The relevance of market expert evidence in determining whether a deal has been done

This briefing focuses on Proton Energy Group SA v Public Company Orlen Lietuva [2013] EWHC (Comm). In this case, in the context of an application for summary judgment, the Commercial Court considered whether or not there was a real issue to be tried as to whether a binding contract had been concluded between the parties based on a review of their negotiations.

Proton Energy Group SA (Proton), a Swiss trader of oil and gasoline related products, and Publicv Company Orlen Lietuva (Orlen), a petroleum refining company incorporated in Lithuania, exchanged e-mails regarding the sale and purchase of crude oil mix.  The parties accepted that the following exchanges had occurred:

  • Proton e-mailed Orlen a “firm offer” to sell CIF Butinge, Lithuania 25,000mt +/- 10% in Seller’s option of crude oil mix CN27090090, European origin as per the specifications attached, with delivery period at the discharge port during 10-15 July 2012 and at a price based on five quotations after the bill of lading date. 
  • E-mail correspondence continued between the parties on the same day, culminating in a oneword e-mail from Orlen stating “Confirmed”…

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