MILAN (Reuters) - Italian oil and gas group Eni (ENI.MI) reiterated on Thursday it had not paid any intermediary or any bribes to acquire the OPL-245 oilfield in Nigeria.
Speaking at the group’s annual shareholder meeting chairwoman Emma Marcegaglia said Eni had only ever dealt with the Nigerian government.
Courts in Nigeria and Italy are investigating the purchase of OPL 245. Eni and major Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) paid $1.3 billion (1.04 billion pounds) for the rights to the block in 2011.
On Wednesday Shell said for the first time it was aware that some of the payments it made to Nigeria would go to a company associated with former Nigerian oil minister and convicted money launderer Dan Etete.
Etete awarded the block in 1998 for $20 million to Malabu Oil and Gas, a company in which he was a leading shareholder.
Marcegaglia said Shell’s comments did not change Eni’s position, adding the company had not paid any money to Etete or sealed any deal with Malabu.
She added Eni has made no provisions for the Nigeria probe.
At the same meeting, Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi said in the future the group did not rule out a share buy-back programme but added for the time being he had no intention to discuss the issue with the board.
Reporting by Giancarlo Navach, writing by Stephen Jewkes, editing by Francesca Landini