Victory For GHL As Court Stops Norwegian Company, Dolphin Drilling, From Removing Rig From Nigeria 

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A Federal High Court in Lagos has restrained Norwegian company, Dolphin Drilling Limited, or anybody acting on its behalf, from removing, demobilising or decommissioning the Blackford Dolphin rig from the field of General Hydrocarbons Limited (GHL), located in Nigeria’s resource rich Niger Delta region, pending the hearing and determination of a motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.

The court also granted GHL’s request for an emergency arbitrator to be appointed by the court. 

The judge ruled that appointment of an emergency arbitrator would

be made within 24 hours.

This follows the failure of Dolphin Drilling, to vacate a substantive interim injunction order issued against it, by Hon. Justice Akintayo Aluko of the Federal High Court, Lagos.

Incorporated in 2009, GHL is the operator of OMLs 120 and 121, and is the only fully indigenous offshore oil and gas company in Nigeria. Its mission is to carry out the commercial development and exploration of deep offshore energy resources and assets located in Nigeria’s resource rich Niger Delta region, for the people of Africa.

GHL had engaged the services of Dolphin Drilling for work on its Ewo field but the relationship soured when Dolphin Drilling abruptly stopped work in February 2024, which led to GHL terminating the contract. 

The parties attempted to revive their contractual relationship vide a side letter dated 22nd of March 2024.  

However, contrary to claims by Dolphin Drilling that there are payment issues, GHL contends that the Blackford Dolphin rig was unserviceable for a prolonged period of time following the side letter agreement and required Dolphin Drilling to make good on its contractual obligations.  

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GHL also provided Dolphin Drilling with comfort letters from reputable global financial institutions. But Dolphin Drilling breached the terms of the side letter when its Blow-out Prevention (BOP) System failed a performance test. 

Dolphin Drilling then served a defective notice of termination and attempted to demobilise the Blackford Dolphin rig.

This led GHL to take Dolphin Drilling to court, seeking for it to fulfil its contractual obligations, which was affected by technical challenges with its BOP system on the Blackford Dolphin rig. 

The High Court in Lagos on May 8 granted GHL an injunction barring Dolphin Drilling from taking away Blackford Dolphin rig from Nigeria until the arbitration instituted by GHL is determined.

Demola Ojo 

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