Africa Oil & Gas: Cobalt International Energy sues Angola’s Sonangol for US$2 billion

cobalt-international-energy-logoOil exploration company Cobalt International Energy (CEI) has filed an arbitration suit with the International Chamber of Commerce demanding more than US$2 billion from Angola’s state oil company Sonangol for breach of agreement, the company said.

The action concerns the cancellation by Sonangol of an agreement to buy the 40% stake it owns in two oil blocks, for which the Houston-based company was due to receive US$1.75 billion.

In August 2016, CEI announced that there had been a meeting in late July between Chief Executive Tim Cutt and Sonangol Chief Executive Isabel dos Santos to discuss the sale of those two holdings, and it was agreed that the company would seek to sell the controlling interests in blocks 20 and 21 to “third parties.”

Noting that it would only have a stake in Block 9, the company said that “the buy-and-sell agreement ensures a smooth transition to a new entrant and underlines the commitment of the parties to a final investment decision for (…) production to begin at the end of 2018.”

CEI now argues that the cancellation of the agreement as well as the uncertainty surrounding the deal has made it impossible to find a buyer for those two oil holdings in the Angolan sea.

In addition to Cobalt International Energy, with 40%, both blocks have Sonangol as a partner along with BP, with 30% each.

The Angolan government has not yet ruled on this lawsuit brought by CEI, a company with activities focused on the exploration of oil and assets in the Gulf of Mexico and the west coast of Africa. (source: macauhub)

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