Shell and Italian Eni have been hit with a $1.1bn (£870m) lawsuit as the Nigerian government accused the companies of bribery.
The allegations, which are tied a deal for the licence on the OPL 245 oilfield, have been filed in London, the government revealed.
“It is alleged that purchase monies purportedly paid to the Federal Republic of Nigeria were in fact immediately paid through to a company controlled by Dan Etete, formerly the Nigerian minister of petroleum, and used for, amongst other things, bribes and kickbacks,” Nigeria said today.
“Accordingly, it is alleged that Shell and Eni engaged in bribery and unlawful conspiracy to harm the Federal Republic of Nigeria and that they dishonestly assisted corrupt Nigerian government officials.”
Eni said it “continues to reject any allegation of impropriety or irregularity in connection with this transaction.”
Shell said: “Based on […] all of the information and facts available to us, we do not believe that there is a case to answer in this matter.”