Shell, Eni get disputed Nigerian field back
ABUJA, March 17, 2017 – The Federal High Court of Nigeria has overturned a previous decision in January to seize a lucrative oilfield from Shell and Eni, international media reported on Friday.
The two majors are under corruption investigations in both Nigeria and Europe for their USD 1.3-billion acquisition of Block OPL 245 in 2011.
Earlier this year the block was transferred back to the Nigerian government on request of the country’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
That decision has now been struck down on appeal.
“The chairman of the EFCC failed to meet the precondition for making an application for interim attachment of properties,” Justice John Tsoho of Nigeria’s Federal High Court noted.
“So the application as such was irregular and the order granted on its basis ought to be discharged,” he was quoted as saying by Reuters.
Yet the legal battle is expected to draw out, with the Nigerian government claiming that more than USD 800 million in proceeds from the sale of the license went to bribes.
OPL 245 is estimated to hold some 9 billion barrels of oil.