Shell has filed a criminal complaint with Dutch authorities against a former employee, Peter Robinson over the sale of a Nigerian onshore oilfield Oil Mining Lease (OML) 42 in 2011.
According to a Reuters article, the “wrongdoing” was discovered following an internal investigation by Shell. Mr Robinson is suspected of taking kickbacks on the deal to sell Shell’s stake to Neconde Energy.
About OML 42
OML 42 commenced initial production in 1969 at the Egwa field with a peak gross production rate of about 250,000 boepd in 1974. Over the last 20 years normalised production has been 100-150,000 boepd. Production is primarily oil. The block however was shut in 2006 due to security issues in the area. In February 2011, Batan and Ajuju fields were rehabilitated and re-opened by Shell (SPDC) before the divestment of 45% of its interest to Neconde, while the 55% interest belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, was assigned to NPDC, its E&P subsidiary. Effective December 2011, Neconde acquired 45% of the block, and in February 2012, the NPDC was named the Operator by the Federal Government of Nigeria. Source: Neconde
According to media reports tracked by Nairametrics, suspicions grew after Shell investigators discovered evidence of a secret Swiss Bank accounts and a company registered in Robinson’s name. Businessmen looking to secretly stash away funds obtained via criminal means are often suspected of hiding them in shell companies registered in tax havens such as Mauritius and Seychelles.
Just last December, the House of Representatives Committee on Oil and Gas vowed to issue a warrant of arrest on Managing Directors of 10 oil firms, including Neconde, if they fail to appear before the committee to account for unremitted $250 million to the Federal Government’s purse.