Adekunle Ade- Adeleye: March 19, 2017
IT will get to a point where OPL 245, the lucrative oil block with multiple, feuding owners, will not even recognise itself, not to talk of its owners. The block, believed to contain more than nine billion barrels of crude oil and much more natural gas, has an illustrious and convoluted history that began controversially in 1998 when the Gen Sani Abacha government awarded it to Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd, a company in which an Abacha son, a diplomat, and oil minister at the time, Dan Etete, had interests. In 2002, it was revoked by the Olusegun Obasanjo presidency and awarded to Shell, thereby prompting Malabu to sue the government and the new owners. To settle out of court, the oil block was again revoked and given back to Malabu in 2006. Naturally Shell also went to court, and in 2011 the block reverted to Shell which paid $1.3bn to the Nigerian government, $1.1bn of which was transferred to Malabu. Dizzying, complex back and forth, and labyrinthine.