Nigerian government withdraws $1.1bn OPL 245 claim against Eni

Issue 496 - 30 Nov 2023 - By James Gavin | 1 minute read

The Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) has unconditionally withdrawn civil claims totalling $1.1bn against Italian major Eni that had been lodged in Italian courts, ending a long-running legal dispute centred on corruption allegations (AE 483/25).

The administration of outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari had alleged that much of the $1.1bn originally paid by Eni and Shell to the FGN for the rights to OPL 245 had been diverted to bribes and kickbacks.

A court in Milan on 17 March had acquitted Eni and Royal Dutch Shell of corruption in the purchase of oil prospecting licence (OPL) 245 (AE 435/16).

In a statement to African Energy, Eni said it had received a letter confirming the withdrawal and said it was “the final step towards the truth”.

“No more allegations will be pending on the OPL 245 deal. Eni is now ready to consider – together with the government – the necessary steps for achieving the conversion of the licence from perspective into mining, to ensure development perspectives,” the company said.

Operations have been stalled at OPL 245 for more than a decade. Situated 150km off the Niger Delta, the area is estimated by Eni to contain recoverable reserves of 560m barrels. It also contains considerable volumes of gas (AE 451/3).

In September, Eni said it had sold its onshore exploration and production subsidiary Nigerian Agip Oil Company to local conglomerate Oando (AE 490/25).


James Gavin

Hydrocarbons editor

James commissions, reports and provides analysis on upstream and downstream hydrocarbons developments for African Energy's newsletter. Read more

James Gavin