Nigeria: Court Stops Revocation of Ororo Marginal Field

28 May 2020

Justice Muslim Sule Hassan of the Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday restrained the Minister of Petroleum Resources and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) from revoking the Ororo Marginal Field in OML 95, pending the determination of the substantive suit.

The judge granted the order of interim injunction against the respondents following a May 19 motion ex parte filed by Owena Oil and Gas Limited.

He ordered the parties to maintain status quo in relation to the revocation, pending the determination of the motion on notice and adjourned till June 10 for hearing.

The Ororo field, discovered in 1986, is located within Oil Mining Lease (OML) 95 in shallow waters offshore Ondo State. It lies in water depths ranging between 23feet 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."

Justice Hassan upheld the argument.

"An order of interim injunction of status quo is hereby granted retraining the defendants/respondents from taking any step in respect of the revocation of the Ororo Marginal Field in OML 95 pending the determination of the motion on notice," the judge held.

The oil firm filed the motion on notice with the minister, DPR and Guarantee Petroleum Company Ltd as first to third respondents.

It sought four reliefs: an interim injunction restraining the first two respondents "from implementing, continuing to implement, enforcing and/or giving effect to the purported revocation of the Ororo Marginal Field within OML 95...

An injunction restraining them from taking any action on or "putting the Ororo Marginal Field within OML95 in the bid basket or conducting any Marginal Field bid round in respect of Ororo Marginal Field.

"An order restraining both respondents from publishing the purported revocation of the Ororo Marginal Field within OML 95 in the official Gazette of the Federal Republic of Nigeria pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice."

It also sought, among others, an order restraining the respondents from, among others, issuing re-entry permits to the third respondent to deal with the Ororo Marginal Field.

Pinhero added: "This application seeks to ensure that the orders of this honourable court are not rendered nugatory or a situation of fait accompli foisted upon the court pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.

"Unless restrained by this honourable court, the 1st and 2nd defendants will put the Ororo Marginal Field within OML95 in the bid basket.

"The balance of convenience is in favour of the applicant who will suffer irreparable damage unless the defendants are restrained by this honourable court as per the prayers sought in this application pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice."

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