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U.S. court rules in NNPC’s favour in $2.7b suit

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The United States Southern District Court of New York has delivered a significant judgment in favour of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) against ESSO Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited and Shell Nigerian Exploration and Production Company Limited (collectively, ESSO).

The court hearing was held on February 1, this year in the protracted litigation arising from the disputes between NNPC and ESSO regarding the implementation of the Production Sharing Contract dated May 21, 1993 covering OPL 209/OML 133. ESSO referred its claims to arbitration in Nigeria and obtained an Arbitral Award of $1.799 billion on October 24, 2011, with yearly interest running at LIBOR plus four per cent.

NNPC promptly challenged the Award at the Federal High Court, Abuja, which in May 2012, ordered the set aside of the Arbitral Award.  Notwithstanding the decision of the Nigerian Court, ESSO applied to the United States District Court, Southern District of New York for the recognition and enforcement of the Arbitral Award.

NNPC challenged ESSO’s application on ground that there was no award, which the U.S court could enforce as a competent court in Nigeria had since set aside the award.

NNPC also contended that there was no legal basis for the U.S court to exercise jurisdiction over it as it had no presence in the United States, owned no property and does not conduct its businesses therein.

ESSO contended that NNPC is the alter ego of the Federal Government of Nigeria, owned assets in the U.S including bank accounts and also conducts businesses in the U.S.

Esso obtained the leave of Court to conduct Jurisdictional Discovery to ascertain if the U.S court can assert personal jurisdiction over NNPC.

At the close of the Discovery Procedure, the Court ordered NNPC and ESSO to appear for oral hearing, which was held before Honourable Judge W. H. Pauley on February 1, 2019, for parties to canvass their respective positions.

On September 4, this year, the US Court delivered its Judgment by which it upheld the Corporation’s Application to Dismiss ESSO’s Enforcement Application on ground that a competent Nigerian Court had set aside the underlying Award and directed the Clerk of the Court to terminate and discontinue all motions and processes filed by ESSO in this matter.

By this development, NNPC has successfully secured the dismissal of ESSO’s application to secure recognition and enforcement of its Arbitral Award valued in excess of $2,699,405,616 plus interest.

The effect is that ESSO, who had sought the Order of the US Court to enforce the said Award, has lost the right. While ESSO is at liberty to appeal this decision, NNPC is optimistic that its case on appeal is very strong.

This is a significant decision in the history of this case as the US Court has not only discharged NNPC from any indebtedness to ESSO but also set the stage for NNPC’s pursuit of the challenge of three other outstanding Enforcement Applications filed in the US Court by other PSC Contractors.

Also, this decision of the US Court would lend weight to the effort of NNPC and the PSC Contractors to explore amicable resolution of the underlying PSC disputes.

NNPC was represented by the US law firm of Messrs. Chaffetz Lindsey LLP, and Nigerian law firm of Messrs. Streamsowers & Kohn

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BREAKING: Nigeria records 10 new COVID-19 cases, toll now 184

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BREAKING: Nigeria records 23 new COVID-19 infections, toll now 174

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) announced this on Thursday in a tweet on their verified Twitter page.

“Ten new cases of COVID19 have been reported in Nigeria; 7 in Lagos and 3 in the FCT.”

“As at 08:00 pm 2nd April there are 184 confirmed cases of #COVID19 reported in Nigeria. Twenty have been discharged with two deaths,” NCDC tweeted.

This brings the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 184.

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BREAKING: Lagos discharges 11 COVID-19 patients

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[BREAKING] COVID-19: Sanwo-Olu imposes dusk-to-dawn lock down in Lagos
Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu

This was made known by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on his verified Twitter account.

This brings the total number of discharged patients from the centre to 19.

“I am happy to break to you, my good people of Lagos, the news of the release today of 11 more patients from our facility in Yaba. They have fully recovered and have tested negative to COVID-19 and have been allowed to return home to their families.”

“The patients include two females and nine males. Their results came out negative in two rounds of tests. I want to use this opportunity to, once again, thank our frontline health workers and other professionals for their service.”

“Let me reiterate that this is not the time to relax, but to maintain our vigilance because of the community infection that we are beginning to see. I assure you that at the end, we will hoist a flag of victory – with your cooperation and by the grace of the Almighty,” he tweeted.

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BREAKING: Nigeria records 23 new COVID-19 infections, toll now 174

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BREAKING: Nigeria records 23 new COVID-19 infections, toll now 174

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on Wednesday night confirmed twenty-three new cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country.

The NCDC confirmed nine cases in Lagos, seven in the FCT, five in Akwa Ibom, one in Kaduna and one in Bauchi State

This brings the number of cases to 174

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