Shell hides behind Ophir

LOCAL businessman Moto Mabanga has moved the High Court’s Commercial Division to make amendments in some of its orders in the landmark commercial dispute involving 13tril/-worth of three gas blocks situated off-shore in Mtwara Region, Southern Tanzania.

In his new dramatic of event, Mr Mabanga is asking the court to depart or amend the scheduling order dated February 20, 2017, by granting leave for him to add to the main suit five others defendants, including Royal Dutch Shell.Other defendants to be added are Ophir Tanzania (Block 1) Limited, Ophir Tanzania (Block 3) Limited, Ophir Tanzania (Block 4) limited and Pavilion Energy Pte. Currently, defendants in the matter are BG Tanzania Limited, Ophir Energy PLC and Ophir Services PTY Limited.The businessman has assigned the reason behind his new action as to enable the court to effectually and completely adjudicate upon and settle all questions involved in the Commercial case N. 185/2013 involving gas Blocks One, Three and Four and for interests of justice.In response to the application in question, however, BG Tanzania Limited, as the respondent in the suit, has filed two grounds of objections, requesting the court to reject the new action by the businessman because the application is time barred and has not been supported by law.Judge Barke Sahel will hear the grounds of objections on November 20. Mr Mabanga states in his affidavit to support the application that after the court had made the scheduling order on February 20, 2017, certain new facts came to his knowledge that warrant additional of parties.

Among such new facts include the Ophir companies to form new companies, including Ophir Tanzania (Block 1) Limited, Ophir Tanzania (Block 3) Limited, Ophir Tanzania (Block 4) limited and transfer their entire interests in the three gas blocks to those subsidiary companies.

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