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SHELL’S ROLE IN CORRUPT NIGERIAN OPL 245 OIL DEAL

OPL 235 related extracts from an article published by THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH on 6 Oct 2019: “The West puts the brakes on dictators’ ill-gotten gains”

By Adrian Blomfield AFRICA CORRESPONDENT: 6 Oct 2019

One case more than any other has galvanised Western action against African corruption. Deepwater OPL245, a 617-square-mile-stretch of territory that contains within it a potential £500 billion fortune, is known as the Eldorado of Africa: an estimated nine billion barrels of recoverable oil buried under the sea off Nigeria’s coastline.

For a country with the highest rates of extreme poverty in the world, it should have been a huge windfall.

Instead, according to prosecutors in Nigeria and Italy, the block was essentially stolen – twice.

In 1998, Dan Etete, then the country’s oil minister, allegedly awarded the rights of OPL245 to himself. Then, in 2011, he is accused of being involved in illegally selling it on to Royal Dutch Shell and Eni, the Italian oil major for £l.l billion.

But instead of the money being paid into the Nigerian treasury, court papers filed in London this year by the Nigerian government say most of it was divvied up by Mr Etete and senior politicians, including Goodluck Jonathan, the then president. The OPL245 affair prompted investigations in the United States, Switzerland, Britain (which seized £59 million connected to the scandal and returned it to Nigeria) and the Netherlands.

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