From the Field
Nigeria sues Shell, Eni over OPL 245
ABUJA, December 13, 2018 – The Nigerian government has filed a USD 1.1-billion lawsuit against Royal Dutch Shell and Eni in a London commercial court over the OPL 245 deal, international media reported Thursday.
“It is alleged that purchase monies purportedly paid to the Federal Republic of Nigeria were in fact immediately paid through to a company controlled by Dan Etete, formerly the Nigerian minister of petroleum, and used for, amongst other things, bribes and kickbacks,” the government said in a statement cited by Reuters.
The two companies and 13 defendants are currently being tried in Italy on corruption charges related to the deal. Among the defendants are Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi and former chief Paolo Scaroni. Malcolm Brinded, former executive director for upstream international; Peter Robinson, former vice-president for Shell’s sub-Saharan Africa operations; Guy Colegate, a business adviser; and John Copleston, a strategic investment adviser, were all charged with bribery in October. Shell and Eni both deny wrongdoing.
In September, Emeka Obi and Gianluca Di Nardo were sentenced to four years in prison for their role as go-betweens in the 2011 sale of the OPL 245 offshore block to Shell and Eni.
Last month, Global Witness released a report alleging that the OPL 245 deal with Shell and Eni cost Nigeria USD 6 billion in future revenues.