa, for violating domestic law and ignoring the Argentinean governments sustainable development campaigns and policies. The complaint alleges that the irresponsible actions at the companys oil refinery in the Dock Sud industrial area have put the health and safety of neighbouring residents in danger.

The affected community, called Villa Inflamable, is home to about 1,300 families who live in extreme poverty and lack access to basic sanitation, clean water and other essential utilities. Many of these problems stem from the socio-economic vulnerability of the inhabitants of the area. For decades, they have been living with the toxic fumes produced by Shell Capsas oil refinery. The complaint notes that the refinery was closed for seven days in August 2007 after Argentinas national environmental authority found multiple violations to national environmental law.
Developments/Outcome The case was filed simultaneously with the Argentine and the Dutch NCPs because the complainants believed the violations are a systemic problem in the global operations of Shell.

Despite the existence of parallel legal proceedings, in September 2008 the Argentine and Dutch NCPs accepted the case (with the former taking the lead). The Argentine NCP prepared a list of “considerations” and asked the parties to respond; both complied.

In April 2009, three members of the NCP visited Villa Inflamable to interview residents and to see the conditions.

However, Shell Capsa refused to participate in the process or even recognize the NCP as the appropriate body for addressing the concerns

In May 2009, the NCP indicated that it may close the case, but offered the parties the possibility of participating in a roundtable meeting outside the specific instance process. The complainants indicated that they would be open to such a meeting.

In November 2009, the Argentine NCP announced it would close the case and publish its findings, including the fact that the company refused to cooperate.

However, the case remained pending and Shell Capsa refused to respond to the complaint until the court case against it is closed.

In June 2012, the NCP again requested that Shell Capsa provide information about the actions it has taken in relation to the allegations and an update on the parallel court case.

As of May 2016 still no action has been taken by the NCP in this regard. The complainants have repeatedly asked the NCP to make a determination on the allegations and issue a final statement.
Relevant OECD Guidelines
Case keywords Extractives / mining sector, Human rights, Environment, Energy sector, Parallel (legal) proceedings, Disclosure of information, Multiple NCPs

NCP Information

NCP name National Contact Point Argentina
NCP address Esmeralda 1212, 9th floor C1007ABR Buenos Aires, Argentina
NCP website www.cancilleria.gov.ar/pnc
Other NCPs involved

Complainants

NGO

Company Information

Company responsible Koninklijke Nederlandsche Petroleum Maatschappij
Company address Carel van Bylandtlaan 30
2596 HR Den Haag
Netherlands
Company website http://www.shell.com
Company in violation Koninklijke Nederlandsche Petroleum Maatschappij
Country of operations Argentina
Other companies involved

Timeline of developments

Some developments are only visible to logged in users.
Date Actor Action Description Document
30 April 2014 National Contact Point Argentina As of April 2014, no action has been taken in this regard.  
23 September 2008 National Contact Point Argentina statement Viability of the specific instance. Considerations of the complaint presented, emphasizing the importance of the confidentiality of the process. download pdf (141Kb)  
28 May 2008 Instituto para la Participación y el Desarrollo file The complainants filed the complaint simultaneously with the Argentine and the Dutch National Contact Point because they believe the violations are a systemic problem in the global operations of the multinational company, and they hope that the NCPs will collaborate in the handling of the specific instance. download pdf (304Kb)  

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