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$406.7m oil shipment suit against Shell: Court to resume trial June 6

A Federal High Court will on June 6 resume trial in a suit filed by the Federal Government against Shell Western Supply & Trading Ltd. over alleged 406.7 million dollars deprivation in crude oil shipment.

The suit numbered FHC/L/CS/336/16 was filed in Lagos by Prof. Fabian Ajogwu (SAN) on behalf of the Federal Government.

Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nig. Ltd. and its subsidiary, Shell Western Supply & Trading Ltd. are defendants in the suit before Justice Mojisola Olatoregun.

The trial was stalled on Tuesday following absence of the judge who is said to be on another official assignment.

In the suit, the Federal Government is claiming the sum of 406.7 million dollars from the defendants as shortfall of money paid by them into the Federal Government account.

The money was said to be for crude oil lifted by the defendants in 2013 and 2014.

The government said that the Anglo-Dutch company did not declare or under-declared crude oil shipments during the period.

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It said that forensic analysis of bills of laden and shipping documents showed that Shell cheated Nigeria with regard to the revenue.

According to the government, experts tracked global movement of Nigeria’s hydro-carbons, including crude oil and gas, and identified that the companies engaged in practices that led to missing revenues from crude oil sales and gas export to different parts of the world.

The Federal Government said that the tracking also revealed discrepancies in the export records from Nigeria with the import records at U.S. ports.

It averred that the undeclared shipments from January 2013 to December 2014 brought the total value of the entire shortfall to 406.75 million dollars.

It also alleged that the defendants failed to respond to its letter seeking clarification as regards the alleged discrepancies.

The Federal Government, is therefore, seeking a court order to compel the two companies to pay the 406.7 million dollars.

The government is also asking Shell to pay general exemplary damages in the sum of 406.7 million dollars as well as the cost of the legal action.

The Federal Government had also sued Chevron, Total and Agip similarly before the court.

It is asking for a total of 12.7 billion dollars for alleged non-declaration of 57 million barrels of crude oil shipped to the U.S. from 2011 and 2014.

The oil companies are among 15 oil majors targeted by the government for the recovery of over 17 billion dollars in deprived revenue.


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