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Nigeria Government appeals court’s decision on Oil fields

President Yar'adua

The Federal Government has appealed a federal court’s decision to return offshore oil exploration rights to South Korea’s National Oil Corp (KNOC), said a court filing obtained by Reuters on Tuesday.
A Federal court ruled in August that the government illegally revoked KNOC's rights to two major offshore oilfields awarded in 2005 by the previous administration in Africa's biggest energy producer.
A court hearing on the appeal is scheduled for Oct. 23.
The case has been closely watched by the oil industry and foreign investors concerned about the security of contracts when administrations change in sub-Saharan Africa's second biggest economy.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo's administration awarded a South Korean consortium led by KNOC rights to the two oil blocks in return for a pledge of major infrastructure investment in Nigeria.
President Umaru Yar'Adua accused the consortium of not fully paying the investment pledged, but the group disputed this.
The cancellation of the rights by Nigeria was a set-back for South Korea's drive to boost its energy security.
But it was a gain for India's top energy exporter Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), which was handed the rights and was a co-defendant with the Nigerian government in the initial case. ONGC did not join the government in its appeal.