A new report alleges that Shell and Eni benefited ‘at the expense’ of the Nigerian people in a generous military-style contact in 2011.
Analysis from non-profit watchdog Global Witness suggests the firms signed a “Sole Risk” contract, which gave away Nigeria’s right to its share of the oil produced in the $1.1bn deal.
Court cases are underway into allegations of bribery in the deal for the OPL 245 license, which holds one of the country’s largest oil fields.
Both firms deny the allegations.
Global Witness said the contract resembles those granted only to Nigerian companies during military rule in Nigeria’s Deep Water.
Italian prosecutors claim the cash was used to make large bribes to Nigerian officials, including former oil minister Dan Etete.
Global Witness’ report also claims the deal restricted the Nigerian state’s ability to buy their rights back.
Shell and Eni said they would not disclose information which is sensitive to legal proceedings.
OPL 245 was originally awarded in 1998 by Nigeria’s military dictator, Sani Abacha, to Malabu Oil, which his family-owned with then-Oil Minister Etete.
Under successive governments, the license was canceled, awarded to Shell, and then awarded to Malabu again before the 2011 deal.