NNPC Saves $5.4bn through Court Judgments, Wins Africa Arbitration Award

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By Emmanuel Addeh

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said Wednesday that its legal team had saved about $5.4 billion in court cases through the victories it recorded in four cases involving the company.

A statement by the Corporation’s Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Dr. Kennie Obateru, said the favourable judgements obtained in the cases also won the national oil company’s litigation team the “Leading Case Counsel Team” of the 2020 Africa Arbitration Awards (AAA).

Obateru noted that the award was given to the NNPC team in recognition of its “stellar performance” at the 8th edition of the East African International Arbitration Conference (EAIC) which held in Nairobi, Kenya, recently, with participants joining in virtually.

NNPC listed the successful arbitration cases showcased by the its legal team at the conference as the IPCO (Nigeria) Vs. NNPC’s in respect of the dispute over the Bonny export terminal project in which $367.5 million was saved after 13 years of litigation.

It also named the ESSO E&P Nigeria Limited Vs. NNPC in respect of the dispute over the interpretation of the Production Sharing Contract (PSC) covering Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 209/Oil Mining Lease (OML) 133 in which the enforcement of a $2.7 billion claim was dismissed.

Other recent arbitration cases presented at the conference, the company said, include: ESSO & Others Vs. NNPC in respect of alleged breaches in interpretation and implementation of the PSC covering OPL 222/OML 138 with over $380.141 million saved.

Also mentioned by the corporation was the case between the Atlantic Energy Group vs. NPDC in respect of allegation of wrongful termination of Strategic Alliance Agreements (STA) over eight OMLs resulting in the award of $1.6 billion in favour of NPDC.

“At the conference which was aimed at promoting commercial arbitration and showcasing African lawyers and law firms which have performed well in arbitration practice, the NNPC legal team gave a presentation on the challenges and lessons learnt from arbitrations and the successes recorded.

“Besides the presentation, the NNPC legal team’s entry for the leading case counsel team category of the Africa Arbitration Award was adjudged the best amongst entries from 100 other institutions across Africa resulting in the award,” the corporation noted.

It added that the award was a testimony to the commitment of the legal division and indeed the staff of the corporation to the Transparency, Accountability and Performance Excellence (TAPE) agenda of the Mallam Mele Kyari-led management of the national oil company.