Commercial LawNews

Court warns FG against disobedience its orders over auction of oil fields

Michael Ojo

The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has warned the Minister of Petroleum Resources and Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) not to overreach its order restraining them from taking any step on revoking the Ororo Marginal Field in OML 95 pending a suit challenging its status.

Justice Muslim Hassan gave the warning after being informed that the DPR allegedly advertised a bidding process for Marginal Field(s), which may jeopardise the interest of the plaintiff, Owena Oil and Gas Ltd.

The judge renewed its directive that the government maintain status quo in relation to the revocation pending the determination of the Motion on Notice.

Any breach, he added, would be “dealt with.”

The court on May 27, granted the order of interim injunction against the respondents following a May 19 motion ex parte filed by Owena Oil and Gas Ltd.

He restrained the defendants from taking any step in relation to the suit and ordered the parties to maintain status quo in relation to the revocation pending the determination of the Motion on Notice.

Upon resumption of proceedings yesterday, plaintiff’s counsel Mr Kemi Pinehiro SAN, informed the judge that despite the order, the DPR published an advertorial requesting for bids for Marginal Field(s).

He sought the court’s protection.

Counsel to the 3rd defendant Mr Babajide Ogundipe informed the court that he had an application and sought a date for hearing.

The DPR was represented by Mr Seun Ajayi.

After listening to all the parties, Justice Hassan warned the defendants and adjourned till June 30 for further hearing.

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The Ororo field, discovered in 1986, is located within OML 95 in shallow waters offshore Ondo State. It lies in water depths ranging between 23ft and 27 ft.

Owena, in suit FHC/L/CS/587/2020 filed through its counsel Kemi Pinheiro, SAN, said the 1st and 2nd respondents “purportedly revoked the Ororo Maginal Field without recourse to the Plaintiff.”

It contended that it would suffer “irreparable damage unless the defendants are restrained.”

It further claimed that “the purported revocation of the Ororo Marginal Field within OML 95 is unlawful, invalid, null and void and of no effect whatsoever, having been made during the pendency of the appeal over the decision of this Honourable Court Coram I.N. Buba in Suit No.FHC/L/CS/1815/14: Owena Oil and Gas Limited v. Hon Minister of Petroleum Resources & Ors.

“It is wrong and constitutes a clear breach of the provisions and intendment of the Farmout Agreement (FA) as well as the Joint Operating Agreement (JOA) duly executed between the Plaintiff and the 3rd Defendant…”

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