By Adedapo Adesanya
A Federal High Court in Abuja has ruled in favour of Transnational Energy Limited in the dispute over Oil Mining License (OML) 49 oil field and has ordered Nigeria to pay the firm $20 million damages.
According to the court judgment, Nigeria is expected to restore the Hely Creek and Abigborodo fields in OML 49, farmed-out to Transnational Energy Limited by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)/Chevron Joint Venture, back to the company (Transnational Energy).
The lease, which was concluded in 2017 between Transnational Energy and the joint venture operators, Chevron Nigeria Limited, was, among others, for the purpose of providing feedstock to a gas-to-power project developed by Transnational Energy and partners which started in 2012.
In February 2017, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) had conveyed a letter of consent by the Minister of Petroleum Resources, approving the farm-out and its terms and equally directed the company to pay a prescribed premium to the federal government, after which the lease would become effective.
Transnational Energy paid the prescribed fee, but in January 2019, the late Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr Abba Kyari, wrote a memo revoking the earlier ministerial consent on the instruction of the President.
The DPR, without any notice to Transnational Energy, put the two fields in the 2020 marginal fields basket, though the fields were not part of the original 57 fields approved for the bid round.
The plaintiff (Transnational Energy Limited) and its sister company in the power business, Bresson A.S. Nigeria Limited, filed a suit FHC/ABJ/CS/1067/2020 in the Federal High Court, Abuja to challenge the actions of the respondents – the minister of petroleum resources, the minister of state for petroleum resources, the Department of Petroleum Resources, the National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS), and the Attorney of the Federation and Minister of Justice.
The suit, which was filed by way of general originating summons by Transnational Energy’s lawyer, Mr Sijuwade Kayode, was backed by a 27 paragraphs affidavit and 16 exhibits.
Transnational Energy contended that the fields were legally farmed-out to it and that having paid the prescribed premium to the federal government, the farm-out was completed and that the later actions of Mr Kyari were null and void.
The plaintiff asked for four reliefs amongst which is the award of $20 million as liquidated damages against the defendants.
The company exhibited its audited accounts, business plan, and financial model, which shows both plaintiffs had jointly expended $22.718 million on the development of the gas and power side of the project.
The financial models also showed it has lost an estimated sum of over $164 million due to the actions of the defendants while the federal government itself may have lost over $68 million in royalty and taxes not earned as a result of the actions of the defendants.
In paragraph 7 of the affidavit, the plaintiffs asserted that its gas-to-power project elicited massive international cooperation spanning over 15 countries and involving over 100 international experts. As a matter of fact, the Hungarian Exim Bank went to parliament to amend its legislation in order to raise her scope of participation in the power side of the projects.
The defendants on their own part argued that the court lacks jurisdiction to hear the case and that the actions of the plaintiff were “statute barred”. They also argued that the DPR, which communicated the letter of 2017, has no power to grant marginal fields and that only the President can do so.
In two and a half hours judgment running to 58 pages, the presiding judge in the case, Justice Taiwo Taiwo, held that the court has jurisdiction because the issue is that of contract. He listed a number of authorities to back his judgment.
Justice Taiwo held that the doctrine of presumption of regularity for the action of the DPR in the cases favours the plaintiff.
He held that Mr Kyari had no locus to act in the manner he did. He counselled government officials to always abide by contracts entered into and not to seek to terminate or abort them after the government has financially benefitted from such contracts and that the sanctity of contract is fundamental to the development of the economy.
The judge also held that the defendants did not challenge the claimant’s deposition and exhibits of its financial statements and therefore, he will be granting the main relief sought and not the alternative reliefs. He awarded $20 million as liquidated damages against the defendants.
Business Post understands that one of the defendants might have filed a notice of appeal backed by an application of stay of execution of the judgment.
BUA Cement Pulls Down Stock Exchange by 0.70%
By Dipo Olowookere
The Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited depreciated by 0.70 per cent on Friday on the back of a decline in the share prices of BUA Cement and 23 others as investors sold off the stocks to book profit as they weigh their options.
As a result, the All-Share Index (ASI) decreased by 350.53 points to settle at 49,664.07 points compared with the previous day’s value of 50,014.60 points. Also, the market capitalisation fell by N189 billion to close at N26.787 trillion in contrast to N26.976 trillion on Thursday.
Business Post reports that the industrial goods sector suffered the heaviest loss on Thursday, depreciating by 4.61 per cent and was trailed by the banking counter, which lost 0.19 per cent as the energy space deflated by 0.16 per cent.
However, the consumer goods sector appreciated by 2.82 per cent influenced by gains in the share price of BUA Foods, while the insurance sector gained 1.75 per cent.
BUA Cement lost 9.95 per cent to trade at N52.95, Chams fell by 9.68 per cent to 28 Kobo, Cutix depreciated by 8.89 per cent to N2.05, Ellah Lakes went down by 6.98 per cent to N4.00, while Unity Bank declined by 6.52 per cent to 43 Kobo.
