Court Bars Ministry of Petroleum, NNPC from Allocating Crude Oil to Addax Petroleum

Chief Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources

A Federal High Court in Lagos has granted the Federal Government’s application barring the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) and National Petroleum Investment & Management Respondent Services (NAPIMS) from allocating crude oil to Addax Oil.

Justice Tijjani Ringim made the order sequel to a Motion for Mareva Injunction filed and argued by the counsel to Federal Government Romeo Ese Michael of D.A Awosika SAN and Co.

The crude, according to the government’s motion, is from that explored /produced from OMLS 123, 124, 126 and 137 as stipulated in the Production Sharing Contract (PSC) of 1998 between the Addax and NNPC.

The Federal Government and the Attorney-General of the Federation are the plaintiffs in the suit while Addax Petroleum Development of (Nigeria) Limited and Addax Petroleum Exploration (Nigeria) Limited are the first and second defendants/respondents.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Ministry Of Petroleum Resources, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and National Petroleum Investment & Management Respondent Services (NAPIMS) are the third to fifth respondents respectively.

The judge dismissed the Defendants’ Notice of Preliminary Objection filed through their counsel I.O Olateru-Olagbegi.

He held that the suit was properly instituted and should be allowed to be heard at trial.

The court agreed with the government that it would serve the interest of justice for the res to be preserved owing to the government’s claim that Addax Petroleum is taking steps to liquidate some of its subsidiaries in Nigeria.

Justice Ringim held: “It will serve the interest of justice if this application is granted because the applicant has established that there is fear of dissipating the res before the hearing and determination of the substantive suit

“I find that this application is meritorious and same ought to be granted. Accordingly it is hereby granted as prayed.”

He adjourned till March 21, 2022 for mention.

The judge however ordered the government to swear to an affidavit that it would indemnify the defendants in the event that it misled the court to grant the injunction.

Other interim reliefs sought by the plaintiffs which were also granted by the court included a prayer to suspend “approval relating to budget expenditure and cost, howsoever described in regard to the interest of the 1st and 2nd Respondents in the aforementioned OMLS pending when the 1st and 2nd Respondents furnish and file before this court verifiable Bank Guarantee from commercial Banks in Nigeria to completely cover the monetary claims of the Plaintiffs in this action.

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