Shell Oil Company is the United States-based affiliate of Royal Dutch Shell, a multinational oil company ("oil major") of Anglo Dutch origins, which is amongst the largest oil companies in the world. Approximately 22,000 Shell employees are based in the U.S. The head office in the U.S. is in Houston, Texas. Shell Oil Company, including its consolidated companies and its share in equity companies, is one of America’s largest oil and natural gas producers, natural gas marketers, gasoline marketers and petrochemical manufacturers.
Author Ken Saro-Wiwa was a member of the Ogoni people, an ethnic Nigerian minority whose hometown, Ogoniland, in the Niger Delta has been targeted for crude oil extraction since the 1950s and which has suffered extreme and unremediated environmental damage from decades of indiscriminate oil waste dumping. Saro-Wiwa, initially as spokesperson, and then as President, of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), he led a nonviolent campaign against environmental degradation of the land and natural waters of Ogoniland by the operations of multinational oil companies, especially Shell.
At the peak of his non-violent campaign, Saro-Wiwa and the other members of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People were arrested, hastily tried by a special military tribunal, and hanged in 1995 by the Nigerian military government of General Sani Abacha, all on charges widely viewed as entirely politically motivated and completely unfounded. Their executions provoked international outrage and resulted in Nigeria's suspension from the Commonwealth of Nations.