Press Release / May 20, 2014

Global Witness response to Royal Dutch Shell comments at its AGM today

The company has again failed to answer some fundamental questions about the OPL 245 deal and its continued lobby to keep payments to governments secret. 

We welcome Shell’s invitation to discuss the OPL 245 deal further.  However, Shell’s disclosure at the AGM that it has lobbied the Prime Ministers of both the Netherlands and the UK about the EU transparency legislation is concerning, given that Shell is pushing to weaken the laws.

The directives are law and are not for negotiation. 

Shell’s claim that there are laws that might prevent companies disclosing payments in certain countries has been rejected by the EU in the law agreed by 28 member states.  The European Parliament and EU member states found no grounds for exemptions.

We now expect Shell to stop standing in the way of speedy implementation of the EU directives. 

We also call on Shell to stop attempting to weaken US transparency rules that are designed to combat corruption and poverty in resource dependent countries. 

Opacity is bad for business and bad for communities. 

Global Witness requests that – for the benefit of Nigerians who have lost $1.1 billion, law enforcement agencies investigating the OPL 245 deal and citizen’s groups pushing for transparency ­– that the CEO answers the following three simple questions:

  1. Yes or no – did Royal Dutch Shell know that Malabu Oil and Gas and Dan Etete were to be beneficiaries of the OPL 245 deal?
  2. Yes or no – did Royal Dutch Shell representatives meet or negotiate with Etete, Malabu or its representatives, in relation to the OPL 245 deal?
  3. Why is Royal Dutch Shell continuing to lobby for payments such as that made by Shell and Eni for the OPL 245 deal to remain obscure?