Energy

Oil blocks: Supreme Court rules in Chevron’s favour

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The Supreme Court of Nigeria on Friday delivered its judgment in favour of Chevron Nigeria Limited and Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc in a litigation brought against both parties by Brittania-U Nigeria Limited over the sale of Oil Mining Leases 53 and 55.

Brittania-U, one of the bidders for the assets, had in December 2013 sued Chevron over the planned sale of the assets to Seplat, arguing that it emerged as the highest bidder. The litigation prevented the full completion of the sale process and transfer of the assets.

CNL, in a statement signed by its General Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs, Mr. Deji Haastrup, said it had formally handed over the producing assets in OMLs 53 and 55 to Seplat and Belemaoil, respectively.

It said the handover and induction exercise, which concluded the asset sale transaction between Chevron and the two local firms, were done at CNL’s Lekki Headquarters and the Jisike Flow Station, near Owerri, Imo State.

The Chairman and Managing Director, CNL, Mr. Clay Neff, was quoted in the statement as saying, “We are pleased to conclude the handover of the producing assets in OMLs 53 and 55 to Seplat and Belemaoil respectively. This affords these companies an opportunity to grow their production, while also confirming our commitment to developing Nigerian content.”

In response, the Chief Executive Officer, Seplat, Mr. Austin Avuru, said the acquisition of these assets was in realisation of the company’s carefully designed strategy to create long-term value and shared prosperity for their shareholders and other stakeholders.

He said, “Seplat will leverage its core strengths and expertise to capitalize on growth opportunities available to them across the upstream value cycle.”

On his part, the Founder of Belemaoil, Mr. Jack-Rich Tein, said, “We are pleased that the acquisition of OML 55 by Belemaoil is now concluded and we will now proceed with our long-term strategy to maximize value for all stakeholders.”

CNL signed a sales and purchase agreement in November 2013 for the sale of its interests in OMLs 52, 53 and 55 to the Seplat consortium comprising Seplat, Belemaoil and Amni International Petroleum Development Company Limited.

The litigation reached the Supreme Court, following an appeal brought by Brittania-U against the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Nigeria. The Court of Appeal decision delivered on June 20, 2014 set aside the ruling of the lower court, which had extended an ex-parte order of interim injunction obtained by Brittania-U at the commencement of the action.

Brittania-U had also sought the order of the Supreme Court for an interlocutory injunction restraining CNL and Seplat from proceeding with the sale and transfer of the assets until the determination of the appeal by the Supreme Court.

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