Tinubu Orders Speedy Resolution of $1.3 Billion OML 245 Oil Block Dispute

President Bola Tinubu has instructed key government officials to expedite the resolution of court cases surrounding the contentious $1.3 billion deep-water OML 245 oil block situated in the Niger Delta region.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri, along with the Attorney-General of the Federation, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), and several government agencies, including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), have been tasked with clearing the legal hurdles.

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Sen. Lokpobiri explains the OML 245 Case

Sen. Lokpobiri disclosed on Wednesday in Abuja that negotiations were underway among the involved parties to bring an end to the 28-year crisis and litigations surrounding the highly lucrative OML 245 oil block by next month.

History of the OML 245 Dispute

Tinubu Orders Resolution of $1.3 Billion OML 245 Oil Block Dispute dan etete
Dan Etete

The saga dates back to 1998 when Malabu Oil and Gas, linked to former Nigerian Minister of Petroleum Dan Etete, acquired the oil block for $2 million. Subsequent legal battles ensued, including the 2001 revocation of Malabu’s license by the Federal Government due to questionable practices.

In 2006, an out-of-court settlement was reached between Malabu and the Nigerian government during President Umaru Yar’Adua’s administration.

In 2011, Shell and Eni reportedly acquired the block for $1.3 billion, sparking allegations of corruption and bribery.

Transparency International and other anti-corruption groups raised concerns, leading to litigations involving Nigeria versus Eni and Shell.

Under former President Muhammadu Buhari, the Nigerian government pursued legal action against the companies and Malabu.

Sen. Lokpobiri explained the challenges faced by the government in various international courts, citing a penalty of over 70 million pounds imposed by JP Morgan. He emphasized the economic potential of the idle OML 245 block and highlighted ongoing efforts to negotiate a resolution with Eni and Shell.

The minister underscored the importance of resolving the prolonged issue, considering its impact on the economy and the financial burden imposed by legal penalties.

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