New York Judge grants stay in enforcement case of billion dollar award against NNPC

On July 23, Judge Berman of the Southern District of New York has granted the parties request for a stay, until January 14, 2020 at 11 AM while warning that it will be the last stay of the proceedings.

Two international oil companies (IOCs), Chevron and Statoil, began the battle against the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in United States of America’s court to force the latter to pay out $1 billion in alleged overpayments on OML 128 where the prolific Agbami field is located, in March 2018.

Statoil and Chevron’s Nigerian branches requested a federal court in New York to uphold an arbitral decision ruled in their favour in March 2015 over their dispute with NNPC.

At the time, an arbitral court based in Nigeria had asked NNPC to pay nearly $1 billion to the majors to cover the excess amount it had earned when redistributing revenue from OML 128, which encloses the giant Agbami field (240,000 bpd), Africa Energy Intelligence reported.

It added that the NNPC motioned an appeal to the Federal High Court in Lagos which issued a counter-ruling in May 2015 stating that Statoil had to pay $1.1 billion to NNPC.

According to Africa Energy Intelligence, Statoil and Chevron didn’t accept the verdict and proceeded to take the battle to the New York court where they are claiming for NNPC to promptly pay the same amount as the March 2015 sentence, namely $1 billion.

This case is but one 3 other cases concerning Nigeria in the Southern District of New York Courts. The cases before Judges Stanton and Kaplan have been stayed, while the cases before Judge William Pauley is proceeding.

The OICs are represented by the law firm, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, but also have the support of Nigerian lawyers, Babatunde Fagbohunlu, a partner at Aluko & Oyebode currently defending Chinese group, China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) against Abuja, and Olasupo Shashore, former public prosecutor in Lagos, while NNPC is represented by Chaffetz Lindsey LLP.

More information about the case can be found here.

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