25 January 2016

Nigeria: Govt Moves to Retrieve Controversial Opl245 From Shell, Eni

There are plans by the Nigerian government to retrieve controversial and one of Africa's richest oil blocs from oil giants, Shell and Eni, Premium Times reported citing a recommendation by the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.

The online publication in the report said the oil companies will not only lose the block but also be fined billions of dollars for illegal activities should President Muhammadu Buhari approve the recommendations.

Global Witness, an independent organization investigating corruption in the extractive sectors, in a recent report said the deal is currently under investigation by authorities in the UK, Italy and Nigeria and there is a real chance the companies will lose their rights to the block, which is a critical plank in their strategy to replenish their reserves.

"In 2011, Shell and Eni paid $1.1bn for one of West Africa's largest oil fields, situated off the coast of Nigeria. The payment was equivalent to 80% of Nigeria's proposed 2015 health budget, but the money did not benefit the country's citizens.

Instead it went to a company called Malabu Oil and Gas, which was secretly owned by the former oil minister who had granted his company rights to the oil field in 1998. Like many others, this deal for a massive state asset was conducted behind closed doors, without the knowledge of the public or investors." The report said.

Spokesman for the NNPC, Ohi Alegbe said he does not have any information on the latest development of the matter.

With Agency Reports


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