A Review of the Nigerian Energy Industry

$1bn oil mining lease: Supreme Court fixes Jan 29 for judgement

*Offshore oil rig.
*Offshore oil rig.

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

06 November 2015, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Supreme Court yesterday fixed January 29, 2016 to deliver judgement in an appeal filed by an oil prospecting company, Brittania-U against Chevron Nigeria Limited and four others.

The five-man panel led by Justice Nwali Sylvester Ngwuta, adjourned for judgment after listening to submissions of counsel for all the parties.

Britannia-U had dragged Chevron to court over the award of Oil Mining Leases, OML, 52, 53 and 55 by Chevron to Seplat Petroleum Development Company Limited.

At yesterday’s proceedings, lawyer to Brittania- U, Mr. Rickey Tarfa (SAN), told the court that the pending appeal before it was in respect of the judgment of the Court of Appeal vacating the status quo order.

Tarfa urged the court to grant their relief as captured in paragraph 8.02 in the appellant’s brief and also informed the court that they filed list of additional authorities dated October 22, 2015, which addressed the court on its power to make consequential orders.

He also urged the court to grant the motion for mandatory, restorative order to revert parties to status quo before the appeal was lodged.

The lawyer representing the 2nd and 4th respondent appellants, Mr. Uche Nwokedi (SAN), submitted that he had filed a Notice of Preliminary Objection to the hearing of the appeal.

On his part, counsel to the 1st respondent appellant, Mr. Damien Dodo (SAN), urged the court to dismiss the appeal stating that it’s an interlocutory appeal.

Britannia-U Nigeria Limited had approached the court seeking for a declaration that its final bidding offer of $1,01billion for acquisition of 40 percent participating interest of Chevron Nigeria in oil mining leases 52, 53 and 56 has been accepted by the first defendant.

In its statement of claim, the plaintiff stated that the second defendant, (Chevron USA) requested Britannia-U to provide firm Board Commitment Letter issued by the plaintiff ’s bankers for payment of the balance of $765million which was complied with.

The plaintiff pray the court to hold that it’s revised bid of $1,01billion for acquisition of the 40 per cent participating interest of Chevron Nigeria Limited in Oil Mining Leases 52, 53 and 56 is binding and subsisting.

The plaintiff added that by provision of the Irrevocable Standby Letter of Credit for the sum of $250m representing 15 per cent of company’s initial bid price of $1.667billion, opened in favour of the first/second defendants on September 30, 2013 remain in force.

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