Royal Dutch Shell Plc's shareholders and employees as well as car owners are being called upon to back a campaign by the environmental group, Friends of the Earth Netherlands to stop Shell from flaring gas in Nigeria.

According to Bloomberg, the campaign to keep Shell from releasing gases in the air starts on April 8. 'This policy contributes substantially to the global climate problem and causes severe damage to the environment,' spokesman for Friends of the Earth,Geert Ritsema, was quoted as saying in Amsterdam.

The Hague-based Shell, has invested more than $3bn in Nigeria to cut the flaring of gas, which is pumped together with crude oil, by about 60 per cent from 2002 levels, Shell's Vice- President of communications for exploration and production, Nick Wood, said in the transcript of an August 12 Web chat. The sum included the impact of lowered output due to security issues, he said, with Shell needing to invest $3bn more to complete the programme.

Nigeria flared about 16.8 billion cubic metres of gas in 2007, second only to Russia, which burned off about 50 billion cubic meters that year, according to World Bank data. Flaring, which adds to greenhouse-gas emissions, happens where sufficient infrastructure doesn't exist to bring the fuel to consumers.

'We understand the concerns over continued flaring and share the desire to see it reduced to pilot flaring only, which is a technical safety requirement,' Shell said in an e-mailed statement. Shell Petroleum Development Company in Nigeria is 'working together with the Nigerian government to find solutions for reducing gas flaring within a reasonable timeframe,' the company added.

Shell said in the August Web chat that Nigeria might allow the burning of gas associated with oil production beyond a December deadline set by the Senate.

Shell's Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited produces about 80 percent of Nigeria's gas, according to the Anglo-Dutch company's Web site. The company would try to process more gas that was currently flared when security in the Niger Delta production area improves and militant fighting there subsides, it said.