NNPC’s legal team bags Africa Arbitration award, saves $5.05bn for Nigeria

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By Ikenna Omeje

The Litigation Team of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has won the Leading Case Counsel Team of the 2020 Africa Arbitration Awards for its stellar performance at the 8th  Edition of the East African International Arbitration Conference (EAIC) and  saving billions of dollars in liabilities for Nigeria.

The corporation’s Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Dr. Kennie Obateru, disclosed this in a release on Wednesday.

According to the release, …”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.”

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.

The release listed some of the successful arbitration cases showcased by the NNPC Legal Team at the conference to include the IPCO (Nigeria) Vs. NNPC in which $367.5m was saved after 13 years of litigation and ESSO E&P Nigeria Limited Vs. NNPC in which the enforcement of $2.7bn claim was dismissed.

“Among the successful arbitration cases showcased by the NNPC Legal Team at the conference were the IPCO (Nigeria) Vs. NNPC in respect of the dispute over the Bonny Export Terminal Project in which $367.5m was saved after 13 years of litigation and ESSO E&P Nigeria Limited Vs. 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 $2.7bn claim was dismissed.

“Other recent arbitration cases presented at the conference include: ESSO & Others Vs. NNPC in respect of alleged breaches in interpretation and implementation of the PSC covering OPL 222/OML 138 with over $380.141m saved and the Atlantic Energy Group vs. NPDC in respect of allegation of wrongful termination of Strategic Alliance Agreements over eight OMLs resulting in the award of $1.6bn in favour of NPDC,” the release stated.

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,” the release added.

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