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A consortium of companies including Dana Gas seeks $26.5 billion in penalties from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) for postponed oil and gas projects, according to new U.S. court filings.
The venture including UAE-based Dana and several other partners, jointly named Pearl Petroleum, argued in a federal court in Washington D.C. that the group demands “recognition and enforcement” of awards granted to them in a London arbitration case. If the Kurds do not pay their due, Pearl could seize the semi-autonomous region’s assets.
“Following the recent US court filing by Crescent Petroleum and Dana Gas regarding the arbitration case with the Kurdistan Regional Government … the KRG will continue vigorously to pursue its rights and defend its position in all appropriate forums,” Kurdistan said in a press statement on the ministry of natural resources’ website.
A majority of Dana’s oil and gas production occurs in Iraq and Egypt, but delays in the former country, which the company contends were caused by the KRG, have hurt corporate bottom lines and prevented timely repayment of sizeable energy sector loans.
A November 2015 ruling by a U.K. arbitration court declared Pearl the victor of a $2 billion settlement for delayed payments from Kurdistan. The legal body also substantiated additional accusations of purposeful tampering with Pearl’s work on fields in Kurdistan, though damages have yet to be awarded.
Getting the U.S. government to back the arbitration rulings would give Dana additional leverage to negotiate a settlement, according to previous statements by the firm’s CEO Patrick Allman-Ward. Dana declined to comment on the filings, though production in Egypt recently saw some new movement:
“In the light of recent collections received from the Egyptian government, the board considered and approved that additional limited drilling activities should be carried out,”the company said in a filing in Abu Dhabi.
By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com