Africa-focused oil explorer Taipan Resources is seeking at least KES 910 million ($10 million) in damages from East Africa Exploration ( EAX), its partner in a Kenyan oil field and a subsidiary of London-listed oil firm Afren.Taipan’s Kenya-based subsidiary Lion Petroleum said on Monday it had opened an arbitration case against EAX for breaching certain conditions of a joint operating agreement, including contract award procedures and accounting procedures.

 “Afren believes that the claim has no grounds and the company will defend its position,” an Afren spokesman said.Taipan Resources owns 20 percent of the Block 1 oil field licence in Kenya, while Afren holds the rest.

In its latest results update in October, Afren said it had started seismic operations on the block and that drilling work would start after analysing the data.The lawsuit, which was filed on Monday in England, adds to Afren’s problems after credit ratings agency Fitch warned last month of the company’s imminent default.

Afren dismissed its founder and chief executive in October after a review by law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher found that they had received “unauthorised payments”.Afren is currently the target of a takeover, with a Feb. 13, 2015 deadline looming for Nigeria’s Seplat Petroleum Development Co to make a firm offer or walk away.

Source: Reuters

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