Vitol E & P Ltd v Africa Oil and Gas Corporation

Contract – Construction. The Commercial Court allowed the claimant's claim for payment of a sum it alleged was due from the defendant under a share sale and purchase agreement that had been entered into to increase the defendant's interest in an oil exploration venture. The natural meaning of the phrase 'commencement of drilling' would be adopted, with the result that it meant the physical penetration of the seabed by spudding, not the preparations for drilling. Accordingly, the sums were payable under the terms of the agreement as commencement of drilling had not occurred before the date provided.

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