Shell and Eni today reiterated that they did not make fraudulent payments when buying a Nigerian oil field in 2010-11.
According to a joint investigation by BuzzFeed News and Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, documents show the two firms knew payments worth hundreds of millions of dollars would go to Malabu Oil and Gas, a front company connected to former Nigerian oil minister Dan Etete.
A spokesman for Eni told Reuters today: “Neither Eni nor Shell paid any monies other than as contemplated and recorded by the Block Resolution Agreement and did not pay to Malabu, to Chief Dan Etete or to any public officer.”
Shell said: “Based on our review of the Prosecutor of Milan’s file and all of the information and facts available to Shell, we do not believe that there is a basis to prosecute Shell. Furthermore, we are not aware of any evidence to support a case against any former or current Shell employee.”
Courts in Nigeria and Italy are investigating the 2011 purchase of block OPL 245, which is thought to hold more than nine billion barrels of oil.
A Nigerian court confiscated the block in January, but the seizure was later overturned.