Conversely, BUA Foods topped the gainers’ log after rising by 10.00 per cent to N59.95, NEM Insurance appreciated by 9.98 per cent to N4.41, Courteville expanded by 9.80 per cent to 56 Kobo, Ikeja Hotel rose by 9.48 per cent to N1.27, while Multiverse improved by 8.44 per cent to N2.44.
During the session, investors bought and sold 750.3 million equities worth N5.3 billion in 4,076 deals compared with the 133.6 million equities worth N2.4 billion transacted in 4,292 deals in the earlier trading day, representing a decline in the number of deals by 5.03 per cent and an increase in the trading volume and value by 461.63 per cent and 117.72 per cent respectively.
Capital Hotels was the busiest stock of the session as it sold 478.2 million units valued at N3.4 billion and was trailed by eTranzact, which sold 77.6 million units worth N176.9 million.
Coronation Insurance exchanged 37.1 million units worth N14.9 million, FBN Holdings traded 30.5 million units for N333.2 million, while UBA traded 13.2 million units valued at N92.7 million.
Naira Gains, Sells N691/$1 at P2P, N677/$1 at Black Market
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Naira appreciated at the Peer-to-Peer (P2P), Investors and Exporters (I&E) and the parallel market windows of the foreign exchange (FX) market on Friday on the back of an improvement in the supply of forex to the financial markets by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The Nigerian currency gained N5 or 0.72 per cent against the United States currency during the trading day to settle at N691/$1 in contrast to the previous session’s value of N696/$1.
Also, in the official market segment, the local currency appreciated by 63 Kobo or 0.15 per cent against the Dollar to close at N429.62/$1 versus Thursday’s exchange rate of N430.25/$1.
It was a similar outcome in the black market, where the domestic currency was strengthened against the greenback during the session byN3 or 0.44 per cent to quote at N677/$1 compared with the previous day’s value of N680/$1.
In the interbank segment of the market, the Naira, however, maintained stability against the British Pound Sterling and the Euro at N513.10/£1 and N433.78/€1 respectively.
Data from FMDQ Securities Exchange showed that on Friday, the value of FX at the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Fixing (NAFEX) went down by 20.7 per cent or $12.06 million to $46.31 million from $58.37 million and this helped the strengthening of the Naira at the I&E at the close of business.
Meanwhile, the digital currency market was bullished during the session as nine of the 10 coins tracked by Business Post pointed northwards, with the US Dollar Tether (USDT) closing flat at $1.00.
Solana (SOL) recorded the highest gain of 10.7 per cent to sell at $47.70, Cardano (ADA) grew by 6.4 per cent to trade at $0.5639, Ethereum (ETH) went up by 6.1 per cent to $2,004.73, while Litecoin (LTC) surged by 4.3 per cent to trade at $64.31.
Further, Dogecoin (DOGE) increased by 4.2 per cent to $0.0739, Shiba Inu (SHIB) appreciated by 3.1 per cent to $0.00001272, Bitcoin (BTC) added 2.9 per cent to quote at $24,670.19, Ripple (XRP) recorded a 1.8 per cent rise to trade at $0.3833, while Binance Coin (BNB) rose by 1.5 per cent to sell for $328.85.
Unlisted Securities Market Bleeds as NDEP Stocks Fall
By Adedapo Adesanya
Niger Delta Exploration and Production (NDEP) Plc opened the door for the bears to penetrate the NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange on Friday.
The unlisted securities market bled by 0.41 per cent on the last trading session of the week as a result of the decline in the share price of NDEP.
Consequently, the market capitalisation of the bourse shrank by N4.08 billion to N1.003 trillion from N1.007 trillion, while the NASD Unlisted Securities Index (NSI) dropped 3.1 basis points to end the day at 762.18 points as against 765.28 points it recorded in the previous session.
Data from the exchange indicated that the stock price of the oil and gas investment company depleted by N22.5 during the session to N209.84 per unit from the previous N232.24 per unit.
It was also observed that the volume of securities traded at the bourse on Friday reduced by 45.5 per cent to 60,475 units from 111,021 units, while the value of trades increased 179.0 per cent to N7.5 million from N2.7 million, with the number of deals increasing by 44.4 per cent to 13 deals from the nine deals carried out a day earlier.
AG Mortgage Bank Plc remained the most traded stock by volume on a year-to-date basis with a turnover of 2.3 billion units valued at N1.2 billion, while Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Plc stood in second place with the sale of 686.5 million units worth N14.2 billion, with Food Concepts Plc in third place with the sake of 147.8 million units valued at N128.4 million.
The most traded stock by value on a year-to-date basis was still CSCS Plc with a turnover of 686.5 million units exchanged for N14.2 billion, while VFD Group Plc was in second place with the sale of 11.1 million units valued at N3.3 billion, with FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc in third place with a turnover of 13.9 million units valued at N1.7 billion.
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