Ridley Terminals, Suncor headed to arbitration

After a lengthy period of inactivity, the court case involving Suncor Energy Inc. and Ridley Terminals has picked up again as the two sides proceed to arbitration over more than initially discussed.

On January 17 Suncor Energy Inc. took Ridley Terminals Inc. to court over RTI’s statement that it would no longer accept coal from Suncor without an anti-freezing agent in it, with the court ruling on February 2 that Ridley Terminals would be legally able to decline shipments from Suncor beginning on February 8. According to Court Services, that is the last filing until May 31, 2011 but the dispute between the two companies continued in the background.

The 2007 operating agreement indicates that disputes between the two parties will be determined by arbitration, which is where the issue is at presently. Suncor expanded the arbitration to include “Suncor’s entitlement to store cargo in the amounts which exceed its contractual entitlement” and “RTI’s refusal to accept frozen cargo”, but now the issue is back before the courts due to an inability to agree upon arbitrators. Suncor nominated Murray Clemens and RTI appointed Tom Braidwood as its nominee, while Murray Smith was appointed chair.

However, in a June 7 filing, RTI  raised concerns about Clemens’ “independence and impartiality” in the arbitration based on past dealings in which “the position taken by Mr. Clemens was adverse to the interests of RTI and supportive of another customer of RTI in a dispute over an arbitration arising out of a Terminal Services Agreement”. The company requested an order “revoking [Suncor’s] nominee as arbitrator, but on June 13 the court dismissed that


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