Judgment in oil and gas contract dispute - Azerbaijan

20 March 2012

Barber, Jangra and Ceng Overseas Ltd v Rasco International Ltd and Rassouli

Thomas Roe and Alexander Halban appeared for the Claimants in this High Court trial concerning an oil and gas pipeline contract in Azerbaijan.

The Claimants sued their business partner for unlawfully excluding them from their joint business: operating an oil and gas pipeline contract for BP in the Caucasus. They accused the Defendants of breach of trust and of keeping the profits made on the contract for themselves. They obtained freezing injunctions against the Defendants’ bank accounts in London and Dubai, which contained partnership money.

The Defendants denied liability entirely. They argued that the Claimants had breached the agreement and accused them of fraud and dishonesty. The Defendants contended that they had already dissolved the partnership and argued that this allowed them to keep the profits of the business.

The Court gave judgment for the Claimants on every issue, finding that the Defendants had acted unlawfully and in breach of trust. It rejected the Defendants’ contentions that the Claimants had breached the agreement, or had acted fraudulently or dishonestly. The Court dissolved the partnership and ordered the Defendants to account for all profits which they made since the beginning of the contract.

The judgment also contains a useful summary of the applicable principles in commercial partnerships.

Read the judgment here.