Chevron Oil-Lease Sale Is Halted by Nigerian Court

Chevron Corp.’s planned $1 billion sale of three oil leases in Nigeria was halted by the country’s federal high court after a local bidder sued the company.

Justice Mohammed Yunusa issued an interim injunction preventing Chevron from inviting or accepting further bids for its 40 percent interest in the leases, court documents show.

Local producer Brittania-U is suing Chevron for failing to complete deals on three leases after bidding closed Nov. 15, Brittania-U’s lawyer, Rickey Tarfa, said in a statement. “The principal claim is to validate the sale” to Brittania-U and secure damages for failure to uphold the contract, Tarfa said.

Chevron, the third-largest oil producer in Nigeria, holds interests in 10 deepwater oil blocks in the country in partnership with state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. In June, it offered its 40 percent stake in five leases with a view to selling them by year-end. It’s one of several foreign producers in Nigeria selling assets as their operations are plagued by persistent unrest, violence and crude theft.

The suit against San Ramon, California-based Chevron was filed Dec. 12.

The company is “aware of a court action” in respect of the leases, Isabel Ordonez, a spokeswoman in Houston, said by e-mail. “Chevron is a responsible and law-abiding corporate organization committed to the laws and regulations guiding the operations of oil companies in the country.”

The case is Brittania-U v. Chevron Nigeria Ltd., Chevron U.S.A Inc., & Co., FHC/L/CS/1711/2013.

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