A legal halt was on Monday ordered to the planned sale of three oil blocks by the Supreme Court, a day the country learnt of a fresh huge crude find.
A five-man panel of the Supreme Court ordered that the status quo ante bellum be maintained in plans by Chevron Nigeria Limited to sell Oil Mining Leases 52, 53 and 55 to an oil firm, Seplat Petroleum Development Company Limited.
The planned sale is being challenged another company, Brittania-U Limited, which is laying claims to the oil blocks.
The Court of Appeal had in a ruling set aside an order of interlocutory injunction, restraining Chevron and Seplat from proceeding with the sale.
The five-man panel of the apex court, presided over by Justice Tanko Muhammad, on Monday ordered a stay of action pending the determination of the appellant?s appeal.
The appellant?s lawyer, Mr. Rickey Tarfa (SAN), had earlier reminded the court that the appellant?s application for mandatory injunction at the last sitting on March 24, 2015, was adjourned till Monday for hearing.
But Damian Dodo (SAN), counsel for Seplat, urged the court to entertain the main appeal, and leave interlocutory matters.
?Dodo?s submission was supported by the counsel for Chevron Nigeria and BNP Paribas Securities Corp, Uche Nwoye (SAN), as well as the counsel of Chevron U.S.A Inc and Mr. Hermant Patel (also a respondent in the suit), Mr. A. V. Etuwewe.
In his response, Tarfa? told the court that it was necessary to hear his application for mandatory injunction as there might be nothing to benefit from the appeal if an injunction to protect the subject matter of the suit was not issued.
?Justice Muhammad thereafter asked the respondents? counsel if they were ready to give undertaking on behalf of their clients not to take any action against the subject matter.
In its unanimous decision, the apex court, then ordered parties to maintain the status quo pending the outcome of the appeal, which it adjourned for hearing till October 6.
Justice Muhammad ruled: ?Parties in the matter are ordered to maintain status quo. No party is allowed to take any step that will affect the res (subject matter) of the appeal?.
Meanwhile, Oyo-8, an oil well owned by an Ibadan-Oyo State born multibillionaire who is based in the United States, Dr. Kaase Lawal, on Monday announced that it had struck oil in large quantities.
Reuters reported on Monday that his company, Erin Energy Corporation announced that the Oyo-8 well located in OML 120 offshore Nigeria has exceeded expectations and is currently producing at a stabilized rate of 7,080 barrels of oil per day. Erin Energy is the operator and has a 100% interest in the well.
Erin Energy is currently engaged in drilling and completion operations on the Oyo-7 development well and expects to achieve first oil production from the well in a few weeks.
Additionally, in preparation for the planned drilling of one of its Miocene exploration prospects later this year, the Company has completed site survey of three of its top prospect drilling locations. Erin Energy announced last year that it had identified, and high-graded to drill-ready status, four Miocene exploration prospects. The four prospects have a combined 2.4 billion barrels of recoverable P50 prospective resources.
Lawal is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the company.
He is a board member of the National Urban League, and the Cullen Engineering Research Foundation. He is also a member of the Board of directors and a shareholder of Unity National Bank, the only FDIC insured and licensed African American-owned bank in Texas.
Lawal earned a bachelor?s degree in chemistry from Texas Southern University and an MBA in finance and marketing from Prairie View A&M University. He was awarded an honorary doctorate in philosophy from Fort Valley State University, and an honorary doctorate in humane letters from Texas Southern University.
Also on the management of the company?s board are Segun Omidele, Senior Vice President (Exploration and Production), Nicholas Evanoff, Senior Vice President (General Counsel and Corporate Secretary), Femi Ayoade (Country Manager, Nigeria), Augustin Nkuba (Country Manager, Kenya), Tunde Fahm (Country Manager, The Gambia), and Peter Oriaifo (Country Manager,Ghana).