Shell in Trouble As Nigeria Moves to Withdraw Opl 245

The Nigerian government is set to retrieve one of Africa's richest oil blocs from oil giants, Shell and Eni, PREMIUM TIMES has learnt. Not only will the two oil giants lose OPL 245, should President Muhammadu Buhari approve the recommendations, they will also be fined billions of dollars for illegal activities, including paying money to fraudulent public officials and private citizens in order to secure the bloc. The retrieval of the controversial oil bloc, estimated to contain about 9 billion barrels of crude, as well as placing heavy fines on the oil giants, is contained in a far-reaching recommendation by the office of the Director of Public Prosecution, DPP, Mohammed Diri.

The recommendation was at the instance of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, who is set to advise the federal government on how to proceed on a controversial deal that is being investigated by authorities in four different countries. In arriving at its recommendations, the DPP committee, which included lawyers from his office, called for the cancellation of the 'settlement agreement' that ceded the oil bloc to Shell and Eni.

The 'Settlement Agreement' Made on April 29, 2011, the settlement deal is made up of three different 'Resolution agreement' signed by the parties involved in the OPL 245 saga. The first, titled "BLOCK 245 MALABU RESOLUTION AGREEMENT" was signed between representatives of the federal government and those of Malabu, which was represented during the discussions by a former petroleum minister, Dan Etete. The second agreement, titled "BLOCK 245 RESOLUTION AGREEMENT" was between the Nigerian government and officials of Shell and Eni/AGIP; while the third agreement, titled "BLOCK 245 SNUD RESOLUTION AGREEMENT", was signed by officials of the Nigerian government and Shell.

The immediate past attorney general of the federation, Mohammed Adoke, and immediate past petroleum minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke signed all the agreements on behalf of the federal government. Both are among officials being investigated by Nigeria's foremost anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, for their roles in the scam.