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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.

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Shell Sinking in OPL 245 Quicksand

By John Donovan

Did Shell senior management and their spook advisors really think that it was possible to get into bed with a shyster such as Dan Etete and remain uncontaminated?

There were too many crooks, too many players and too much money involved to keep the $1bn plus OPL 245 deal secret. It was only a matter of time before the corruption scandal was bound to unravel.

The facts emerged gradually, in various litigation, in multiple jurisdictions, including the USA, mainly over the division of the spoils.

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Shell oil sands exit, mired in OPL 245 scandal, wary over Iranian Oil

Links below to a selection of news stories posted on
our sister website royaldutchshellgroup.com.

They include, among other developments, news that Shell is rightly wary of buying more Iranian crude oil. This is because of the legal minefield relating to sanctions. 

Also coverage of the latest news about the OPL 245 Nigerian corruption scandal involving Shell and ENI.

Plus Shell’s fire sale of most of its Canadian oil sands operations and the jump in total pay for Shell CEO Ben van Beurden, an issue likely to be raised at the forthcoming AGM. 

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NEW SHELL MI6 SPY POPS UP IN OPL 245 ARTICLE

A new name, Ian McCredie – another former MI6 spy who once worked for Shell – has popped up in an article about the Nigerian OPL 245 corruption scandal engulfing Shell and ENI. See: How Shell used former British spies to gather intelligence while negotiating purchase of OPL 245

The article says in relation to the Malabu oil scam, that Shell set up an intelligence network made up of some of Europe’s top spies. Former British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) agents, including Guy Colegate and John Copleston, are identified as members of the Shell Intelligence Network Committee (SINC) “set up by Ian McCredie, a respected spy.”  The article goes on to say that there is no suggestion of any wrongdoing by him.

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LEAKED EMAILS SHOW SHELL AND ENI CONSPIRING TO HIDE PAYMENT IN CORRUPT OPL 245 DEAL


Global Witness has published leaked emails between Eni and Shell officials conspiring to arrange the OPL 245 deal

Italian prosecutors are seeking separate charges against four senior Shell executives including current Shell Foundation Chairman Malcolm Brinded, who was head of Global Exploration and Production at the time of deal.

3rd March 2017

Oil giants Shell and Eni face historic criminal charges over a tainted $1.1 billion deal struck for Nigerian oil block OPL 245 in 2011, Global Witness reported today.  According to charges filed by Nigerian law enforcement agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at the High Court in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, Eni, Eni’s Nigerian subsidiary Nigerian Agip Exploration Limited and Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Company Limited are accused of conspiring to commit “Official Corruption contrary to Section 9 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000”. Former Nigerian Justice Minister Mohammed Adoke and former Oil Minister Dan Etete were also charged with official corruption for recieving over $800m from Shell and Eni. This is the first time that the two oil companies have been charged in Nigeria for their role in the deal.

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Italian prosecutors seek trial of Shell Foundation Chairman Malcolm Brinded on OPL 245 Corruption Charges

ITALIAN PROSECUTORS SHOW ALL EQUAL BEFORE THE LAW AS THEY REQUEST TRIAL OF SHELL, ENI, SENIOR EXECUTIVES AND FORMER NIGERIAN OFFICIAL FOR CORRUPTION OFFENCES OVER OPL 245 DEAL

9th February 2017 – Sources close to Italian law enforcement today confirmed that they have requested that Shell, Eni and several Eni senior executives including the current CEO Claudio Descalzi, be sent to trial for alleged international corruption offences over the 2011 purchase of the massive Nigerian OPL 245 oil block. Italian prosecutors also requested that former Nigerian Oil Minister Dan Etete and several other individuals be sent to trial, and are seeking separate charges against four senior Shell executives including the current Shell Foundation Chairman Malcolm Brinded, who at the time of deal was head of Global Exploration and Production.

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Royal Dutch Shell Breaking News 31 Jan 2017

Links below are to some of the current news stories posted on our sister website royaldutchshellgroup.com covering, among other developments, an article published today by The Wall Street Journal under the headline: Corruption Currents: Nigeria to Charge Shell, Eni in Oil-Graft Scandal.

