The true story of OPL 245

Eni and its managers definitively acquitted. An “unmotived and disconcerting case” comes to an end.

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The acquisition of Block 245 in Nigeria

Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL) 245 covers a defined deep-water offshore area (over 1,000 m bsl), approximately 150 km off the Niger Delta.

OPL 245 does not grant the right to exploit any acreage, but provides an opportunity to explore the area. This activity required significant investments – amounting to several hundred million euros – and will require further investments worth billions over a number of years to come before having any chance to proceed with full-scale oil production activities. To date, not a single oil barrel has been drilled.

The acquisition of OPL 245 Block by Shell and Eni has been the subject of incorrect and speculative interpretations since 2011. In particular, there are at least seven incorrect aspects dealt with both by NGOs - which filed petitions with the Court and the Supervisory Authorities, and by certain news media.

These interpretations are intended to contest Eni’s probity and transparency. Here below, we will demonstrate, through objective and documentary evidence, that Eni acted in full compliance with the law and the company procedures.

From a judicial point of view, we must immediately highlight how the rightness of Eni’s behaviour has been confirmed by the Court of Milan, which on 17 March 2021 acquitted Eni, its chief executive Claudio Descalzi and the management team involved in procedures relating to the OPL 245 affair on every count, stating that was unfounded.  At this link you can read the legal grounds behind the decision.

On 19 July 2022, before the second division of the Milan Appeal Court, the Assistant Attorney General – Celestina Gravina – waived the appeal against the Court’s decision, thus concluding the criminal legal proceedings relating to OPL 245.

The Assistant Attorney General’s decision to waive the possibility to appeal means that the not guilty verdicts for Eni and its managers already given in March 2021 have become definitive judgements under the Italian legal system.

Lastly, on 11 November 2022, the Court of Appeal of Milan has rejected the action requested by Nigeria’s plaintiff, who aimed at obtaining compensation within the OPL 245 proceedings, thus confirming the first-instance ruling and condemning Nigeria to bear all court fees.

After more than eight years of investigations and legal proceedings, leading to very high costs and serious and unjust reputational consequences for the company and its management, justice eventually took its course, confirming with a definitive sentence the complete acquittal, because “there is no case to answer”.

Aula di tribunale

The Milan court case: story of an acquittal

The proceedings relating to the OPL 245 affair have come to a close.

La verità sul caso OPL

Drumcliffe’s involvement in the OPL 245 case

A new side to the OPL 245 case has emerged in the state of Delaware, which has the most lenient corporate laws in the United States.


Eni files an appeal for international arbitration against Nigeria

If OPL 245 is not converted into a mining licence, Nigeria will be deprived of a considerable source of income. The ICSID is intervening.

The story of OPL 245: 1998 to the present today

From the acquisition of the bloc to the role of the three NGOs, with fact-checking of the main points: below is the whole truth about the OPL 245 affair.


The story of the acquisition of OPL 245 block

OPL 245 covers a defined deep-water offshore area (over 1,000 m bsl), approximately 150 km off the Niger Delta.


The OPL 245 matter and the role of the three NGOs

The Corner House and Global Witness and the investigations into the acquisition of the block by Eni and Shell. The outcome of the petitions.

Fact checking of the 7 key facts regarding Block 245

Documentary evidence debunks the “news” that has been circulating about this case.

Green River Project: iniziative per lo sviluppo agricolo in Nigeria

Our commitment in Nigeria

We are present in the territory with onshore and offshore activities.

We contribute to local development through the Green River Project and a partnership with FAO to promote access to water.

I progetti Eni per la diversificazione economica
photogallery Photo

Clean water in Waru