Royal Dutch Shell says the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has dropped an inquiry into its acquisition of OPL 245 in 2011.
Reuters quotes a Shell spokeswoman as saying SEC sent a notice to the company about the development.
“The SEC has notified us that it has closed its inquiry into Shell in relation to OPL 245,” the spokeswoman was quoted to have said.
Eni, an Italian oil company who bought the oil field alongside Shell, said it also received a notification that SEC has closed its investigation into its activities in Nigeria and Congo.
In October 2018, the US department of justice closed its investigation into the roles of both companies in the bribery scandal
Both companies are currently on trial in Italy over allegations that they bought OPL 245 in 2011 knowing that most of the $1.3 billion paid for the field would go to agents and middlemen.
It is alleged that about $1.1 billion of the total was siphoned to agents and middlemen.
Emeka Obi, a Nigerian and Gianluca Di Nardo, an Italian, are said to be key players in the alleged bribery scandal.
Both men were said to have worked closely with Dan Etete, former minister of petroleum resources to find a buyer for OPL 245.
Obi, prosecutors said, collected $114 million from Etete, while Di Nardo copped $24 million of that amount for linking Obi with executives at Eni.
Both ‘middlemen’ and Etete have denied their involvement in the bribery scandal.
In the court case filed against Shell and Eni, the federal government said Jonathan and Alison-Madueke broke the law for making a secret profit and sidelining the government from its true share of the deal.
On April 9, 1998, the federal military government awarded OPL 245 to Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd, which was said to be owned mainly by Mohammed Abacha, son of the Sani Abacha, and Dan Etete, who was the petroleum minister at the time.
On July 2, 2001, ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo revoked Malabu’s licence and assigned the oil block to Shell — without a public bid.
Malabu went to court, but ownership was reverted to it in 2006 after it reached an out-of-court settlement with the federal government.
Shell fought back and commenced arbitration against Nigeria, but when Jonathan came to power in 2010, the controversy appeared to have been resolved with Shell and Eni agreeing to buy the oil block from Malabu for $1.1 billion.
The oil companies also paid $210 million as a signature bonus to the federal government.