Shell’s comments on the verdict from the Milan Tribunal over OPL-245
Ben van Beurden, Chief Executive of Royal Dutch Shell plc (“RDS” made the following statement after the Milan Tribunal acquitted the company of charges related to Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL) 245 in Nigeria:
“We welcome today’s decision by the Milan Tribunal. We have always maintained that the 2011 settlement was legal, designed to resolve a decade-long legal dispute and unlock development of the OPL 245 block. At the same time, this has been a difficult learning experience for us. Shell is a company that operates with integrity and we work hard every day to ensure our actions not only follow the letter and spirit of the law, but also live up to society’s wider expectations of us.”
Background on the 2011 OPL 245 settlement (the Resolution Agreement)
In 2011, Shell reached an agreement with the Federal Government of Nigeria and Eni to settle litigation and arbitration dating back nearly a decade related to OPL 245. This was an unprecedented situation, where the Federal Government of Nigeria had separately allocated the same block to two different parties: Shell and Malabu.
The 2011 Resolution Agreement, which was negotiated at the highest levels of the relevant government departments, aimed to resolve the long-standing disputes over the block and enable its development, generating economic activity and revenues that all parties would benefit from. Unfortunately, the block remains undeveloped.
Business integrity at Shell
Business integrity is one of our core values. We continue to work hard to raise standards in this area, with an ongoing focus on embedding an ethical mindset and culture, as well as maintaining rigorous controls that we review and benchmark regularly. We recognise that society’s expectations of how we behave continue to grow and evolve and we need to respond.
To help achieve this, we have increased resources over the past decade, quadrupling our anti-bribery and corruption (ABC) team, creating a dedicated internal screening team and introducing regional subject-matter experts. We have also introduced a range of new initiatives, from a dedicated ABC Committee to a mandatory ethical leadership programme for all senior managers. We have developed a framework to help our staff make values-based, ethical judgements regarding significant business decisions. We asked a panel of independent experts to review this initiative and their recommendations are now being incorporated as this framework is rolled out and embedded internally.
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