A leading Nigerian firm for oil and gas clients
|People in Who’s Who Legal||1|
|Pending cases as counsel||3|
|Value of pending counsel work||US$1.6 billion|
|Current arbitrator appointments||1|
|Lawyers sitting as arbitrator||2|
Based in Lagos, Aelex is one of the largest law firms in West Africa. It was born from a 2004 merger between four commercial firms in the region, one of which was a disputes boutique led by Funke Adekoya SAN, one of Nigeria's most prominent arbitrators. She led the international arbitration practice at Aelex until she left the partnership at the start of 2022.
The practice is now led by Adedapo Tunde-Olowu SAN, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and the Institute of Construction Arbitrators. Other names to know are Ngozi Efobi and Perenami Momodu, who were both promoted to the partnership in 2020. Both sit as arbitrators.
Headquartered in Lagos, the firm has two other Nigerian offices – in Port Harcourt and Abuja – and another in Ghana’s capital, Accra. It is also affiliated to Meritas, a group of some 180 law firms in 90 countries.
Who uses it?
Energy, construction, oil and gas and financial services companies make up the bulk of the firm’s clients in its arbitration practice. Notable clients include Shell, ExxonMobil, TotalEnergies, Eni, Petrobras, Ivory Coast’s national oil company Petroci and South Africa’s SacOil.
The firm secured a partial award worth US$1.4 billion for a consortium led by Shell in a claim against the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in 2013. The overall dispute is over US$3 billion. However, the proceedings were halted by a Nigerian court injunction. An action to enforce the award in the US courts has been stayed while the consortium pursues an appeal in Nigeria.
Adedapo Tunde-Olowu SAN and Ngozi Efobi successfully represented a multinational oil company in two rounds of arbitral hearings involving four international oil companies and a Nigerian oil and gas regulator relating to the redetermination of equity participation in a unitised Nigerian oil field.
Efobi obtained a favourable award for a telecoms company and is advising the same client in a multiparty arbitration involving a commercial bank.
Perenami represented a Big Four global consultancy firm in an LCIA arbitration arising out of exit payments, defeating claims for personal damages against senior employees of the firm. She also successfully represented a multinational oil and gas company in an arbitration arising out of a gas supply agreement; and is advising an oil and gas client in a billion-dollar dispute over ajoint venture.
Funke Adekoya SAN retired from the partnership to pursue a solo practice as arbitrator.
ǼLEX is a full-service law firm and one of the largest law firms in West Africa with its head office in Lagos, Nigeria and other offices in Port Harcourt and Abuja in Nigeria, and in Accra, Ghana. The Firm has 11 partners, 1 international counsel and over 50 lawyers operating from its various offices. Lawyers in the firm are admitted to practice in several jurisdictions including Nigeria, New York, Ghana, England and Wales. In addition to qualifying in law, lawyers in the firm have qualifications in disciplines such as political science, economics and engineering. ǼLEX has provided legal advisory services on major transactions and projects across several of the Firm’s practice areas.
ǼLEX has earned a reputation for excellent work in various practice areas including Mergers & Acquisitions and Private Equity, Corporate/Commercial, Labour and Employment, Taxation, Capital Markets, Foreign Direct Investment, Intellectual Property and Technology, Banking and Finance, Transportation, Dispute Resolution, Aviation, Environment and Telecommunications.
Clients of the Firm are predominantly multinational companies including banks and financial institutions, airlines, oil and gas companies, insurance companies, shipping lines, trading and manufacturing conglomerates.
The Firm advises foreign embassies, multilateral agencies, non-governmental organizations, Chambers of Commerce and private clients. The Firm also provides legal advisory services to professional colleagues in Europe, Asia, the United States of America and other African countries who require advice on Nigerian law