Thursday, February 1, 2024

Nigeria seeks to resolve disputed oilfield issues, denies criminal liability

Nigeria wants to resolve outstanding issues around the disputed OPL 245 oil block as it seeks to attract investment to its oil and gas industry and has held talks with Shell and Eni to discuss the matter, its oil minister said on Wednesday.

Minister of State for Petroleum Heineken Lokpobiri reiterated the government's position that there was no criminal liability on its part, or by the other parties, in the oil block deal, which has been embroiled in litigation for years.

Nigeria in November, withdrew a $1.1 billion civil claim against Shell (SHEL.L) and Eni related to allegations of corruption in the deal, ending all litigation around the oil asset.

An Italian court in 2021 acquitted Shell, Eni, the operator of the block, and company executives of corruption allegations in the acquisition of the field a decade earlier.

"For 28 years, there has been no investment there. Nobody has benefited from the block," Lokpobiri told reporters. "The President in his wisdom directed that we should resolve the problems around OPL 245."

Lokpobiri said the government is committed to resolving the issues surrounding OPL 245 in a way that benefits all parties and has held meetings, including in London last week, with Shell and Eni to discuss the matter.

Shell and Eni did not immediately respond to requests for comment. 

By Camillus Eboh, Reuters

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