Eni, an Italian oil giant, has pressed pause on their arbitration proceedings concerning the OPL 245 oilfield dispute with the Nigerian government.
The move aims to open discussions on transforming the license from prospecting to production, potentially unlocking one of Nigeria’s most substantial oil reserves.
An Eni spokesperson said, “Eni has agreed… to temporarily suspend the arbitration proceedings in order to discuss… steps for achieving the conversion of the license.”
This decision aligns with Nigeria’s recent withdrawal of civil claims amounting to $1.1bn against Eni, linked to alleged corruption in the OPL 245 deal.
Eni and Shell secured rights to the offshore field in 2011, but incessant disputes hindered its exploitation, according to Reuters. The recent developments signal a shift towards resolving long-standing issues around this valuable resource.
The timeline reveals a series of events showcasing this gradual resolution: from the Milan appeals court confirming Eni’s acquittal over corruption charges in 2022, to Eni withdrawing its fraud complaint against Oando in October, leading to the potential sale of its Nigerian onshore subsidiary, .
The decision to suspend arbitration on Nov. 16 reflects the mutual interest in reconfiguring the license terms. While the details of the discussions remain undisclosed, both parties seem committed to finding common ground for future extraction prospects.
This pause not only halts legal proceedings but also signifies a pivotal moment in potentially harnessing Nigeria’s untapped oil wealth.