FeaturedOil & GasTrending Story

SPDC appeals judgment for its asset sale 

264

 

SPDC says it has filed an appeal and an application for a stay of execution of enforcement of the purported sale of interests in SPDC’s JV’s  assets in Kidney Island and specified interests in OML 11 to the Rivers State Government.

The judgment was issued by the Rivers State High Court on August 13, 2020.

In a reaction, SPDC expressed disappointment with the State High Court for affirming the enforcement.

In the underlying judgement (Chief Agbara and Others v. SPDC) which is being enforced by the sale, the claimants had accepted in the High Court in England that the claim was “miscalculated” and “materially overstated”.

SPDC operates the SPDC Joint Venture on behalf of the JV partners which include the Federal Government, represented by Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), with 55 per cent participating interest.

Prior to the instant case, the Rivers State Government had  filed a similar case at the Federal High Court Abuja asking the Federal High Court in Abuja to direct the Minister of Petroleum Resources to recognise the same purported interest acquired through auction sale.

The State Government withdrew the Abuja case in July 2020 and refiled this new case at the Rivers State High Court without joining the Minister of Petroleum Resources.

An application by SPDC to join the Minister of Petroleum Resources to the suit as a necessary party for a just determination of the issues was denied by the Judge.

Under the Nigerian Petroleum Act, any acquisition or assignment of interests in a licence or lease must have the consent of the Minister of Petroleum Resources.

The root case — Chief Agbara and Others v. SPDC — which led to the purported sale of interests SPDC JV’s assets is still the subject of ongoing proceedings in several courts, including the supreme court, and it remains the position of SPDC that no payment is due and any purported sale or enforcement of payment is premature and prejudicial to ongoing proceedings.

The auction sale is also being challenged on appeal by SPDC.

The root case has its origin in a spill caused by third parties during the Nigerian Civil War, a challenging period which resulted in significant damage to oil and gas infrastructure in the Niger Delta region.

While SPDC does not accept responsibility for the spill, the affected sites in Ejama Ebubu community were fully remediated, and this was certified by the government regulator.

The claim for N17billion as damages was first brought by the Ejama Ebubu community against SPDC in 2001 in the Federal High Court of Nigeria.

In 2010, the court gave judgment against SPDC and awarded the claim without SPDC being given reasonable opportunity to defend the facts of the case. Indeed, this case has focused too long on procedural issues and not on its merits – we have always been clear that we are ready to defend this case based on the available facts.

SPDC appealed the 2010 judgment and obtained an order to stay the execution of the judgment upon the provision of a bank guarantee issued by First Bank of Nigeria Limited in favour of the claimants.

Despite this matter being the subject of ongoing proceedings in the Nigerian courts, the claimants went ahead to seek to enforce the judgment in both Nigeria and England.

The English Court last year rejected the claimants’ attempt to enforce the Nigerian court judgment in the UK, referring to a ‘breach of natural justice’ in the proceedings against Shell in Nigeria.

The English court also found that the claimants had “materially over-stated” the value of the judgment which the claimants admitted was  N34.716billion. The court therefore ruled that it would not be just and convenient for a Nigerian judgment to be enforced in the UK which the claimants acknowledge is “miscalculated”.

On Monday, March 2, 2020, the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja issued an order attaching the sum of N182billion in First Bank of Nigeria Limited’s statutory account with the Central Bank of Nigeria in favour of  Ejama Ebubu community in Rivers State.

SPDC and other parties affected by the March 2, 2020 order of the Federal High Court filed separate appeals, as well as applied to set aside the order and restrain its execution pending the appeal decision.

In accordance with the spirit of fair hearing in the Nigerian judicial system, we remain of the view that until the pending appeals are heard and determined, SPDC is not liable to make any payments, and therefore none any of its assets or interest should not be attached to satisfy the judgement.

Leave a comment

Related Articles

Just in: Again, Dangote further crashes diesel, aviation fuel to N940, N980

Dangote Petroleum Refinery has announced another reduction in diesel and aviation fuel...

NNPC Ltd., joint venture partner, unlock 12,000bpd production from Awoba Unit Field

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd) and its joint venture...

Oil prices jump on escalating crises in Middle East

Oil prices jumped on Friday while Asian markets tumbled, with global investors...

MAN, marketers, other stakeholders laud Dangote’s slashing of diesel price to N1,000/litre

The decision by Dangote Petroleum Refinery to reduce the price of diesel...

Gas critical to driving economic growth, industrial development — NNPCL GCEO, Kyari

The Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited...

War against oil theft: Tug boat conveying illegal diesel arrested, 115 oil thefts in one week – NNPCL

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) says a tugboat conveying suspected...

Billionaire philanthropist Tony Elumelu mulls buying NPFL team

As part of his corporate social responsibility, billionaire banker and philanthropist Tony...

Terry G speaks on Davido, Wizkid, and Burna Boy rivalries, faces backlash from fans

Nigerian music sensation Terry G, also known as the Apako master, has...

Reduction of petrol pump price: It’s bush telegraph, says NNPCL’s spokesman, Soneye

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) has denied reports making the...

Dani Alves pays €1m bail, set to leave Spanish jail

Former Brazil and Barcelona star Dani Alves, convicted of rape in Spain,...

World TB Day: 70 percent of TB cases in Africa now being diagnosed and treated – WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) has disclosed that about 70 percent of...

Transparency, Research, Innovation Driving NNPC Ltd.’s Transformation – EVP Gas, Power, & New Energy

The Executive Vice President, Gas, Power, and New Energy of the Nigerian...

13th AAG: Tobi Amusan wins gold in women’s 100m hurdles

The Nigerian sprint star, Tobi Amusan, won gold in the women’s 100m...

NNPC Ltd. will use gas to trigger Nigeria’s industrialization, economic development – EVP Upstream, Eyesan

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Ltd. has reiterated its commitment to...

Kyari calls for differentiated energy transition for Africa

As global calls for transition to cleaner energy fuels continue to grow,...

FG approves N12.7bln for mass metering of army barracks nationwide

The Federal Government says it has released N12.7 billion to provide electricity...

Women’s Day: Tinubu felicitates women, vows to prioritise their welfare, rights

President Bola Tinubu has promised to prioritize the welfare of women, protect...

All African Games: Nigeria’s Flying Eagles start their campaign on a losing note

The Flying Eagles of Nigeria started their campaign in the men’s football...

Tinubu signs three executive orders to incentivize nation’s oil and gas projects

President Bola Tinubu has signed three new executive orders in the oil...