Gordon Nardell QC in DRC oil exploration settlement

Gordon Nardell QC in DRC oil exploration settlement


The conservation charity WWF and UK-based oil mid-major SOCO have announced a settlement of their dispute about SOCO’s activities in the Virunga National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo. Virunga is Africa’s oldest national park and on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites in danger. WWF brought a “specific instance” – a complaint – under the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. WWF objected to SOCO’s implementation of an oil exploration permit granted by the DRC government in defiance of repeated warnings by UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee and without a full environmental impact assessment. SOCO maintained that its activity was confined to scientific surveys to inform a strategic environmental assessment by the DRC authorities.  Following a mediation in London, SOCO undertook not to carry out exploratory or other drilling within Virunga unless UNESCO and the DRC government agree that the activities are compatible with its world heritage status.  Thirty Nine Essex Street energy specialist Gordon Nardell QC advised WWF. The settlement received wide attention in the media including the Guardian and BBC.


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