Abuja is looking to get up to $62 billion from multinational energy conglomerates Royal Dutch Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron, Total and Eni, citing a 2018 Supreme Court ruling it says enables it to review and adjust oil production revenue sharing agreements, ONA reports citing Reuters.
Attorney General Abubakar Malami told the news agency that Nigeria had been “short-changed” by the foreign oil giants, and said the companies have allegedly failed to comply with a 1993 contract law allowing the government to review revenue sharing in the event that oil prices reach $20 per barrel or more.
“Computing the amount that should be credited to the Nigerian government if the law was effectively applied, that translates to around $62 billion against the [foreign oil companies],” Malami said.
Nigeria is looking to negotiate with the oil companies, according to the attorney general. “All options are on the table and there is no limit to what we can do in terms of engagement, in terms of settlement, if the need arises,” he said.
The attorney general’s office had previously indicated that several court cases were already underway, and that Abuja was only seeking revenue that rightfully belonged to the country.
Earlier this year, Nigeria ordered the five companies plus Norwegian energy firm Equinor to pay an estimated $20 billion in back taxes it said they owed to local state authorities. Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron challenged the government’s claims in court, arguing that the 2018 Supreme Court ruling does not apply to them, and does not allow the government to collect taxes retroactively.