• Monday, July 15, 2024
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Tinubu pushes for resolution of $1.28bn Seplat/Exxonmobil deal

President Bola Tinubu has directed the Ministry of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil) and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited to resolve the delayed $1.28 billion Seplat Energy and ExxonMobil deal.

This is contained in a statement by Ajuri Ngelale, the president’s spokesperson, during the president’s meeting with Liam Mallon, the president of ExxonMobil, and other executives of the company in the state house in Abuja on Tuesday.

In February 2022, Seplat announced an agreement to acquire ExxonMobil’s 40 percent stake in Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (MPNU), with the expectation that the transaction will be closed in the second half of the year, marking part of ExxonMobil’s divestment strategy in Nigeria.

However, the transaction has not been completed because the NNPC secured a court ruling that temporarily prevents Exxon Mobil Corporation from selling its assets in Nigeria to Seplat Energy.

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Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Company (NUPRC), on May 19, 2022, declined to approve Seplat’s proposed acquisition due to “overriding national interest”.

On July 6, 2022, a judge in Abuja issued an “order of interim injunction” prohibiting ExxonMobil from finalising any divestment in a subsidiary that holds four licenses in Nigeria.

In response to this situation, the president said that the federal government is dedicated to resolving the divestment disputes currently in litigation between the company and Seplat Energy.

Tinubu assured the delegation that the FG is committed to resolving the divestment issues between the company and Seplat, which are currently in litigation.

“Nigeria is going through a lot of reforms, and we have been navigating the leadership quarters carefully to ensure that we achieve a win-win situation for all parties and attract more investments.

“We have been pushing for closure on divestment issues, and I believe the other party, Seplat, is open to this,” Tinubu said.

Talking about his oil and gas reforms, Tinubu said it will enhance the global competitiveness of Nigeria’s petroleum sector.

On February 28, Tinubu enacted three executive orders to foster a more favorable investment climate in the sector.

These executive orders, effective from February 28, include tax incentives, exemptions, remissions for oil and gas companies, local content compliance requirements, and the reduction of contracting costs and timelines.

The president asserted that these reforms will eliminate unnecessary challenges for oil companies operating in Nigeria.

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Meanwhile, Heineken Lokpobiri, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), said that the president has issued a definitive directive to both him and Mele Kyari, the NNPC GCEO, to address the divestment issue between the two oil companies.

“Mr. President has given a clear directive to the NNPC GCEO and I to resolve the issue of divestment, and we are doing whatever we can to achieve that,” Lokpobiri said.

On decommissioning and abandonment in the oil industry, the Minister said that the ministry is addressing the matter in line with the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) and global best practices.

“The reforms driven by the three Executive Orders will ensure that companies operating in Nigeria have the best environment to continue making their investments and that no company will seek to leave Nigeria,” Lokpobiri added.

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