Court tells CNOOC it has ‘case to answer’ over missing Nigerian crude revenue

Justice Aikawa of the Federal High Court, Lagos has struck out a preliminary objection filed by the Nigerian arm of the China National Offshore Oil Corporation against the Federal Government.

When the matter came up on Tuesday, 30 January 2018, for a ruling on a preliminary objection filed by CNOOC Exploration & Production Nigeria Ltd, the court dismissed the objection and held that there exists sufficient cause of action against the company by Nigeria and asked the company to answer the case against it.

It should be recalled that the Federal Government had through its counsel, Professor Fabian Ajogwu, SAN instituted actions in court sometime in 2016 against some international oil companies (IOCs) to recover lost revenues arising from undeclared and under-declared crude oil shipments from Nigeria to different parts of the world between 2011 and 2014.

The matter has been adjourned to 19 March. Effort to speak to Mr. Ituah Imhanze, lawyer to the Federal Government proved abortive as he was not willing to speak on the matter, saying it was sub judice.

Founded in 1999 and effectively China’s oil and gas company, CNOOC said Thursday it plans to expand aggressively, drilling 132 new exploratory wells this year and increasing its capital expenditure (CAPEX) by at least 40 percent.

Discussing its 2018 strategy in a presentation in Hong Kong, company CEO Yuan Guangyu and chief financial officer Xie Weizhi revealed plans to $11.-$12.7 billion this year, adding that the company expects to reach positive final investment decision (FID) for major projects this year, including in the United Kingdom, Iraq, Nigeria, Uganda, Canada, the United States, Guyana and Brazil.

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