Judge urges settlement in Tullow Oil case

A HIGH Court judge yesterday warned Tullow Oil that pigs would fly before Uganda repaid the oil firm $313m that is at the centre of a bitter dispute.

Tullow is suing its former partner Heritage Oil for the money, claiming it was forced to pay its rival’s Ugandan tax bill. Justice Burton urged both sides to try to find another way to settle the case.

Tullow paid Heritage $1.45bn for its 50 per cent share in three huge Ugandan oil fields back in 2010. The Ugandan government then demanded $313m from Heritage in capital gains tax on the deal.

Tullow said it was then forced to pay Heritage’s disputed tax bill so that it could secure approval on the sales of two 33 per cent interests in the fields in early 2011. But Heritage claims Tullow sent a memorandum of understanding agreeing to pay the tax bill even before it received legal advice that it was required to do so.

The case continues.