FeaturedOil & GasTrending Story

SPDC appeals judgment for its asset sale 



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

NNPC Ltd, OPEC pledge collaboration to attract investments, grow production

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) and the Organization of the...

Port Harcourt refinery to start producing 2.2m litres of diesel, petrol daily soon – FG

The Federal Government has announced that the Port-Harcourt Refinery is gearing up...

NNPCL GCEO Kyari Hinges Wealth Creation on Energy Security

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

Nigeria’s oil exports rose by 60.8% in Q3 of 2023 – OPEC

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has disclosed that oil exports...

NNPCL, CBN partner for seamless banking operations

In their bid to foster transparency and seamless commercial operations, the Nigerian...

NNPCL hits another milestone with 14,000 bpd production from Akpo West Field

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) has commenced oil production from...

EFCC sets up task force to combat dollarization of economy, mutilation of naira

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has announced the setting up...

Queues at Abuja filling stations a local problem, will vanish soon, says NNPC GMD

Petrol queues in Lagos: NNPCL allays fear of scarcity, blames queues on resolved distribution issue

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) says the long queues in...

Climate Change: NNPCL partners U.S. govt, Deloitte to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from OML 34

Africa’s biggest oil company, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), is...

Resolve litigation on $1.3bn Malabu OML 245 deal, Pres. Tinubu orders AGF, Lokpobiri, others

President Bola Tinubu has given a marshing order to the Attorney-General of...

How Bafarawa diverted N4.6bln from ex-NSA for prayers, election, acquire luxury vehicles

A startling revelation has been made about how a former governor of...

Bouyed by Pres. Tinubu’s economic policies, NNPC Ltd. woos South Korean investors for gas projects

Driven by the need to expand the scope of its Liquified Natural...

CBN redeploys 1,500 staff to Lagos

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it has redeployed 1,500 staff...

FG expedites talks with Morocco on Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline project

Nigeria and the Kingdom of Morocco are intensifying discussions to fast-track the...

AFCON: Pres. Tinubu says unimpressed with Super Eagles’ performance

President Bola Tinubu has expressed his displeasure over the performance of the...

NNPCL records 214 oil theft cases in one week in Niger Delta

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd. (NNPCL) says it has recorded at...

NNPCL-facilitated Afreximbank $3.3bln crude oil pre-payment loan to address nation’s FX challenges, says spokesman Soneye

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) has explained the rationale for...

NNPCL uncovers 83 illegal refineries in Niger Delta in one week 

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd (NNPCL) has uncovered 83 illegal refineries...

We’ll produce diesel, aviation fuel before January end — Dangote

Diesel and aviation fuel will be produced from the Dangote Refinery in...