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Nigeria opens inquiry into disputed oil field

by Mary MorleyWednesday, 14 Dec 2016, 15:08 GMT

Nigeria has opened an investigation into an offshore oil field owned by Royal Dutch Shell (LON:RDSA) and Italy’s Eni, Reuters has reported. The move comes after Dutch and Italian investigators launched their own inquiries into the oil block.

Shell’s share price has been steady in today’s session, having inched 0.26 percent higher to 2,138.50p as of 14:28 GMT. The stock is outperforming the broader London market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index having slipped marginally into the red and currently standing 0.14 percent worse off at 6,958.93 points. The group’s shares have gained more than 40 percent over the past year, as compared with about an 11.5-percent rise in the Footsie.

Reuters reported yesterday that Nigeria’s lower house had opened an investigation into an offshore oil field owned by Shell and Eni, with the move marking the latest inquiry into their acquisition of the OPL 245 license block which could hold up to 9.23 billion barrels of oil. The newswire quoted Yakubu Dogara, speaker of the country’s House of Representatives, a saying that the acquisition was a “breach of due process that resulted in monumental revenue loss to the country”. Shell acquired the block with Italy’s Eni SpA in 2011 for $1.3 billion (£901 million).

Earlier this year, Shell met with Dutch investigators who visited the group’s headquarters in The Hague in relation to a probe into the Nigerian offshore oil field. The group is also reportedly being investigated by Italian prosecutors over allegations of international corruption in relation to the OPL-245 block acquisition.

“As this matter is the subject of current investigations, it would be inappropriate for us to comment,” a spokesman for the Anglo-Dutch group told Reuters yesterday.

As of 15:09 GMT, Wednesday, 14 December, Royal Dutch Shell Plc ‘A’ share price is 2,136.50p.

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