May 30, 2024
OIL BLOCKS: Confusion trails President Buhari Consent to Seplat acquisition of $1.283bn Mobil assets
FENRAD urges President Buhari to publish NDDC Forensic Audit Report
– By Godswill Odiong

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By Eyo Nsima

There was confusion over the President Muhammadu Buhari’s letter of Consent to Seplat Energy Offshore Limited, a subsidiary of Seplat Energy for the 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, entities of Exxon Mobil Corporation.

The confusion was fueled by the emergence of three press statements on Monday, saying different things about the $1.283 billion oil and gas deal.

The Presidency was the first to fire in an official tweet, titled ‘President Buhari consents to the acquisition of Exxon Mobil shares by Seplat Energy’, stating that President Buhari has authorized the acquisition in his capacity as Minister of Petroleum and it is aimed at attracting foreign direct investment to the country.

The tweet stated that the President also directed that Exxon Mobil and Seplat mitigate all environmental and abandonment liabilities.

It stated: “In his capacity as Minister of Petroleum Resources, and in consonance with the country’s drive for Foreign Direct Investment in the energy sector, President @MBuhari has consented to the acquisition of the entire share capital of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited by Seplat Energy Offshore Limited.

“Exxon Mobil had entered into a landmark Sale & Purchase Agreement with Seplat Energy to acquire the entire share capital of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited from Exxon Mobil Corporation, Mobil Development Nigeria Inc, & Mobil Exploration Nigeria Inc, registered in Delaware, USA.”

“Considering the extensive benefits of the transaction to the Nigerian Energy sector and the larger economy, President @MBuhari has given Ministerial Consent to the deal.”

“The President, in commitment to investment drive in light of the Petroleum Industry Act, granted consent to the Share Sales Agreement, as requested by the parties to the transaction, and directed that the approval be conveyed to all the parties involved.”

“Consequently, Exxon Mobil/Seplat are expected to carry out operatorship of all the oil mining licenses in the related shallow water assets towards production optimization to support Nigeria’s OPEC quota in the short term as well as ensure accelerated development and monetisation of the gas resources in the assets for the Nigerian economy.”

 

A few minutes later, Seplat Energy issued another statement, stating, “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 His Excellency, 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.

“In the letter, the President as HMPR directed that the HMSPR shall convey Ministerial Consent to all relevant parties, including but not limited to the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC), the ExxonMobil companies, the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), and Seplat Energy/Seplat Energy Offshore Limited. The President further directed that the HMSPR shall ensure that the ExxonMobil/Seplat Energy operating entity (being MPNU) carries out operatorship of all the OMLs in the related shallow water assets to optimise production in support of Nigeria’s OPEC quo…

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