Petroleum Minister Buhari overrides NNPC, approves Seplat’s acquisition of Mobil Producing Oil assets

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the acquisition of ExxonMobil Corporation assets by Seplat Energy Plc despite moves by the State-owned oil company to block the deal.

Recall that in February, Seplat had entered into an agreement to acquire the entire share capital of Mobil Producing Nigeria (MPNU) from Exxon Mobil. However, the deal was blocked by Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited. Regulatory authorities also declined consent to the transaction. In July, Seplat Energy informed investors that NNPC blocked the deal through a court injunction restraining Exxon Mobil from selling its assets in the country.

In an issued statement yesterday, presidential spokesperson, Femi Adesina, said Buhari made the approval considering the ample benefits of the divestment to the country’s oil sector.  

“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 Muhammadu Buhari has consented to the acquisition of Exxon Mobil shares in the United States of America by Seplat Energy Offshore Limited. Considering the extensive benefits of the transaction to the Nigerian Energy sector and the larger economy, President Buhari has given Ministerial Consent to the deal”, the statement read in part. 

According to the statement, the president has directed that the approval be conveyed to all the parties involved. “Exxon Mobil/Seplat are expected to carry out operatorship of all the oil mining licenses in the related shallow water assets towards production optimisation 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.

“President Buhari also directed that all environmental and abandonment liabilities be adequately mitigated by Exxon Mobil and Seplat”, it added.

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