Russia’s Gas Giant Insists on Mediation with Moncrief Oil
Wednesday, September, 17, 2014
A dispute over a stake in a Russian oil field and allegedly stolen research has dragged on for more than fifteen years as Russia’s largest company, OAO Gazprom, once again insists that Moncrief Oil International, Inc. must settle their dispute via mediation as outlined in the contract between the two companies. Gazprom has asked a judge in the U.S. to order Moncrief into mediation over the matter.
Moncrief entered into negotiations over a stake in an oil field located in Russia in 1998. In 2006, Moncrief filed a breach of contract lawsuit against the Gas Giant, but the suit was dismissed after Gazprom insisted that any disputes were covered by the contract’s alternative dispute resolution (ADR) clause that required conflicts to be settled via mediation or arbitration.
Moncrief’s new lawsuit alleges that Gazprom took secret research revealed during the initial negotiations and used it without permission. Gazprom has not commented on the new allegations beyond insisting that since it’s still the terms of the 1998 contract being discussed, the dispute must be resolved via mediation. The Moncrief lawsuit was filed in Fort Worth, Texas, in the United States.
As Gazprom points out, Moncrief appears to be trying to enforce the 1998 contract selectively: Suing over certain agreements while denying the validity of the ADR clause. They argue that the contract is either valid, in which case mediation must be used to settle the disputes, or it is invalid, in which case Moncrief has no claim whatsoever.