Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - British judge green lights seizure of $9B from Nigeria over gas deal

British judge green lights seizure of $9B from Nigeria over gas deal

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The Process and Industrial Developments Limited company was founded by two Irish business partners for the purpose of executing the 2010 deal with the Lagos government. PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP

British judge green lights seizure of $9B from Nigeria over gas deal

A British judge on Friday gave the green light for a tiny private firm to seize more than $9 billion in assets from the Nigerian government over a failed natural gas deal.

The amount represents one-fifth of the foreign reserves held by Africa’s largest economy.

The decade-long dispute pits an unheralded firm founded by two Irish business partners against an energy-rich but politically-troubled nation of 200 million people.

The 2010 deal between the Process and Industrial Developments Limited (P&ID) company – widely reported to be registered in the British Virgin Islands – and the Nigerian government was meant to be a win-win for both sides.

It provided for P&ID to “build a state-of-the-art gas processing plant to refine natural gas . . . [that] Nigeria would receive free of charge to power its national electric grid,” according to the company’s website.

P&ID intended to sell the byproducts from the process on the global market for “profits in the billions of dollars”.

London court documents released on Friday showed that the arrangement fell through in 2012 without P&ID ever breaking ground on the plant.

It sued Nigerian government for breaching the agreement by failing to provide the gas – or install the promised pipelines.

An arbitration tribunal in London awarded the firm $6.6 billion in damages in January 2017.

P&ID said accrued interest of $1.2 million a day had pushed that amount to more than $9 billion – about one-fifth of Nigeria’s declared foreign reserves of $45 billion.

The government’s legal team countered that English courts did not have the jurisdiction to settle the dispute.

It told the English court that the original agreement was struck under “Nigerian law, and that as a matter of Nigerian law the seat of the arbitration was Nigeria”.

The government’s lawyers added that the settlement was “manifestly excessive and penal,” according to court documents.

But P&ID insisted that it was up to the English arbitration tribunal to decide where the case should be heard – and who should issue the final ruling.

Justice Christopher Butcher of the Commercial Court in London agreed.

“I am prepared to make an order enforcing the final award,” he wrote in his ruling on Friday.

“I will receive submissions from the parties as to the precise form of order appropriate”.

A lawyer representing P&ID said the firm intended to “begin the process of seizing Nigerian assets in order to satisfy this award as soon as possible,” the Bloomberg news agency reported.

The Nigeria government issued no immediate comment.


  • Gov’t exempts visa A and B holders from Covid fees

    Airline passengers who are diplomats and officials of international organisations holding Type A and B visas for travel to Cambodia are exempted from paying Covid-19 testing fees, said the Ministry of Health in its latest adjustment of rules on Wednesday. Health Minister Mam Bun Heng

  • All inbound flights set to face added scrutiny

    Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said on Monday that the ministry is monitoring all inbound flights, after it was announced that only those from Malaysia and Indonesia will be temporarily cancelled from August 1. Vandine said on Monday that the two countries were identified as

  • Flights from Indonesia, Malaysia cancelled

    A Ministry of Health official has warned of the possibility of Covid-19 spreading through community transmission after the total infected cases in the Kingdom rose to 225. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine told reporters on Saturday that the possibility of community transmission cannot be overlooked and that