ERHC Commences Arbitration in Blocks 5 & 6 of Joint Development Zone

ERHC Energy has dispatched notices of arbitration for service on the Joint Development Authority (JDA) and the governments of Nigeria and Sao Tome and Principe to commence arbitration in London.

The arbitration relates to ERHC's rights in Joint Development Zone (JDZ) Blocks 5 and 6. No Production Sharing Contracts have been signed in either Block since working interests in the Blocks were awarded in 2005 to several companies, including ERHC. ERHC was awarded a 15 percent working interest in JDZ Blocks 5 and 6 in a 2005 bid/licensing round conducted by the JDA, following the exercise by ERHC of preferential rights in the Blocks as guaranteed by contractual and treaty arrangements.

ERHC wants the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) to clarify that ERHC's interests in JDZ Blocks 5 and 6 remain intact. Earlier, ERHC filed suit in the Federal High Court in Nigeria to ensure that no action contrary to ERHC interests was taken in both Blocks pending the arbitration in London.

Neither the notice of arbitration nor the lawsuit concerns any of ERHC's other interests in the JDZ and in the Sao Tome and Principe Exclusive Economic Zone.

"We are hopeful that resolving this matter quickly and amicably will serve as the spark needed for all interested parties to finally make the long-awaited progress in Blocks 5 and 6," said ERHC Chief Operating Officer Peter Ntephe. "Our involvement in JDZ Blocks 2, 3 and 4 has affirmed our conviction on how well the process can work when operators have world-class expertise."