Shell has admitted to dealing with former Nigerian Oil Minister Dan Etete in the purchase of Malabu’s Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 245 from the Nigerian government for US$1.3 billion in 2011. Dutch and Italian authorities are investigating the role of Shell and its partner Eni in the deal. Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is also pursuing a lawsuit in the country against both firms for alleged corruption regarding the same deal.
Investigations about OPL 245 will likely continue in the oil giants’ home countries Italy and the Netherlands. In the meantime, Nigerian authorities will press on with prosecution having already won a court injunction empowering the government to temporarily take control of OPL 245 until the case is settled. However, corruption cases have progressed slowly since 2015 and prosecutors have struggled to secure convictions. The OPL 245 case may be similarly affected, but the acquittal of a top judge separately accused of corruption was recently appealed, indicating that authorities will be unrelenting with the anti-corruption drive.