P&ID: English Court Gives Nigeria More Time To Appeal

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An English court has given Nigeria more time to appeal the $10 billion(7.52 billion pounds) arbitration case, after establishing a prima facie against Process and Industrial Development Limited (P&ID) in the Gas Supply Processing Agreement (GSPA). The Commercial Court ruling did not specify the length of the extension in the long-running dispute. According to the Judge, Sir Ross Cranston “In my view there is a strong prima facie case that the GSPA was procured by bribery."

"Not only is the integrity of the arbitration system threatened, but that of the court as well, since to enforce an award in such circumstances would implicate it in the fraudulent scheme. Conclusion on the Kalmneft factors.”

The judge further held that the delay, in this case, was extraordinary and weighed heavily on the side of the balance against an extension. “In my view, however, other factors bring it down in favour of an extension. As I have explained, the delay is not in my view the result of a deliberate decision made because of some perceived advantage, and in all the circumstances Nigeria has acted reasonably”

For the reasons I have given, P&ID has contributed to the delay, and it will not by reason of the delay suffer irremediable prejudice in addition to the mere loss of time if the application is permitted to proceed. Although not a primary factor, fairness in the broadest sense favours an extension in this case. For the reasons given, I grant Nigeria’s applications for an extension of time and relief.”

Process & Industrial Developments (P&ID) won a $6.6 billion arbitration award after a 2010 deal to carry out a gas project in Nigeria collapsed. This has been accruing interest since 2013 and now totals nearly $10 billion, which if Nigeria has to payout would dent the oil-producing country’s foreign reserves. But before Friday’s decision, Nigeria had sought permission in the English courts to appeal the award, despite having missed the original 28-day appeal deadline. It said new information only came to light in late 2019. Nigeria has alleged corruption in the contract and Friday’s ruling will allow the government time to investigate.