No Ministerial Approval For Seplat, Exxon Mobil Share Acquisition Deal- NUPRC Confirms THE WHISTLER Exclusive Report

The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) on Monday reaffirmed that the decline of ministerial assent to the acquisition deal between Seplat Energy Plc and Exxon Mobil Corporation has not been reversed.

Seplat Energy Plc had in February this year announced an agreement to acquire the entire share capital of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited from Exxon Mobil Corporation, Delaware for $1.28bn.

The transaction entails the acquisition of ExxonMobil Nigeria’s entire offshore shallow water business.

According to the deal, ExxonMobil Nigeria’s shallow water business is an established, high-quality operation with a highly skilled local operating team and a track record of safe operations.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited has a pre-emptive right over the asset and had last month won a court decision temporarily blocking Exxon Mobil Corporation from selling assets in Nigeria to Seplat Energy Plc.

A judge in Abuja had granted NNPC an “order of interim injunction” on July 6, 2022, barring Exxon Mobil “from completing any divestment” in a unit that ultimately operates four licenses in Nigeria.

Despite the verdict of the Court, reports emerged on Monday that President Muhammadu Buhari had approved that the deal be consummated by Mobil and Seplat.

But reacting to the development, the Chief Executive of the NUPRC Engr. 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.

In a statement personally signed by Komolafe and made available to THE WHISTLER, the NUPRC Boss stated that issue at stake is purely a regulatory matter and the Commission had earlier communicated the decline of Ministerial assent to ExxonMobil in this regard.

In line with the decline of Ministerial assent, he said the Commission that the status quo must remain.

The statement reads, “The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) affirms that status quo remains in respect of ExxonMobil/Seplat Energy share acquisition.

“The Chief Executive of the NUPRC Engr. 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.”

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