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Crude Oil Remittance: Court affirms $1.7bn arbitral award in favour of NPDC

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The Federal High Court in Lagos has upheld a landmark $1.7billion arbitral award in favour of the Nigerian Petroleum Development Co., NPDC Ltd, against the Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Nig. Ltd and Atlantic Energy Brass Development Ltd.

Justice A. Faji dismissed Atlantic Energy’s application to set aside the Arbitral Award of March 5, 2020, and upheld the submissions of NPDC lead counsel, Fabian Ajogwu, granting orders recognising the $1.7bn Arbitral Award as well as for leave to enforce same as a judgment of the Federal High Court.

It was gathered that sometime in August 2015, Atlantic Energy, through its lawyer, T. Fagbohunlu, took the NPDC to arbitration for alleged breach of contract.

NPDC in response, filed a counter-claim for funds due to the Federal Government on account of crude oil sales from the Oil Mining Leases (OMLS) 26, 30, 34, 42, 60, 61, 62 and 63 (known as ‘Brass and Forcados assets’) without payment of remittances due.

The NPDC also sought the recovery of unpaid net approved cash calls in respect of the OMLs.

On March 5, 2019, the Arbitral Tribunal in agreeing with Ajogwu’s arguments, delivered a landmark Arbitral Award of $1.7bn in the NPDC’s favour.

Atlantic Energy sought an Order of Court to set aside the arbitral award delivered in favour of NPDC because the Arbitral Tribunal allegedly misconducted itself by wrongfully assuming jurisdiction over NPDC’s Counter-Claim, and dismissing their preliminary objection to the said Counter-Claim.

In upholding Ajogwu’s submissions, Justice A. Faji of the Federal High Court held that NPDC’s Counter-Claim in the Arbitration was distinct in all material respects from the suit referred to by the Award Debtors.

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