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Excalibur Ventures LLC v Texas Keystone Inc & Gulf Keystone Petroleum Limited

10th Sep 2013

The Commercial Court has given judgment in Excalibur Ventures LLC v. Texas Keystone & ors, a high profile energy dispute concerning interests in four large oilfields in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Excalibur Ventures LLC had entered into a Collaboration Agreement with Texas Keystone and also, it alleged, Gulf Keystone Petroleum Limited, an AIM-listed oil and gas exploration company which holds interests in production sharing contracts for the oilfields in question.  Excalibur alleged that the Collaboration Agreement entitled it to an interest in all four of those contracts, and claimed specific performance, or alternatively damages of more than US$1.6 billion on various different contractual and non-contractual grounds.  Gulf Keystone, and two of its subsidiaries which were also co-defendants, denied that they were parties to the Collaboration Agreement; and all of the Defendants denied any liability to Excalibur.

The trial was one of the most significant cases last year: it ran for five months and involved disputes ranging across sixteen causes of action in both English and New York law.  There was a major security for costs application during the course of the trial, and earlier hearings in the same proceedings also gave rise to significant decisions on the disclosure of litigation funding agreements and, in particular, the grant of anti-arbitration injunctions (reported at [2011] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 289).

On 10 September 2013, Mr Justice Christopher Clarke handed down a summary of his decision, in which he dismissed all of Excalibur’s claims. 

Jonathan Gaisman QC and Richard Waller QC acted for the Gulf Defendants.
Simon Picken QC, Tim Kenefick, Jessica Sutherland and Keir Howie acted for Excalibur.

To view the summary please click here.

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