President Muhammadu Buhari

By Udeme Akpan 

ABUJA — President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, reversed his earlier consent, authorising the acquisition of ExxonMobil Corporation assets by Seplat Energy Plc.

Seplat Energy had earlier agreed  to acquire the entire share capital  of MPNU at the cost of  $1.3 billion plus up to $300 million contingent consideration.

But the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited had disagreed, arguing that as a partner, it should have been granted the right of first refusal in purchasing the assets.

However, taking side with the NNPC Limited and the regulator, the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, NUPRC, yesterday, Garba Shehu, presidential spokesperson, said the president has decided to support the position of the NUPRC in the deal.

Earlier, the NUPRC had objected to offering the assets to Seplat Energy Plc.

In a statement obtained by Vanguard, the Commission had stated: “Responding to media enquiries on latest development about the transaction, the Chief Executive of the NUPRC  Gbenga Komolafe clarified that the Commission in line with the provisions of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021 is the sole regulator in dealing with such matters in the Nigerian upstream sector.

“As it were, the issue at stake is purely a regulatory matter and the Commission had earlier communicated the decline of Ministerial assent to ExxonMobil in this regard. As such the Commission further affirms that the status quo remains. The Commission is committed to ensuring predictable and conducive regulatory environment at all times in the Nigerian upstream sector.”

Also, in another statement, Seplat Energy Plc, a leading Nigerian energy company listed on the Nigerian Exchange and the London Stock Exchange, had stated: “We are pleased to announce that it has received a letter from the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (HMSPR) notifying Seplat Energy that   President Muhammadu Buhari has graciously approved that Ministerial Consent be granted to Seplat Energy Offshore Limited’s (a Seplat Energy subsidiary) cash acquisition of the entire share capital of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (MPNU) from its shareholders, Mobil Development Nigeria Inc (MDNI) and Mobil Exploration Nigeria Inc (MENI), being entities of Exxon Mobil Corporation registered in Delaware, USA (ExxonMobil).

“As announced on 25 February 2022, Seplat Energy had agreed to acquire the entire share capital of MPNU for a purchase price of $1.283 billion plus up to $300 million contingent consideration. The transformational transaction will create one of the largest independent energy companies on both the Nigerian and London Stock Exchanges, and bolster Seplat Energy’s ability to drive increased growth, profitability and overall stakeholder prosperity.

“The approval is given by   President Muhammadu Buhari in his capacity as the Honourable Minister of Petroleum Resources (HMPR), with the granting of Ministerial Consent pursuant to the powers of the Minister under Paragraphs 14-16 of the First Schedule of the Petroleum Act, 1969. A separate announcement from the State House was released earlier.

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