By Michael Eboh
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Wednesday, disclosed that its legal team won four major court cases bordering on disputes surrounding oil wells and export terminals that helped the country saved Nigeria N5.04 billion.
In a statement in Abuja, Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of the NNPC, Dr. Kennie Obateru, stated that as a result of these victories among others, the corporation’s legal team won the ‘Leading Case Counsel Team’ of the 2020 Africa Arbitration Awards.
Obateru listed the successful arbitration cases showcased by the NNPC Legal Team at the conference to include the IPCO (Nigeria) versus NNPC legal tussle, in respect of the dispute over the Bonny Export Terminal Project in which $367.5 million was saved after 13 years of litigation.
He also listed the case between ESSO Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited versus 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 $2.7 billion claim was dismissed.
Other recent arbitration, according to Obateru, included ESSO & Others versus NNPC, in respect of alleged breaches in interpretation and implementation of the PSC covering OPL 222/OML 138 with over $380.141 million saved and the Atlantic Energy Group versus the Nigerian Petroleum Development Corporation, NPDC case, in respect of allegation of wrongful termination of Strategic Alliance Agreements over eight OMLs resulting in the award of $1.6 billion in favour of NPDC.
The NNPC spokesperson explained that the award was given to the NNPC Litigation 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.
He said: “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 award is 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 NNPC.”