March 12 (Reuters) – Hyperdynamics Corp said UK's Tullow Oil Plc, its partner in an offshore exploration block in Guinea, claimed that regulatory investigations into the U.S. company constituted a force majeure.
Hyperdynamics's activities in obtaining and retaining the concession rights in Guinea are being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Force majeure, which literally means "higher power", allows certain terms of an otherwise legally binding agreement to be ignored.
Tullow told Guinea's government and members of the consortium on Tuesday that the investigations constitute a force majeure event under the terms of the companies' production-sharing contract and the joint operating agreement, Hyperdynamics said on Wednesday.
Hyperdynamics and Tullow are exploring an 18,750 square kilometer (7,239 square mile) area off the African coast along with Korea National Oil Corp's Dana Petroleum.
Hyperdynamics said it was unable to predict the outcome or timing of the results of Tullow's assertion of the force majeure.
Hyperdynamics Chief Executive Ray Leonard said in October that the investigations would not affect the company's ability to explore the massive oil concession off the coast of Guinea.
Shares of Hyperdynamics closed at $5.26 on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday.
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