Today we take up from Article 24 which deals with force majeure, the definition of which is set out in paragraph 2.6. This definition has been amended in the 2016 Trotman Agreement. Without any significance, words like “act of God”, “earthquakes”, “floods”, “tsunamis”, “quarantines” and “piracy” have been inserted, events that would be considered as warranting “force majeure” under any jurisprudence but what is astounding is that “governmental inaction” now constitutes force majeure. I have scoured a range of sources and found no instance in any country or agreement where government inaction constitutes “force majeure”. The source of the amendment is either Trotman or Esso and since it favours Esso one has to assume that the amendment was at Esso’s request.
Paragraph 24.1 of the 1999 began with the words “Any non-performance or delay in performance” has now been qualified with the words “wholly or in part”, meaning that a force majeure in one part of this massive area over which Esso (Exxon) exercises control may arguably be grounds for “force majeure” in the rest of the Contract area which extends to thousands of square miles!
The term “wholly or in part” has….