Last week, a Federal High Court in Abuja ordered the interim forfeiture of the oil block to the Federal Government pending investigation and prosecution of suspects in the $1.1bn Malabu oil scam following an ex-parte application moved by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
The OPL 245, an oil field believed to be the largest in Africa, was said have been fraudulently acquired from the Federal Government by Malabu Oil and Gas Limited in 1998 and afterwards sold to Shell and Eni in what has been described as a shady transaction.
The oil block, which was awarded by the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dan Etete, to Malabu Oil and Gas, a company in which he was a shareholder, was sold to Shell and Eni in 2011.
Shell, in its fourth-quarter and full-year results released on Thursday, said, “On January 27, 2017, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited became aware of an Interim Order of Attachment issued by the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, attaching the property known as Oil Prospecting Licence 245, which is held jointly by SNEPCo and Nigerian Agip Exploration Limited, pending the conclusion of the investigation into alleged corruption, bribery and money laundering in respect of the 2011 settlement related to OPL 245.
“SNEPCo made an application on January 31, 2017 to discharge the order on constitutional and procedural grounds.”
According to the results, the Shell’s total production in Nigeria fell to an average of 125,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day last year, compared to 160,000 boepd in 2015 and 205,000 boepd in 2014.
Its liquids production available for sale in Nigeria during the year stood at 32,000 barrels per day, down from an average of 68,000 bpd in 2015.
The oil major put its natural gas production available for sale in Nigeria at 601 million standard cubic feet per day at the end of the fourth quarter, up from 407 million scfpd in the previous quarter.
It said its global oil and gas production for the fourth quarter 2016 was 3.905 million boepd, an increase of 28 per cent compared with the fourth quarter 2015.