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Reuters: Shell disputes Nigerian oil field claim

Fri Jun 2, 2006 7:36 AM BST
By Tom Bergin

LONDON (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell is in dispute with a little-known Nigerian company over ownership of a stake in a Nigerian oil block, that recent drilling suggested could be rich in hydrocarbons.

A Shell Nigerian subsidiary placed an advertisement in The Times on Thursday saying that it was taking legal action to assert ownership of a 40 percent interest in Nigerian Offshore Block OML 122.

“Peak Petroleum Industries Nigeria Limited, the operator and retainer of 60 percent interest in OML 122 initiated court action against Shell in February 2006, seeking declarations to the effect that Shell’s interest has terminated,” the advertisement said.

“In seeking to protect its legal rights Shell has applied to the court for leave to counter-claim.”

The advertisement was signed “Management, Shell Nigeria Upstream Ventures Limited”.

Shell (RDSa.L: Quote, Profile, Research) was unavailable for immediate comment, while attempts to contact Peak were unsuccessful.

However, an industry source said that the advertisement was identical to another Shell placed in the Nigerian press last month.

In response to that advertisement, Peak placed one of its own, the source said, in which it said the agreement signed in 1998 between Shell and Peak had only stated an intent to cooperate and that negotiations on a binding deal did not reach any conclusion.   Continued…

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