New analysis shows Shell and Eni deal for promising oil block reduced Nigeria’s estimated take by billions

Nigeria, 2010. Photo © Luca Tommasini/Re:Common

Shell and Eni’s deal for oil block OPL 245 reduced Nigeria’s expected revenue by an estimated $6bn in a deal for one of Africa’s most promising oil blocks, a new analysis from world-class oil experts reveals today.
The projected lost revenue could fund Nigeria’s combined annual federal health and education budgets twice over.

Download the report here:

The analysis by experts at Resources for Development Consulting was commissioned by NGOs Global Witness, HEDA, RE:Common and The Corner House.

The 2011 deal included changes to the fiscal terms governing oil production. The analysis concluded that these changes could reduce the Nigerian Government projected revenue from the oil fields by $5.86bn over the lifetime of the project when compared to the previous terms that had applied to the block assuming an oil price of $70 per barrel. Earlier terms dating from Shell’s control of the license in 2003 would still have earned Nigeria an estimated $4.5bn more in expected revenue over the block’s lifetime
The International Monetary Fund recommends that mature oil producing countries should receive 65% to 85% of oil revenues with the rest allowed to go to oil companies. The current OPL 245 deal is projected to result in Nigeria receiving just 41%.

“These companies and Nigerian officials agreed a sweetheart deal that deprives Nigeria of money it badly needs to build schools and pay doctors. President Buhari should reject any deal that leaves the OPL 245 oil license with these companies.” Said Olanrewaju Suraju of HEDA.

“Shell and Eni represented their OPL 245 contract as a production sharing agreement yet it includes no sharing of production for Nigeria. This shockingly poor deal must be cancelled.” Said Nick Hildyard of The Corner House.

“The Italian government is discouraging Nigerian migrants trying to reach Italy by claiming that it will help them at home, but Italy’s biggest multinational, part owned by the state, is accused of depriving the Nigerian people of billions. The OPL 245 scandal appears to show that Italian officials are not helping the poorest, but profiting from them”. Said Antonio Tricarico of Re:Common.

Barnaby Pace from Global Witness said, “Shell and Eni executives set the deal up so that Nigeria would earn an estimated $6bn less than it could have. This scandalous deal must be cancelled.”

Shell and Eni are currently facing bribery charges over the OPL 245 deal in a landmark trial in Milan.
The trial is continuing. Eni and Shell, together with their managers and other defendants have denied wrongdoing. Shell did not comment on the specific points put to them, saying that “issues that are under consideration as part of a trial process should be adjudicated in court” but stated “we maintain there is no basis on which to convict Shell or any of its former employees. We believe that the trial judges will conclude that there is no case for us to answer and we are vigorously defending our position accordingly”. They also disputed the methodology and alleged that wrongful factual assumptions were made but did not specify any particular error.

Eni rejected “any allegation of impropriety or irregularity”. They said in light of their ongoing trial it would be “inappropriate for us to comment on such circumstances outside the court” but did not comment on the specific points put them which other to say “the technical and contractual assumptions adopted as the basis for the analysis appear to be partial and inaccurate, if not misleading.”

Mohamed Adoke, the former Nigerian Attorney General responded to the analysis’s findings stressing that the deal was concluded following consultations with relevant ministries, no attempt was made to prevent civil servants voicing their concerns, and issues were resolved following inter-ministerial discussions. He noted that the PSA between Shell and Eni was not within his remit. He also noted that the current oil minister has reportedly written that the deal was a viable route to resolving disputes over the license. His full response can be seen on the Global Witness website.

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