Chinese firm loses bid to stop trial on $12b missing crude oil

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A crude oil production field PHOTO: AFP

Justice Rilwan Aikawa Aikawa of a Federal High Court, Lagos has struck out the preliminary objection filed by China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited against the Federal Government in a $12b missing crude oil suit.

In the suit, the Federal Government of Nigeria, through its counsel, Prof. Fabian Ajogwu,  is seeking to recover lost revenues from some International Oil Companies (IOCs)  arising from undeclared and under-declared crude oil shipments from Nigeria to different parts of the world between 2011 and 2014.

But CNOOC, one of the IOCs allegedly fingered in crude oil shipments has filed a preliminary objection to the suit.

In the objection, the Chinese firm argued that it has no case to answer on the matter.

But ruling on the preliminary objection filed by CNOOC, said the court dismissed the objection and held that there exists sufficient cause of action against the company by the Federal Government of Nigeria and asked the company to answer the case against it.

It should be recalled that the Federal Government of Nigeria had through its Counsel, Ajogwu, instituted actions in Court sometime in 2016 against some 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.

In the suit marked FHC/L/CS/2016, the Federal Government is seeking 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, starting with shipments to the United States (U.S.).

Trial on the matter has commenced with government lawyers led by Ajogwu, calling two foreign-based expert witnesses who were later cross-examined by counsel.

The court also adjourned till March 19, 2018 for continuation of trial.

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