There is also news that Shell has sold a stake in a Thailand gas field and is selling more North Sea assets, all part of the fire sale necessary for funding the takeover of the BG Group. Also, some previews of Shell’s imminent fourth quarter results.

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NIGERIAN AUTHORITIES SEIZE BILLION DOLLAR OIL BLOCK FROM SHELL AND ENI


STATEMENT BY GLOBAL WITNESS

Nigeria’s anti-corruption law enforcement agency, the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has secured a court order in the Federal High Court of Abuja mandating the return of oil block OPL 245 to the Government, following an investigation into corruption allegations over how the deal was done. The historic news shows exactly why a landmark transparency rule now under threat from Republican lawmakers in the US is so important.

In 2011, Shell and Eni paid $1.1 billion to Malabu Oil and Gas, a front company secretly owned by a former Nigerian oil minister  This crooked deal deprived Nigeria’s people of a sum worth 80% of its 2015 healthcare budget. Shell and Eni have always denied that they knew the money would go to Malabu, but documents seen by Global Witness show that the companies constructed the deal knowing that the money would flow ultimately to Etete’s company. The block in has been estimated to hold as much as 9.23 billion barrels in probable reserves, investors face substantial losses from a backroom deal they knew nothing about.

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ENI AND SHELL TO BE PROSECUTED OVER OPL 245 $1.1 BILLION CORRUPTION SCANDAL

By John Donovan: 24 December 2016

A translation of a 12-page final report by Italian prosecutors reveals that following an extensive investigation, they intend to prosecute ENI and their apparent accomplice Shell for their roles in the OPL 245 $1.1 billion corruption scandal.

ENI seems to have been the lead partner in crime.

The following extracts are from an article published today by PremiumTimes.

The investigations also revealed that contrary to claims by Shell and Eni, officials of the Italian firm negotiated with former Nigerian petroleum minister, Dan Etete, and definitely knew the money they were paying to the Nigerian government would end up in Malabu accounts controlled by him.

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Explosive allegations around Shell and Eni’s OPL 245 deal

The Italian paper Il Fatto has published a piece with some explosive allegations about the OPL 245 deal being made by the Milan prosecutors’ at the conclusion of their investigation into Eni and Shell’s role in the OPL 245 case.

Pdf of the related Milan prosecutors notice OPL 245 investigation

Comments on this development are as follows: 

“Shady deals allow corrupt elites to profit at the expense of ordinary citizens.  Shell and Eni now have to answer to the Italian courts, the public and their shareholders for their part in the corrupt deal for OPL 245 – oil companies can’t get away with this kind of behaviour any longer” said Barnaby Pace, Campaigner at Global Witness. 

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Nigerian authorities bring money laundering charges against former Nigerian Oil Minister Etete and former Justice Minister Adoke over OPL 245 oil deal

“Shell has insisted that they did not pay Malabu directly and that all payments went to an escrow account held by the Government of Nigeria.”

22 December 2016

The Nigerian law enforcement agency, the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) has charged the former Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke (2010-2015) and former Minister of Petroleum, Dan Etete (1995-1998) with money laundering. The case centres on the 2011 sale of the Nigerian oil license OPL 245, after years of investigation by NGOs Global Witness, Re: Common and Corner House into the deal. 

“We applaud the Nigerian authorities for fighting back against corruption without fear or favour, making sure there are real consequences for taking part in shady deals like with OPL 245.” said Simon Taylor, Global Witness Director. 

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THE OPL 245 SCANDAL INVOLVING SHELL

By John Donovan

Following the raids earlier this year by Italian law officials on the headquarters of Eni in Milan and Royal Dutch Shell in The Hague, I was advised by a Shell insider that this subject, above all others, is the one of most concern to Shell senior management.

Now we have news that Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency – The Economic and Financial Crimes Commision – has just filed fresh proceedings.

Investigations are already underway in a number of countries, including the UK and the United States.

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