Anadarko In Rift With Nigerian Oil Producer

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Anadarko Petroleum, the Texas-based independent oil and natural gas producer, is being sued by a Nigerian oil company that is claiming Anadarko conspired to take away its rights to explore for oil in Sierra Leone. Nigeria-based Oronto Petroleum filed the suit against Anadarko earlier this month.

Oronto alleges Anadarko (APC) worked with a Spanish oil producer to negotiate a back-room deal with the government of Sierra Leone that would result in Oronto losing its part of its exploration rights in the West African country. Oronto had signed a 30-year contract in 2003 to develop the area, which it believes holds billions of barrels of reserves.

Oronto claims Anadarko interfered with Oronto's contract and business relationships and engaged in a civil conspiracy with Spain-based Repsol, according to the Casper Star-Tribune. Sierra Leone auctioned rights to several exploration blocks a decade ago and industry observers believe Oronto won rights to most desirable blocks.

Anadarko is active throughout Africa as the company maintains a presence in Algeria, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia and Mozambique in addition to Sierra Leone.