Thursday, 20 August 2009

Nigeria oil rights grab 'illegal'

Nigeria's high court has ruled that its country's government illegally revoked exploration licences granted to a South Korean oil consortium.

The Korea National Oil Corporation (KNOC) had filed an action demanding the restoration of two offshore licences, granted in 2005.

Nigeria called off the deal in January, alleging that the consortium failed to make agreed payments.

But the court said that President Umaru Yar'Adua did not have such power.

The government has said it will appeal against the court's ruling.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo had awarded KNOC rights to the two oil blocks, which which some estimates suggest could hold as much as one billion barrels.

The case has been watched closely by the oil industry, with foreign investors concerned about the security of contracts when administrations change.

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