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OPL 245 dispute: Eni suspends World Bank’s arbitration against Nigeria



It seems a truce will soon be called in the ongoing oilfield dispute between Italian oil company, Eni and the Nigerian government as the oil giant has called for a temporary suspension of the arbitration against the federal government.

This is to pave the way for negotiation to convert the license from prospecting to one for production, sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

Eni, yesterday, confirmed the suspension of the arbitration at the World Bank’s dispute settlement body regarding the OPL 245 oilfield, considered to be potentially the biggest oil block in the country.

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“Eni has agreed with the Federal Government of Nigeria to mutually and temporarily suspend the arbitration proceedings in order to discuss with the government the necessary steps for achieving the conversion of the licence from prospecting into mining (extraction),” an Eni spokesperson told Reuters on Monday.

The move comes days after Nigeria commenced the process of withdrawing civil claims totalling $1.1bn against Eni in relation to allegations of corruption in the OPL 245 deal.

Eni’s request to halt the arbitration came on Nov. 16, a few days after the start of the proceedings, the sources said, adding that Nigeria is currently seeking better conditions than those discussed until now regarding the block license.

Eni and Shell were awarded rights for an offshore field, OPL 245 in 2011, but the area has never been exploited as it became subject to multiple disputes that are now coming to an end.

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