Image courtesy of Shell/Flickr.

A Dutch court ruled Friday that Royal Dutch Shell can be taken to court in the Netherlands for oil spills tied to its Nigerian subsidiary, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC).

According to Reuters, judges at the Hague overturned a 2013 lower court ruling that found the Anglo-Dutch supermajor could not be held liable for leaks tied to its Nigerian subsidiary.

The Hague’s ruling is related to a 2008 lawsuit filed against the company in the Netherlands by Friends of the Earth and four Nigerian farmers.

“Shell can be taken to court in the Netherlands for the effects of the oil spills,” the court wrote.

The Hague also ordered Shell to hand over documents that could provide more details about what caused the spills and whether top managers had knowledge of the leaks, Retuers added.

The court has yet to decide on whether Shell was responsible for the spills and will continue to hear the case in March 2016.

“We are disappointed the Dutch court has determined it should assume international jurisdiction over SPDC,” SPDC told the news wire.

Shell has maintained that the leaks were caused by sabotage, but the Hague said that it’s too early to determine the cause of the spills.

Earlier this year, Royal Dutch Shell agreed to pay the Bodo community of Nigeria $83 million to settle two “highly regrettable” 2008 pipeline spills.

Shell claims the spills were caused by thieves breaking into the 180,000 barrel per day arm of the Shell operated Trans Niger Pipeline.


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