High Court decision on $470m energy claim is confirmed

Clyde & Co said that it had received confirmation from the Danish Court that the favourable High Court decision absolving Insurer clients of a $470m claim stood as “final and unappealable”.

The energy construction claim was notified by Norwegian energy company Noreco against a group of international insurers in 2009. Noreco claimed that its all-risk insurance policy should pay for damage to the Siri oil platform in the Danish sector of the North Sea, which forced three fields to shut down.

The Danish Maritime and Commercial Court in the first instance ruled against the insurers (in December 2016) awarding Noreco $470m. Clyde & Co succeeded in overturning that judgment in May 2018.

Noreco applied for permission to appeal to the Danish Supreme Court but on October 25th the Appeals Permission Board declined Noreco’s application. The Board’s decision is final and cannot be appealed.

The High Court judgment therefore now stands as good law in Denmark.

The main coverage finding was that the fatigue damage to the platform had occurred long before any of the policies on risk in the proceedings, such that no cover fell due.

The High Court ruled that some limited elements of the early costs were recoverable as ‘sue and labour’, and this award amounts to $12.5m plus interest. The High Court made a costs award of $4m in favour of the insurers.

Clyde & Co’s team was led by partner Nigel Chapman and associates Anna Myrvang and Sophie Shiffman. Clyde & Co worked with two Copenhagen Law firms; Nielsen Norager and Poul Schmith. Clients very closely involved in the effort included QBE, AIG, Lancashire, AXA XL, Zurich and Gard.

Chapman said that “we are very pleased finally to have brought this long running dispute to a close, and at a figure comfortably within our original assessment of exposure even including costs expended. Following the adverse first instance judgment in 2016, clients were carrying significant reserves which can now be released, providing those insurers with a good start to the fourth quarter 2018”.