The signing of an Memorandum of Understanding, MoU has discreetly ended a potentially damaging inter-governmental dispute over oil-mining leases.
China state-owned enterprise Sinopec has signed a transfer, settlement and exit agreement with national oil company Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, (NNPCL).
A Nigerian commercial law firm Templars provided legal advice to Sinopec and its Addax subsidiaries on the agreement, which took the form of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) and was announced and signed on 1 November.
The MoU resolves a long-running and potentially diplomatically damaging dispute regarding oil-mining leases (OMLs), which had been subject to a production-sharing contract (PSC) between Addax Petroleum and NNPC.
It is anticipated that NNPC will subsequently assume responsibility for operating the OMLs in question, with its group CEO Mele Kolo Kyari signalling a great need for investment in, and growth of the assets.
NNPC’s chief upstream investment officer Bala Wunti confirmed on Twitter that the MoU ends Addax’s status as PSC contractor of the four OMLs. It constitutes NNPC’s inaugural notable transaction after enactment of Nigeria’s Petroleum Industry Act , a transformative law setting out a framework for exploitation of natural resources and encouraging a more commercial approach to the industry.
Templars used a team headed by managing partner Oghogho Akpata along with head of finance, and mergers and acquisitions, Chike Obianwu, with assistance from dispute-resolution head Adewale Atake and fellow disputes partner Godwin Omoaka, as well as a wider group of managing counsels, senior associates and associates.
Last month Templars advised the entity responsible for implementing the Nigeria Off-Grid Market Acceleration Program (NOMAP), Rovingheights Nigeria, on its inaugural stage of financing of productive use technologies in the Nigerian energy industry. It also acted for Helios Investment Partners’ joint venture with Vito, OVH Energy, on its withdrawal from Nigeria following disposal of its hitherto 100 per cent interest in OVH Energy Marketing and ASPM companies, in favour of Nigerian entity Nueoil Energy.