The Implications of the Extended Interim Order in GHL vs. Dolphin Drilling

Introduction to Interim Orders in Arbitration  

On May 20, 2024, the Federal High Court extended an interim order, halting any changes to the existing drilling contract conditions between Dolphin Drilling, a Norwegian offshore drilling contractor, and Lagos-based General Hydrocarbons Limited (GHL). This decision plays a crucial role amid the ongoing arbitration regarding their contract dispute. 

Background of the Dispute  

The dispute began when Dolphin Drilling attempted to terminate its contract with GHL due to alleged non-payment. Following this, GHL initiated an arbitration process and successfully obtained an interim order from the Federal High Court to maintain the status quo until an arbitrator was appointed. Despite attempts by Dolphin Drilling to have the order lifted/vacated, the court extended it to ensure the preservation of the drilling rig involved in the dispute until an arbitrator’s decision. 

Understanding Interim Orders Pending Arbitration  

  • Definition: Interim orders are temporary judicial measures issued to protect the assets central to a dispute. They prevent any party from taking actions that could predetermine the results of the arbitration or render the arbitral award nugatory/unenforceable therefore ensuring a fair and unbiased arbitration process as outlined in the Arbitration and Mediation Act 2023 (the “Act”). 
  • Duration and Enforcement: The duration of these orders is not precisely defined in the Act but is intended to last until the arbitration proceedings begin or until the arbitration is empaneled or until the court issues further directives. They can be extended under justifiable circumstances to avoid any potential misuse. 
  • Modifying or Discharging Interim Orders: Parties impacted by interim orders have the right to request variations/modifications or to discharge/dismiss the orders by presenting substantial reasons that justify a change or dismissal, maintaining the balance of fairness and adaptability in ongoing legal scenarios.  

Implications for Stakeholders 

The court’s decision to extend the interim order in the GHL vs. Dolphin Drilling dispute carries significant implications: 

  1. Market Stability: By preventing abrupt operational changes, the order supports market stability, benefiting not just the disputing parties but also their employees, suppliers, and clients. 
  1. Support for Arbitration: The action highlights the judiciary’s commitment to arbitration by endorsing interim measures that protect the dispute resolution process’s integrity. 
  1. Legal Predictability: Extending the interim order provides stakeholders with a clearer legal framework for managing disputes, offering companies enhanced certainty in conflict management and compliance. 

Stay Informed and Prepared with SimmonsCooper Partners  

In a landscape where legal conditions, especially those concerning arbitration, are continually evolving, staying informed and prepared is essential. For those navigating similar legal challenges, it is crucial to understand the implications of interim orders and the arbitration process. For more insights, please reach out to us at or visit our website at

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