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Federal Government demands $406m from Shell for crude oil theft

The Nigerian government is demanding $406.75 million minimum from Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited and its surrogate Shell Western Supply & Trading Limited over alleged crude oil theft. The amount, according to court papers in Lagos, represents the shortfall of the money paid by the multinational oil firm in the account of the Nigerian government with Central Bank of Nigeria, for crude oil lifted in 2013 and 2014.

Government lawyer, Professor Fabian Ajogwu accused the Anglo-Dutch company of not declaring or under-declaring crude oil shipments during the period, following forensic analysis of bills of lading and shipping documents, Ajogwu, armed with sworn affidavits of three United States of America based professionals, claimed that Shell cheated Nigeria of the revenue.

Among the three professionals employed by the Federal Government of Nigeria are: Professor David Olowokere, a US citizen who is the lead Analyst at Loumos Group LLC, a technology and oil and gas auditing firm based in United States of America and Jerome Stanley, a counsel in the law firm of Henchy &Hackenberg, a law firm based in United States of America and head of the legal team engaged by Loumo Group LLC.

The third professional is Micheal Kanko a citizen of the USA and resident of the state of Arizona , who is the founder and the current Chief Executive Officer of Trade Data services Company. The consortium of experts was able to track the global movements of the country’s hydro-carbons including crude oil and gas with the main purposes of identifying the companies engaged in the practices that led to missing revenues from crude oil and gas exports sales to different parts of the world.

In reconciling the export records from Nigeria, with the import records at ports in the United States of America, the experts found mind boggling discrepancies. The Nigerian government averred for instance that on 6th of January, 2013 the defendants lifted crude oil using the vessel AUTHENTIC and shipped same to BP Oil Supply of 28301 Ferry Road, Warrenville, Illinois, USA at the port of Chester, Pennsylvania, United States of America. The shipment had the Bill of lading number ALMYSVDM161212A3.

This particular shipment was not declared to the relevant authorities in Nigeria, resulting in the shortfall of 660,712 barrels of crude oil in the value of $72,678,320 as revenue to the Government. On 3 January, 2013, Shell and its surrogate company lifted crude oil that resulted in the shortfall of 979,031 barrels in the value of $107,693,410

On the 14th of December, 2014, Shell also lifted crude oil using the vessel EAGLE TUSCON and shipped same to Shell Deer Park of 5900 Texas 225,Deer Park, TX77536,USA at the port of Houston, Texas, United States of America with Bill of lading number AETK0909US14.

The shipment was not declared to the relevant authorities, resulting in the shortfall of 499,048 barrels of crude oil in the value of $54,895,280 as revenue to the Federal Government.

Shell, with its allied company, was also alleged at three different times to have shipped crude on board EAGLE TUSCON, EAGLE SEVILLE, OVERSEAS EVERGLADES, that resulted in the shortfall of 3,697,737 barrels of crude oil. This brings the total value of all the shortfall to $406,751,070.

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