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Investigators visit Shell offices over Nigerian oil block probe


Shell logosRoyal Dutch Shell Plc’s headquarters were visited by Dutch investigators as part of a probe into the acquisition of an oil license in Nigeria.

“Representatives of the Dutch Financial Intelligence and Investigation Service and the Dutch Public Prosecutor recently visited Shell at its headquarters in The Hague,” the company said Wednesday in an e-mailed statement. “Shell is cooperating with the authorities and is looking into the allegations.”

Shell and Italian oil company Eni SpA acquired block OPL 245 off Nigeria for $1.1 billion in 2011. The deal was challenged two years later by a Nigerian parliamentary committee, which recommended revoking the rights after finding the acquisition process “highly flawed.” Eni Chief Executive Officer Claudio Descalzi was subsequently investigated for his role in the purchase.

“Authorities in various countries are investigating our investment in Nigerian oil block OPL 245,” Shell said in its annual report published this month.

Italy is probing alleged corruption in the deal, Corriere della Sera reported Wednesday. Shell didn’t immediately comment on the report and an Eni representative couldn’t be reached.

Shell and Eni each own 50 percent of the block in the Niger Delta. The block holds “significant discovered hydrocarbon reserves and is thought to be very prospective,” consultants Wood Mackenzie Ltd. said in a report last year.

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