Dana Gas JV seeks $26.5 billion in damages from Iraqi Kurds

By Anthony DiPaola on 5/30/2017

DUBAI (Bloomberg) -- Dana Gas PJSC and its partners are seeking damages of at least $26.5 billion from Iraq’s self-governing Kurdish region for delays in oil and natural gas projects, a U.S. court filing shows.

United Arab Emirates-based Dana Gas and its partners in the venture, called Pearl Petroleum, filed a petition on May 12 in a federal court in Washington, D.C., seeking “recognition and enforcement” of awards in a London arbitration case, according to the U.S. court documents. The petition is part of a legal process that may allow Pearl Petroleum to seize Kurdish assets if the Kurds don’t pay awards decided in arbitration.

The Kurdistan Regional Government’s energy ministry said in an emailed statement that “the KRG will continue vigorously to pursue its rights and defend its position in all appropriate fora.” Dana Gas declined to comment on the U.S. court filing, while Crescent Petroleum, its biggest shareholder and also a party to the filing, had no immediate comment. 

The partners are pursuing claims in the London Court of International Arbitration against the KRG for damages for delays they say were caused by the KRG in developing the projects. Dana Gas produces most of its oil and gas in Iraq and Egypt. Unpaid receivables from both countries have hurt the producer’s ability to invest and repay creditors.

In November 2015, the London arbitration court awarded Pearl Petroleum about $2 billion for disputed and delayed payments. The venture has yet to collect all the money. The London tribunal ruled in January that the KRG had also impeded Pearl Petroleum’s development work on fields in the region and said the court needed more time to decide the amount of damages to be awarded, according to arbitration documents attached to the U.S. filing.

Pearl Petroleum’s biggest shareholders are Dana Gas and Crescent Petroleum, both based in the U.A.E. emirate of Sharjah. Austria’s OMV AG, Hungarian energy group Mol Nyrt. and Germany’s RWE AG also have shares, according to the venture’s website.

The case is Pearl Petroleum Co. Ltd. et al v. Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq, 1:17-cv-00894-APM U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.).

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