Nigeria plans to take back OPL 245 from Shell, Eni

There seems to be an escalation on the OPL 245 trial as Nigerian authorities plan to seize the deep water oil well from its embattled owners.

The duo of Royal Dutch Shell and Eni are enmeshed in a landmark lawsuit over allegations that the two oil giants underpaid for the oil field as well as paying bribes to Nigerian oil companies to secure the asset.

Filings at the London Court shows that 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.

London’s Financial Times reported while quoting sources that the Nigerian 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.

It would be recalled that 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.