The Federal Government has filed a suit against Nigerian subsidiaries of United States multinational Chevron, British-Dutch Shell, Italian ENI’s Agip, France’s Total and Brasoil of Brazilian Petrobas.
The suit, brought against the international corporations for allegedly exporting crude oil to the United States between 2011 and 2014, will be heard September 30, 2016 at a Federal High Court on Lagos.
Officials familiar with the matter said Nigeria’s government alleged that the companies did not declare more than 57 million barrels of crude oil shipments. That was deduced from audits of declared exports and what was unloaded in the US.
Some shiploads registered less when they left Nigeria and more on reaching the US, while some entire shiploads were undeclared in Nigeria, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the cases are still in court.
According to the Associated Press (AP) Professor of Law, Fabian Ajogwu is representing the Nigerian government in the case.
The cases could provoke fresh anger against the oil companies who have already been accused of polluting farmlands and fishing grounds. Local frustration has contributed to an armed movement in the oil-producing Niger Delta, where militants are demanding the multinationals pull out.
The United States was the biggest importer of Nigerian oil until it began exploiting its own shale oil reserves, though Nigerian exports to the US have increased six-fold this year, according to OPEC.
Nigeria was Africa’s largest oil producer until militant attacks until Angola overtook it in March.