The trial to determine alleged corruption involving Shell and Eni in Nigeria has been adjourned until next month after a brief procedural hearing in Milan.
The court trial will reconvene for the trial on June 20, when the court said it would assess other third party requests to join the case.
Those wishing to be involved include a number of international non-profit organisations.
The process had been slated to commence at the beginning of March, but was postponed until today.
Shell and Eni paid $1.3billion for offshore licence 245 in Nigeria, but defendants have been accused of involvement in a scheme to defraud the country of a large part of that sum.
Nigeria’s government has said funds were illegally transferred to bank accounts controlled by former oil minister Dan Tete.
Mr Tete led the company which sold the block, Malabu Oil and Gas.
Shell and Eni have denied any wrongdoing.