Italy’s Eni has temporary halted arbitration regarding an oilfield dispute with the Nigerian government, buying time to discuss a conversion of the licence from prospecting to mining, sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters. Eni confirmed the suspension of the arbitration regarding OPL 245 oilfield at the World Bank’s dispute settlement body.”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.
The move comes days after Nigeria withdrew civil claims totalling $1.1 billion against Eni related to allegations of corruption in OPL 245 deal. Bloomberg News had reported on Thursday that Nigeria is withdrawing civil claims totalling $1.1 billion against energy producer Eni SpA. Nigeria’s justice ministry will waive the claims before Italy’s highest court “unconditionally” and “with immediate effect” no later than Nov. 17, the report said citing a letter seen by Bloomberg.