JUST IN: Court returns OPL 245 to Shell, ENI

John Tsoho, justice of the federal high court, Abuja, has reversed his order revoking OPL 245, an oil block, from Shell Nigeria Limited and Eni.

Shell and Eni had filed an application seeking the vacation of the order of interim forfeiture of OPL 245, which is considered as Nigeria’s largest oil block.

On Monday, the judge had adjourned the case to Friday after Malabu Oil and Gas filed an application to join the matter.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had ?got an order for the forfeiture of the oil block.

The agency had asked the court to temporarily return OPL 245 to the government while it continued its investigation? of alleged corruption in the sale of the block.

But on Friday, the court reversed the order, and it also refused the application of Malabu Oil and Gas to join the matter.

In 1998, Dan Etete, who was then the minister of petroleum, had awarded the lucrative licence to Malabu, where he had stakes.

The sale to Malabu was nullified by Obasanjo in 1999 and assigned to Shell — without a public bid.

Ownership was suspiciously reverted to Malabu thereafter, leading to legal action by Shell who later resorted to negotiating directly with Etete after President Goodluck Jonathan assumed office in 2010.

A year later, the $1.3 billion deal was struck, with Malabu getting $1.1 billion from Shell and Eni to its transfer ownership, while the signature bonus was paid to Nigeria.

In the deal finally consummated in 2011, only $210 million of the $1.3 billion paid by Shell and Eni for the block went into federal government coffers as “signature bonus”.


Source: The Cable

EFCC files corruption charges against Shell, Eni over $1.3 billion offshore block deal

Nigeria’s anti-graft agency on Thursday filed corruption charges against oil majors Shell and Eni over a $1.3 billion offshore block deal.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) accused 11 defendants of “official corruption”, according to court documents.

Shell, Eni and Agip, Eni’s Nigerian subsidiary, are alleged to have corruptly given the “aggregate sum of $801 million” to Nigerian businessmen and politicians. This is the latest probe into the controversial 2011 oil deal that highlights endemic corruption within the sector.

Italian prosecutors are also looking into the purchase of the OPL 245 block prospecting license. OPL 245 is located in deep offshore waters in the Gulf of Guinea estimated to hold at least 9 billion barrels of crude reserves.Oil majors Shell and Eni have both denied wrongdoing.

“Eni did not do anything wrong,” said the chief executive of Eni Claudio Descalzi to the Financial Times in February.

“At every stage, we have acted in compliance with all applicable law?.?.?.?Eni and Shell paid the government of Nigeria, and were not involved with the government decision on how to use such money.”

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari secured a historic first win for an opposition leader when he defeated Goodluck Jonathan in the 2015 presidential elections. He campaigned on a platform to target rampant corruption and has said “mind-boggling” sums have been stolen from the public purse.

His government has arrested a series of high-ranking officials from Jonathan’s administration on corruption charges but few have been convicted.


Source: The Guardian

Malabu: Eni denies involvement in ‘corrupt conduct’, clears CEO.

ENI, also known as the Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited, has said the transactions leading up to the auctioning of $1,616,690,656.78 Malabu oil block were not fraudulent.

The board of directors of the oil firm made this known in a statement on Wednesday.

ENI said that an independent US law firm had conducted forensic investigations into the block and returned a “not guilty verdict”.

It said that neither the company nor its CEO Claudio Descalzi were involved in alleged illicit conduct.

“Eni’s Board of Directors today takes note of the outcome of further forensic investigations into the 2011 transaction between Eni and Shell and the Nigerian Government for the acquisition of the OPL 245 licence in Nigeria,” the statement read.

“The investigations were conducted by an independent US law firm. They were commissioned by Eni’s Board of Statutory Auditors and Watch Structure.

“The investigations examined the new materials and further information filed by the Milan prosecutors as part of the closure of the investigation in December 2016.

“The law firm confirms the conclusions reached by previous investigations in 2015, stating that there is no evidence of corrupt conduct in relation to the transaction. Eni’s Board of Directors confirmed its total confidence that neither the company nor its CEO Claudio Descalzi were involved in alleged illicit conduct under investigation.”

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, in response to a court order, had seized the oil block pending the conclusion of investigation of the deal.

The oil firms are Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited (SNEPCO), Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited, and Malabu Oil and Gas Limited.


Source: The Cable

Italian oil firm ENI signs MoU with NNPC to refurbish Port Harcourt refinery.

Plans are underway by the Italy-owned international oil company, ENI, to refurbish the Port Harcourt refinery.

In a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the oil firm and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in Rome, Italy, yesterday, the company would also build the phase two of the Okpai Power Plant.

A statement by the Director, Press, Ministry of Petroleum, Idang Alibi, quoted the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, who is in Rome, as urging international oil Companies (IoCs) to invest in building refineries in Nigeria.

The minister stated that the major plan of the Federal Government is to stop importation of petroleum products in the long term and that it would be expedient that every IoC should invest in building a refinery with a chain of distributions.

Kachikwu assured that if IoCs build refineries within a short period of time, investment in the venture could be recouped by direct sales model.

He explained that the government desires to upgrade old refineries and build new ones, thus increasing local production capacity with an objective to reduce importation of petroleum products by 60 per cent in 2018, and by 2019 to become a net exporter of petroleum products and value-added petrochemicals.

In continuation of the ongoing investment drive in Italy, Kachikwu would also be meeting the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Economic Development of Italy to formalise the new trend of cooperation between oil majors and Nigeria.


Source: Guardian

ENI Boss in International Corruption Mess for Nigerian Oil Deal


The chief executive of the Italian oil and natural gas company (ENI), Claudio Descalzi, is being investigated over international corruption allegations.

Descalzi is facing questions about a large Nigerian oil deal. The company said in a statement that “it is cooperating with the Milan prosecutor’s office” and that it “continues to deny any illegal conduct”.

However, trading shares in the company this afternoon had dropped to 2%, Thursday afternoon.