News

April 15, 2024

Breach of contract: Shell sues Venture Global in US court

Shell

•As NLNG risks sanctions from UK court

Following restriction of Liquefied Natural Gas LNG supply to its customers, Shell PLC has made claims against Venture Global LNG(VGL) a United States based LNG exporter, for its breach of contract to supply LNG cargoes.

Also, Nigeria LNG may risk sanctions from a UK High Court for a similar breach of an LNG supply contract.

Both Venture Global LNG and NLNG have been facing hurdles in the United States and in the United Kingdom for its breach of contract in a relatively similar fashion.

While Shell Plc filed its claim with U.S. regulators, the NLNG breach, has now been advanced to the UK High courts for further litigation.

Nigeria LNG is challenging the enforceability of the arbitral award’s demand order, issued by the arbitration panel.

According to Reuters report, Shell Plc has escalated its dispute with Venture Global LNG. 

It accused the liquefied natural gas producer of restricting supply access to it and other customers, while exporting over $18 billion in LNG.

In a letter sent to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Shell requested the commission to compel Venture Global LNG to disclose plant commissioning data to clarify the cause of delayed commercial operations.

Shell and other European companies say they contracted with Venture Global LNG but did not get their gas cargoes under long-term contracts.

They alleged that Venture Global LNG has been selling gas from the plant for more than a year to others, costing them billions in lost profit.

On its part, Nigeria LNG was held to be in breach of contract by failing to deliver 19 cargoes under a contract it executed in January 2020.

The cargoes, which were due for delivery between October 2020 and October 2021, have not been delivered.

In pleadings made by NLNG in its Particulars of Claims to the High Court of Justice in England and Wales Commercial Court, it’s breach was  confirmed by a final arbitration award dated 30th January 2023.

The arbitration tribunal comprised Mr John Beechey CBE, Mr J William Rowley KC and Mr Nevil Phillips.

Nigeria LNG Ltd., is significantly owned by Shell, Total, and Eni.

An industry expert cited similarities between the disputes involving Venture Global LNG and Nigeria LNG. The source attributed the challenge to the unexpected surge in the LNG market.

“The reason for this surge in disputes may                                                                                                                    be related to the unexpected turn in losses to highly profitable margins, as high as $90 million per cargo, at the beginning of the Russian Ukraine conflict, post Covid market recovery and a huge demand in Asia and European markets, it is seen as a golden era for LNG cargoes.

“This situation may have prompted numerous defaults on agreements, with major LNG suppliers opting to retain higher margins at the risk of lengthy litigations,” the source added.“