Nigeria’s Supreme Court has ruled in favour of Norwegian oil company Equinor in a long-battled case over profit from its stake in the Agbami oilfield, a company spokesman said on Friday 05, 2021.
According to the company’s spokesman Erik Haaland, the milestone ruling has ended the long legal proceedings. It alleviates more than 10 years of legal uncertainty for Equinor and gives it more flexibility in how it handles the millions of dollars a day generated by its share in the field.
The court ruled that the lower courts did not have jurisdiction.
“We are pleased with this decision, which is in line with our position as well,” Haaland said.
Former consultant John Abebe was seeking 1.5% of the profit from Equinor’s 20.21% stake in Agbami, which pumps close to 200,000 barrel per day. At current prices, the stake is worth roughly $2 million per day.
Abebe said he was not paid for helping the company secure licences for Nigerian oilfields. A court in 2010 ordered Equinor to place revenue from the field, millions of dollars a day, into a specific account in Nigeria. Equinor had lost earlier appeals of the ruling.
Abebe helped Statoil, as Equinor was formerly known, to secure licences for Nigerian oilfields between 1991 and 1999 and was on the board of Statoil’s local unit. Equinor had said it already paid him for his services and that it had no agreement to give him 1.5% of its profit.
Haaland said the company was working with its lawyers to determine next steps for Agbami and its proceeds.
Equinor has a 20.21% stake in Agbami, while Chevron is the operator with 67.30% interest and Petrobras holds the remaining 12.49%.
Equinor also operates two exploration licences OMLs 128 and 129 with a 53.85% share in both. Six wells have been drilled in both, with two discoveries made.
While the Nnwa discovery is predominantly comprised of gas as well as some oil, Bilah is a gas and condensate discovery. Both discoveries remain undeveloped till date.
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