The Department of Petroleum Resources has said over 43 cases in the Nigerian oil and gas industry are waiting to be looked into by the newly inaugurated Alternative Dispute Resolution Centre.
Its Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr Sarki Auwalu, said the ADRC was established in January as one of the centres in the National Oil and Gas Excellence Centre with the principal aim of providing a platform where disputes in the industry could be settled in a timely, cost-effective, and mutually agreeable manner.
He said the agency had noted the several oil and gas-related disputes currently pending before Nigerian and international courts and tribunals.
“These disputes usually take a considerable amount of time and cost to resolve. A typical dispute in court runs for a significant period prior to the rendering of a final judgement which may not be to the satisfaction of any of the parties,” he said on Thursday at the flag-off of the ADRC in Lagos.
According to Auwalu, in certain instances, court judgements and even arbitral awards do not adequately resolve disputes in a manner consistent with the regulatory and commercial interests of the industry.
He said the establishment of the centre would ensure the settlement of disputes through the use of industry experts with in-depth understanding of the issues before them for quick resolutions, all in the overall interest of industry players, stakeholders and the nation.
“The ADRC has started operations,” he said, adding that the agency had to inaugurate the centre, the Advisory Council and the Body of Neutrals ‘because we have a lot of cases’.
“Right from January 21 when the president commissioned NOGEC, which ADRC is part of, we received so many requests; we have over 43 cases now awaiting for the centre to really look into, and with this, we believe many more cases will be referred to the ADRC for mediation and arbitration,” Auwalu added.
According to him, the establishment of the ADRC is also expected to boost investors’ confidence by easing the cost of doing business, reducing capital flight occasioned by expensive out-of-country court and arbitration proceedings, and build competence and capacity in Nigerians by accrediting them to become ADR professionals.
The DPR said the advisory council, comprising eminent Nigerians who have distinguished themselves in the oil and gas industry and the judiciary, was established to provide guidance and direction for the smooth running and efficient operation of the centre.