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Tuesday, October 24 2017 @ 05:36 AM AST

Atlantic LNG wins court case against Spanish customer

A Spanish customer that hauled Point Fortin-based Atlantic, the world's 7th largest liquified natural gas (LNG) producer, before an international tribunal lost its case and now has to pay Atlantic US$3.5 million to cover its arbitration costs.

"U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan rejected the challenge from Gas Natural Aprovisionamientos SDG SA (GNA) contesting the arbitration win for Atlantic LNG Co. of Trinidad and Tobago before a New York panel constituted by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law. GNA had accused Atlantic of reneging on its contractual obligations to extend a 20-year supply agreement only for the arbitrators to side with Atlantic and award the supplier about $3.2 million in arbitration costs, a decision Judge Kaplan affirmed because courts cannot review how tribunals interpret contracts," said legal journal Law360's Bryan Koenig in a September 27 note.

Koenig wrote: "GNA contended that the contract creating the supply deal running from 1998 to 2018 required Atlantic to extend the project up to another five years under a mandated 2013 review so long as there was enough gas supply in the dedicated reserves and doing so would be economical. But Atlantic countered in March that it was entitled to consider whether the profit potential it found would really be worth it and that it was justified in finding otherwise, a holding with which the tribunal agreed."

He said: "Underlying GNA's challenge to the arbitration is a contention that it was held to "never disclosed and partly unknowable" requirements of proof that made it impossible to win despite showing the tribunal both extension-triggering elements. Specifically, the tribunal required GNA to rebut testimony from Atlantic Vice President Roger Ferguson that his decision to personally block the extension was based on his opinion that the returns derived from an extension would not meet Atlanticís 'hurdle rate,' or minimum return rate."

In a statement, Atlantic's attorneys said: "Skadden has secured an international arbitration win for Atlantic LNG Company of Trinidad and Tobago. On September 26, Judge Lewis Kaplan of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed a petition by Spanish energy company Gas Natural Aprovisionamientos SDG, S.A. (GNA) to vacate two arbitral awards rendered in Atlantic's favor by an UNCITRAL tribunal seated in New York. The court also upheld award of fees totaling $3.2 million in Atlantic's favor."

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In June, Spain's national statistics office for energy, CORES, reported that T&T exports of LNG to Spain was almost halved in 2016 compared to 2015. View here:

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