123 total views, 2 views today
Nigeria is seeking damages as well as a declaration that it has the right to revoke the licence for a multibillion-dollar oil block granted to Royal Dutch Shell and Eni, in an escalation of a long-running dispute between Africa’s largest crude producer and two of its biggest foreign investors.
The government “seeks to trace and recover the money paid as bribes” and an entitlement “to rescind the grant of the OPL 245 licence”, a prized exploration and production block that Shell and Eni bought in a 2011 deal, the government said in a legal claim filed in April.
The Anglo-Dutch and Italian companies paid $1.3bn for the block, but Nigeria believes the undeveloped deepwater block could be worth at least $3.5bn and damages should now be calculated on that basis, documents filed in the commercial division of the High Court in London said.
In his first comments since the documents were released by the court, Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, Nigeria’s minister of state for petroleum, said the government was simply keeping all options open.
“If we come back and find that the parties were not transparent, and this wasn’t awarded transparently, then obviously the government has an option to decide to pull that [licence] back,” he said.
Mr Kachikwu said the government was focused on reaching a resolution to the dispute. “The participants in this are