African Petroleum’s Gambia case passes first hurdle

As far as I can see the case development for the case of African Petroleum vs The Gambia has not been recited by the Gambian press. It seems to me that the annulment of the Oil licences A1/A4 has been handled poorly by the government and that they now have lost the first step in the ongoing case. Gambia’s claim has been that African Petroleum contract where not valid anymore and they tried to get the ICSID case dismissed. The however lost on this point, the contract seems to still be valid and the case continues. It seems that Gambia and the government have miscalculated the situation and where depending on the contracts being not valid. Gambians government is now spending a lot of money on this ICSID case. Can they afford this? Why have this not been commented in the Gambian press? Is this still unknown?
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“African Petroleum’s Gambia case passes first hurdle
Barry Morgan
8 Jan 2019 23:00 GMT Updated 9 Jan 2019 17:13 GMT
UK junior African Petroleum may have won some respite in arbitration proceedings before the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) over revoked title to deep-water blocks A1 & A4 off Gambia.
The Oslo-listed explorer lodged three separate cases against Gambia in 2016 to prevent re-allocation of its licences, which were revoked after the government alleged non-performance of exploration commitments.
The move by African Petroleum prompted Minister of Justice Abubacarr Marie Tambadou to play for time, allowing a window of opportunity to firm up alternative suitors.
Tambadou protested concern over the fundamental legitimacy of the case and last April filed preliminary objections pursuant to Rule 41(5), which allows for the dismissal of unmeritorious claims.
The ICSID has now issued its decision on Gambia’s objections. As no award has been made and no more details have been forthcoming, it is possible that Gambia’s claims have been rejected.
Since 2006, ICSID has offered an expedited procedure to dispose of unmeritorious claims, including claims to jurisdiction at an early stage, but a decision in this respect is distinct from a final award and the case remains officially pending.
Acting for African Petroleum is London-based law firm Clyde & Co, whereas the Gambian team is supported by California-based Edi Faal, London-based Lucas Bastin of Essex Court Chambers and Omnia Strategy, the last chaired by Cherie Blair, the wife of former UK prime minister Tony Blair.
Gambia has struggled to complete the re-allocation process, despite expressions of interest having been received from Tullow Oil, Woodside Petroleum, Australia’s Far Ltd and China National Offshore Oil Corporation.
African Petroleum is bound by confidentiality agreements and cannot formally comment on developments in the case.
However, Upstream understands the company is content that the arbitration process is ongoing and continues in line with its expectations.”
The Outcome seems to have gone in African Petroleum’s favor:
From the ICSID web page: “Were the Tribunal to uphold the Respondent’s application, Rule 41(6) requires that that be done by an Award. As the Tribunal has however concluded that the application must be rejected, it will do so by way of the present Decision, for the reasons set out below which, in the circumstances, can be relatively brief.”
Forwarded by Frank.
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