Geologist: Shell concealing hazards from Nigerian oil spills

A German geologist says Royal Dutch Shell's Nigeria subsidiary "fiercely opposed" environmental testing and is concealing data showing thousands of Nigerians are exposed to health hazards from a stalled cleanup of the worst oil spills in the West African nation's history.

Kay Holtzmann says an environmental study found "astonishingly high" pollution levels with soil "literally soaked with hydrocarbons."

Holtzmann recommends urgent medical testing for the people of Bodo in the southern Niger Delta, in a letter seen by The Associated Press.

Shell did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The stalled cleanup was part of a settlement in which Shell paid $83.5 million to 15,600 fishermen and farmers for oil spills in 2008 and 2009. Lawyers alleged 500,000 barrels of oil spilled, while Shell said it was 1,640 barrels.