The Nigerian Senate announced on Wednesday that it will investigate suspected illegal extensions of oil exploration leases by Shell Plc and seek a refund of $200 million that it claims accumulated during the period.
A seven-member committee has been tasked with investigating oil exploration licences awarded to Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary from 1959 to 1989 and from 1989 until 2019 under a joint venture deal with state-owned NNPC, according to the upper house of parliament.
Following the non-payment of $200 million accruals from Shell’s oil mining lease under its joint venture with NNPC and the illegal renewal of leases by the government’s oil ministry and petroleum regulator, the Senate decided to investigate.
Chevron and ExxonMobil, among others, operate in Nigeria through joint ventures with the state-owned NNPC.
The Ministry of Petroleum awarded Shell and its joint venture partner NNPC extensions of oil exploration licences in violation of the law, causing the government to lose fees, taxes, rents, and royalties, according to the Senate.
Shell was unavailable for comment immediately.