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Commercial CourtWednesday 17 January 2018

IPCO (Nigeria) Ltd v Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)

Alan Gourgey QC and Emily McKechnie represent IPCO.

Jonathan Nash QC, James Willan and Catherine Jung represent NNPC.

An 8 week trial concerning the enforcement of a $400 million arbitration award.

IPCO, a Nigerian construction company, has applied under section 101 of the Arbitration Act 1996 to enforce a  Nigerian arbitration award in its favour concerning the construction of the Bonny Export Terminal, a petroleum export terminal in Nigeria.

The respondent, NNPC, is the national corporation responsible for operating Nigeria’s petroleum supplies.

NNPC resists enforcement of the arbitration award on two grounds:

(1) under section 103(3) of the Arbitration Act 1996, on the basis that enforcement of the award would be contrary to public policy – NNPC alleges that IPCO fraudulently inflated the value of its claim before the arbitration tribunal by forging documents.
(2) on the basis that the arbitration tribunal misconducted itself, such that the award would be set aside under Nigerian law.
The trial will shed new light on the Court’s approach to the public policy exception under section 103(3), including the extent to which partial enforcement will be permitted.

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