7KBW and Fountain Court go head-to-head in £1bn Excalibur trial

Fountain Court and 7KBW are gearing up for one of the biggest trials of the year, with the Excalibur oil case due to start on Monday.

The £1bn dispute over oil exploration rights will see 7KBW set mates Simon Picken QC and Jonathan Gaisman QC go head-to-head.

Picken leads a 7KBW team of Timothy Kenefick, Benjamin Parker, Jessica Parker and Emma Hilliard, for the claimant Excalibur Ventures, instructed by Clifford Chance partner Alex Panayides.

Excalibur alleges it is entitled to an interest in rights to exploit and develop petroleum fields in Iraqi Kurdistan.

The Kurdistan government granted rights to Texas Keystone and Gulf Keystone and Excalibur claims there was an agreement to share any plans to develop the region. The two defendants deny this claim.

Fountain Court’s Michael Crane QC is instructed for first defendant Texas Keystone, leading Tamara Oppenheimer and Richard Power, also of Fountain Court, instructed by Jones Day partner Stephen Pearson.

Gaisman is acting for second defendant Gulf Keystone, leading Brick Court’s Harry Matovu QC and Richard Eschwege, instructed by Memery Crystal partners Harvey Rands and Nicholas Scott.

Monday’s trial in the Commercial Court is expected to last for 10 weeks.