DIGOIL v Democratic Republic of the Congo - United States District Court for the District of Columbia - Case No 1-20-cv-01130 - Petition to Confirm Arbitral Award - 30 Apr 2020
Petition to Confirm Arbitral Award
Petitioner DIGOIL (formerly known as Divine Inspiration Group) brings this action to confirm a $619,270,111.62 plus interest arbitral award (the "Award") issued on November 7, 2018 in International Chamber of Commerce ("ICC") Arbitration No.
22370/DDA against Respondent, the Democratic Republic of Congo ("DRC"), following arbitration proceedings seated in Paris, France. Pursuant to the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards of June 10, 1958, 21 U.S.T. 2517 (the "New York Convention") (Ex. 1 hereto), and its implementing legislation, the Federal Arbitration Act ("FAA"), 9 U.S.C. §§ 201-208, DIGOIL requests that this Court confirm the Award and enter judgment in DIGOIL's favor in the amount of the Award.
The Underlying Dispute
9. On December 14, 2007 and January 21, 2008, DIGOIL and DRC entered into production-sharing agreements for the production of certain hydrocarbon resources in the Congo Basin and the Albertine Graben. Award ¶¶ 68, 70; 2007 Agreement; 2008 Agreement. The agreements each provided that DIGOIL would execute oil works aimed at discovering and exploiting hydrocarbon deposits, and that DIGOIL would share revenue from this exploitation with DRC. Award ¶¶ 69-70. The agreements further provided that DRC would timely obtain all necessary approvals for drilling and extraction of hydrocarbon resources, including an order of approval from the President of DRC. Id. ¶¶ 114, 122, 172.
10. To protect DIGOIL's investment in DRC, in each production-sharing agreement, the parties agreed to submit disputes to "arbitration in accordance with the Arbitration Rules of the International Chamber of Commerce of Paris." Award ¶ 12.
DRC also explicitly "waive[d] any immunity in proceedings relating to the execution of any arbitral award rendered." Id.
11. Despite DRC's contractual commitments, DIGOIL was prevented from producing hydrocarbon resources under the production-sharing agreements because DRC failed to obtain the requisite presidential order approving the 2007 Agreement until October 18, 2017--nearly ten years after the parties entered the agreement--and because DRC awarded exploration work to another entity with respect to the portion of the Albertine Graben covered by the 2008 Agreement. Award ¶¶ 143-74. As a result of these actions, DIGOIL incurred significant losses and lost profits. Id. ¶¶ 181, 186-87, 204, 207, 211, 217.
12. On October 31, 2016, DIGOIL initiated arbitration in the International Court of Arbitration of the ICC. Award ¶¶ 12, 16, 87. DIGOIL contended that DRC's failure to timely issue the approval order from the President of DRC resulted in a breach of its obligations under the 2007 Agreement, and that DRC's allocation of exploration work of the Albertine Garden to another entity unilaterally and unlawfully terminated the 2008 Agreement.
Id. ¶ 87; see also id. ¶¶ 143-74.
13. An ICC arbitral tribunal (the "Tribunal") was constituted on June 22, 2017. Award ¶ 27. After the submission by both parties of their written pleadings, the Tribunal held a hearing on the merits in Paris, France from June 28, 2018 through June 29, 2018. Id. ¶¶ 27, 54-56.
14. On November 7, 2018, the Tribunal rendered the Award, finding that DRC breached its production-sharing agreements with DIGOIL by: (1) failing to timely issue to DIGOIL the presidential order required by the 2007 Agreement; and (2) reallocating the oil production site covered by the 2008 Agreement to another entity, thereby unilaterally terminating that agreement. See Award ¶¶ 68-72, 87, 143-74, 260(b)-(c).
15. The Award requires DRC to pay $617,400,178 as damages, Award ¶ 260(f), plus $760,000 in arbitration costs and $1,109,933.62 in legal representation costs and expenses, id. ¶ 260(h), for a total of $619,270,111.62. In addition, the Award requires DRC to pay interest on this sum at the rate of return on 20-year U.S. Treasury bonds, plus 2%, from the date of the Award (November 7, 2018) until the Award is paid in full. Id. ¶¶ 260(f), (h).
16. On April 2, 2019, DRC filed an appeal seeking annulment of the Award before the Paris Court of Appeal. Appeals Decision ¶ 5 (Ex. D to Rozen Decl.). On January 7, 2020, that court dismissed the appeal and granted exequatur of the arbitral award. Id. § VI, ¶¶ 1-2.
- OGEL: Democratic Republic of Congo v Divine Inspiration Group (PTY), DIGOIL - République démocratique du Congo c. Divine Inspiration Group (PTY) - Paris Court of Appeal Case No 01-2020 - French - 7 January 2020
- TDM: Democratic Republic of Congo v Divine Inspiration Group (PTY), DIGOIL - République démocratique du Congo c. Divine Inspiration Group (PTY) - Paris Court of Appeal Case No 01-2020 - French - 7 January 2020