Shell, Eni regain control over Nigerian oil block after court ruling

A Nigerian court has reportedly overturned its earlier ruling on the temporary forfeiture of an offshore oil block jointly owned by Shell and Eni which they bought for $1.3 billion in 2011.

According to the Nigerian media, Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Friday upheld the application Shell and Eni had filed objecting the initial forfeiture order

To remind, the court had ordered a temporary forfeiture of the block in January, following a motion by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, and „pending conclusion of investigation and prosecution of oil companies and other individuals named in connection with acts of conspiracy, bribery, official corruption and money laundering.”

The controversial 2011 transaction has been investigated not just by the Nigerian, but also Dutch and Italian authorities, following allegations that some $800 million of the full transaction amount ended up in private pockets, and only some $200 million went to the Nigerian government.

Both Eni and Shell have been denying any wrongdoing ever since the start of the investigation.

Commenting on the ruling, a Shell spokesperson told Offshore Energy Today: “SNEPCO welcomes the outcome of the hearing on 17 March in the Federal High Court to discharge the forfeiture of OPL245.  As the case itself, relating to the 2011 settlement of the associated long-standing disputes of the offshore block, is the subject of ongoing investigations, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

Offshore Energy Today Staff