Continuation of the legal saga of Italian oil company Eni in Nigeria. Abuja on Thursday (November 16) withdrew its civil complaints against the power producer. At the heart of this affair: an oil block on which Eni operated and around which allegations of corruption amounting to more than 1 billion dollars were made.
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Nigeria unconditionally and with immediate effect waives appeals to Italy’s highest court. No more proceedings against Eni regarding the OPL 245 oil block. It would be one of the richest concessions in the country with exploitable reserves of 560 million barrels, according to estimates by the Italian oil company.
It has been 10 years since prospecting on this oil block in the Gulf of Guinea stopped. The Nigerian government estimated in the court filing that the acquisition of OPL 245 was “ part of a corruption scheme “. He then implicated executives ofEni and Shell its Dutch partner on this project, accused of fraudulent payments to the tune of $1.1 billion. What the executives involved have always denied, some had already been acquitted before the Italian courts last year.
Although the charges have been dropped, this does not mean that operations on the OPL 245 oil block will resume any time soon, with Eni still in dispute with Nigeria before the World Bank’s dispute resolution bodies.