• Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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Nigeria nears approval for long-delayed Seplat/ExxonMobil deal

Here’s how Seplat Energy performed in Q1 2024

Nigeria’s oil regulator announced Thursday that the country is on the verge of approving ExxonMobil’s $1.28 billion sale of its Nigerian assets to Seplat Energy.

The deal, first announced in February 2022, has been held up for over two years awaiting regulatory greenlight.

Gbenga Komolafe, chief executive officer of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), told Reuters that the parties involved would be invited to a meeting on Friday.

“Subject to the outcome of the meeting, consent … could be given in less than two weeks from the date of the meeting,” he said.

NUPRC would give the companies two mutually exclusive options that, if accepted, would permit approval of the deal, he said.

He did not spell out what these options were but said the law requires money to be set aside for decommissioning, host community development and environmental remediation.

“As a commission, we don’t want our nation to carry unwarranted financial burdens arising from the operations of the assets over time by the divesting entities.”

This news comes as welcome relief for Seplat, which has been eager to expand its portfolio with ExxonMobil’s holdings. The deal would solidify Seplat’s position as a major player in Nigeria’s oil industry, Africa’s largest oil producer.

The approval process has been a rollercoaster ride.

Initially, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) expressed interest in acquiring the ExxonMobil stake itself.

Additionally, NUPRC rejected the Seplat deal in May 2022 citing “overriding national interest.”

Even former President Muhammadu Buhari reversed his initial approval for the sale in August 2022.