Malabu: Nigerian Government wins back OPL 245
The Federal government of Nigeria has gained back ownership of OPL 245 nineteen years
after it was awarded to Malabu Oil & Gas, under the General Sani Abacha government.
According to reports monitored by this medium, the Economic and Financial Crimes
Commission (EFCC) got a court order authorizing the return of the oil block to the federal
government pending the conclusion of investigations.
It would be recall that OPL 245 became the subject of investigation in at least five
countries in 2011, after Shell and Italian oil major, Eni, paid about $1.1billion into the
government account in London to take control of the oil block.
More than 70% of the funds were then transferred controversially into Malabu
accounts controlled by Dan Etete, who was the petroleum minister from 1995 to 1998.
Etete afterwards transferred over half of what he got into accounts of fake companies
allegedly controlled by one Aliyu Abubakar, who was believed to have acted as a front for
politically exposed persons as well as former President Goodluck Jonathan and his attorney
general, Mohammed Adoke, as well as Shell and Eni staff.
The EFCC in December filed charges against Etete, Abubakar, and Adoke and a week
after, Italian prosecutors also filed charges against Shell, Eni, officials, and Etete for their
roles in the scandal.
OPL 245 is considered the largest oil block in Africa with over 9 billion barrels of
crude. The block is located in Niger Delta and is thought to be very prospective. Two oil and
gas discoveries; Etan and Zabazaba, have been made on this block.