OPL 245: Shell Annual Report 2018: NIGERIAN LITIGATION 

In February 2019, we were informed by the Dutch Public Prosecutor’s Office (DPP) that they are nearing the conclusion of their investigation and are preparing to prosecute Royal Dutch Shell plc for criminal charges directly or indirectly related to the 2011 settlement of disputes over OPL 245 in Nigeria. Investigations by authorities in other jurisdictions are ongoing.

Any violation of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act or other relevant anti-bribery, anti-corruption or anti-money laundering legislation could have a material adverse effect on Royal Dutch Shell plc’s earnings, cash flows and financial condition.

Shell Annual Report 2018: NIGERIAN LITIGATION

NIGERIAN LITIGATION
Shell subsidiaries and associates operating in Nigeria are parties to various environmental and contractual disputes brought in the courts of Nigeria, England and the Netherlands. These disputes are at different stages in litigation, including at the appellate stage, where judgements have been rendered against Shell entities. If taken at face value, the aggregate amount of these judgements could be seen as material. Management, however, believes that the outcomes of these matters will ultimately be resolved in a manner favourable to Shell. However, there remains a high degree of uncertainty regarding these cases, as well as their potential effect on future operations, earnings, cash flows and Shell’s financial condition.

The authorities in various countries are investigating Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Ltd.’s (SNEPCO’s) investment in Nigerian oil block OPL 245 and the 2011 settlement of litigation pertaining to that block with regard to potential anti-bribery, anti-corruption and anti-money laundering laws.

On January 27, 2017, the Nigeria Federal High Court issued an Interim Order of Attachment for Oil Prospecting Licence 245 (OPL 245), pending the conclusion of the investigation. SNEPCO applied for and was granted a discharge of this order on constitutional and procedural grounds. Also in Nigeria, in March 2017 criminal charges alleging official corruption and conspiracy to commit official corruption were filed against SNEPCO, one current Shell employee and third parties including ENI SpA and one of its subsidiaries. Those proceedings are ongoing. In March 2017, parties alleging to be shareholders of Malabu Oil and Gas Company Ltd. (Malabu) filed two actions to challenge the 2011 settlement and the award of OPL 245 to SNEPCO and an ENI SpA subsidiary by the Federal Government of Nigeria. Those proceedings are also ongoing. On May 8, 2018, Human Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) sought permission from the Federal High Court of Nigeria to apply for an order to direct the Attorney General of the Federation to revoke OPL 245 on grounds that the entire Malabu transaction in relation to the OPL is unconstitutional, illegal and void as it was obtained through fraudulent and corrupt practice. On October 4, 2018, SNEPCO was joined as a defendant in the HEDA action. Those proceedings are ongoing. In March 2016, the Nigeria House of Representatives (HoR) announced it was going to conduct a third investigation into OPL 245. SNEPCO sought and was granted an interlocutory injunction preventing the HoR from investigating SNEPCO, as such an investigation was beyond the legal powers of the HoR and the matter was under judicial consideration. On July 2, 2018, the court issued a decision in favour of SNEPCO granting all the reliefs sought including a declaration that the HoR does not have powers to investigate the OPL 245 award and a perpetual injunction to restrain the HoR from continuing with the investigations or compelling SNEPCO’s participation in the investigations. On December 12, 2018, the Federal Republic of Nigeria issued a claim form in the UK against RDS and six subsidiaries, ENI SpA and two of its subsidiaries, Malabu as well as two other entities for the amount of $1,092 million plus damages for having participated in a fraudulent and corrupt scheme leading to the acquisition by Shell and ENI corporate defendants in 2011 of OPL 245.

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTS SHELL ANNUAL REPORT AND FORM 20-F 2018 212

The Shell entities have yet to be served with the proceedings. On February 14, 2017, Royal Dutch Shell plc received a notice of request for indictment from the Milan public prosecutor with respect to this matter. On December 20, 2017, Royal Dutch Shell plc along with four former Shell employees including one former executive were remanded to trial in Milan. On May 14, 2018, a trial commenced in the Court of Milan and is ongoing. On September 18, 2018, RDS was joined to the proceedings as the civilly responsible party (responsabile civile) for the damages caused by the alleged illegal acts of the four former Shell employees. Three other Shell entities (Shell UK Ltd, SPDC and SEPA) also joined the proceedings but were denied status as responsabile civile for their respective former employees at this phase of the proceedings. Based on Shell’s review of the Prosecutor of Milan’s file and all the information and facts currently available to Shell, management does not believe that there is a basis to convict Shell in Milan. Furthermore, management is not aware of any evidence to convict any former or current Shell employee in Milan. On September 20, 2018, a guilty judgement was filed by the Milan Judge of the Preliminary Hearing in a separate OPL 245 fast track trial of two individuals, neither of whom worked on behalf of Shell. That decision is under appeal.

In February 2019, we were informed by the Dutch Public Prosecutor’s Office (DPP) that they are nearing the conclusion of their investigation and are preparing to prosecute Royal Dutch Shell plc for criminal charges directly or indirectly related to the 2011 settlement of disputes over OPL 245 in Nigeria. Investigations by authorities in other jurisdictions are ongoing.

There remains a high degree of uncertainty around the OPL 245 matters and contingencies discussed above, as well as their potential effect on future operations, earnings, cash flows and Shell’s financial condition. Accordingly, at this time, it is not practicable to estimate the magnitude and timing of any possible obligations or payments. Any violation of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act or other relevant anti-bribery, anti-corruption or anti-money laundering legislation could have a material adverse effect on Royal Dutch Shell plc’s earnings, cash flows and financial condition.

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