Federal Courts Strengthen Protection of International Arbitration Awards
By James E. Berger and Victoria Ashworth
On January 7, 2008, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a ruling in Gulf Petro Trading Co., Inc. v. Nigerian Natl Petrol. Corp. (Gulf Petro), a long-running dispute between Petrec International, Inc. (Petrec), a wholly owned subsidiary of Gulf Petro, and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). The ruling demonstrates the Fifth Circuits determination to protect international arbitration awards from collateral litigation challenges, and represents a natural extension of federal appellate decisions such as Karaha Bodas Co., L.L.C. v. Perusahaan Pertambangan Minyak Dan Gas Bumi Negara (Karaha Bodas v. Pertamina), a cornerstone of the federal jurisprudence under the United Nations Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards.