Dutch prosecutor preparing criminal charges against Shell over Nigerian license deal

Shell Logo / Image source: Shell/Flickr – Shared under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license

Dutch Public Prosecutor’s Office is preparing to bring criminal charges against Anglo-Dutch oil major Shell over the company’s involvement in oil block OPL 245 located offshore Nigeria.

The case is related to Shell and Eni’s acquisition of an offshore block in Nigeria in 2011.

Shell said on Friday it had been informed by the Dutch Public Prosecutor’s Office that they were nearing the conclusion of their investigation and were preparing to prosecute Royal Dutch Shell plc for criminal charges directly or indirectly related to the 2011 settlement of disputes over Oil Prospecting License 245 (OPL 245) in Nigeria.

“As appropriate, we will provide updates as this matter progresses,” Shell added in the brief statement on Friday.

Shell is already facing charges for bribery at a Milan court related to the same deal together with Italian oil major Eni.

Eni and Shell jointly bought the block in question in 2011 for more than one billion U.S. dollars. In 2014, the Milan Prosecutor’s office launched an investigation to see where the payment went and whether Eni and Shell knew, as it has been alleged, that the money didn’t end up in the state coffers but was passed on further to the former oil minister Dan Etete.

The OPL 245 license had been owned by Malabu oil company, allegedly secretly owned by Etete. The allegations are that the Nigerian government gave the license to Shell and Eni for more than a billion dollars, and then passed the cash further to Malabu, that is, Etete.

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

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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