OPL 245 Nigeria

Shell, Eni trial postponed to May

MILAN, March 5, 2018 – An Italian court has delayed a corruption trial of Shell and Eni executives until May 14, international media reported on Monday. 

In addition to the two companies, 13 defendants were sent to trial by an Italian judge in December 2017. Among the defendants are Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi and former chief Paolo Scaroni. The trial was set begin Monday.


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 in relation to the 2011 sale of the OPL 245 offshore block to Shell and Eni.

At the annual shareholder meeting in April 2017, Eni board chairwoman Emma Marcegaglia said the company had only ever dealt with the Nigerian government. The same month Shell issued a statement to Reuters that it knew some of the payments made for the block would go to Malabu Oil and Gas, in which former oil minister and convicted money launderer Dan Etete holds a large stake, “to settle its claim on the block.” 

In January 2017, a Nigerian court had transferred assets and operations in the OPL 245 offshore block, owned by Eni and Shell and operated by Eni, back to the government in relation to the bribery case. Eni and Shell subsequently initiated separate legal procedures to have the forfeiture declared void, and succeeded.

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