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Forbes / AFX News Limited: Nigeria court temporarily stops govt’s sale of 2 Royal Dutch Shell oil blocks

ABUJA (Thomson Financial) – A Nigerian court temporarily stopped the sale of two oil blocks in dispute between the government and Anglo-Dutch oil giant Royal Dutch Shell’s Shell Petroleum Development Co Nigeria Ltd.

‘The OMLs (oil mining leases) should not be sold until I give my ruling on the preliminary objection… I repeat, OMLs 13 and 16 or whatever you call them should not be sold until I deliver my ruling on the 17th of May,’ Binta Murtala-Nyako, a judge of the Federal High Court, said.

Shell is challenging the Nigerian government decision to put on offer OMLs which were originally awarded to it in July 1989, to be jointly funded along with state-run oil company, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

The government said in its affidavit that it decided to re-advertise the blocks for sale because Shell failed to justify its refusal to develop the blocks in a ‘business-like manner’ as required by the Petroleum Act.

The two oil blocks are part of the 45 that Energy Minister Edmund Daukoru had announced would be put on offer Friday in an open-bid process.

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