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OPL 245: A falling out of thieves

The unbecoming squabbling between the crooks involved in the OPL 245 corruption scandal has taken a new turn.

Malabu Oil and Gas has filed a lawsuit in the Nigerian Federal High Court against the Nigerian Federal Government and six other parties involved in the $1bn plus scandal. 

The new action arises from the Nigerian court decision a few days ago to pass ownership of the OPL 245 block back to Shell and Eni/Agip. 

The defendants include: 

  • Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited
  • Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited
  • Nigerian Agip Exploration Company Limited
  • Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)
  • Former Petroleum Minister, Dan Etete
  • The Nigerian Minster of Petroleum

I have not indicated which parties are honest and which are crooks. It is impractical to do so because, in matters involving Nigeria, it is sometimes difficult to separate one from the other, bearing in mind that three Nigerian Presidents have all been implicated in the amazing unsavoury spectacle. The judiciary is also riddled with corruption.

A perfect climate for Shell to operate since it first began to exploit Nigerian hydrocarbon riches and its people several decades ago, leaving a trail of violence, corruption and toxic environmental contamination in its wake.

 RELATED

OPL 245: Malabu oil sues FG: 19 March 2017

The expanding Malabu quagmire: 19 March 2017

Extract

IT will get to a point where OPL 245, the lucrative oil block with multiple, feuding owners, will not even recognise itself, not to talk of its owners. The block, believed to contain more than nine billion barrels of crude oil and much more natural gas, has an illustrious and convoluted history that began controversially in 1998 when the Gen Sani Abacha government awarded it to Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd, a company in which an Abacha son, a diplomat, and oil minister at the time, Dan Etete, had interests. In 2002, it was revoked by the Olusegun Obasanjo presidency and awarded to Shell, thereby prompting Malabu to sue the government and the new owners. To settle out of court, the oil block was again revoked and given back to Malabu in 2006. Naturally Shell also went to court, and in 2011 the block reverted to Shell which paid $1.3bn to the Nigerian government, $1.1bn of which was transferred to Malabu. Dizzying, complex back and forth, and labyrinthine.

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