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  • Business - Companies
  • Updated: May 29, 2024

Tinubu moves to resolve lingering issues delaying Seplat, Exxonmobil deal

Tinubu moves to resolve lingering issues delaying Seplat, Ex

President Bola Tinubu has reiterated the resolve of his administration to settle the ongoing imbroglio surrounding the divestment issue delaying the Seplat and ExxonMobil deal.

Consequently, he ordered the Minister of State For Petroleum Resources (Oil) and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, NNPC, Limited to resolve the issues swiftly.

Tinubu gave the directive on Tuesday during a meeting with a delegation from ExxonMobil Upstream Company, led by Liam Mallon, its president, in Abuja.

At the meeting, Tinubu assured the delegation that the federal government is committed to resolving the divestment issues between the company and Seplat Energy, which are currently in litigation.

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

“We are close enough to be fair and blunt with you, and we are not afraid to hear from you on better options and recommendations for the growth of the industry in Nigeria.”

The president commended the company for its commitment to environmental protection in Nigeria, stating its efforts to reduce gas flaring.

He described ExxonMobil as a valuable partner in Nigeria’s development over the decades and urged the company to continue supporting the success of his administration.

Trouble started in February 2022 after 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.

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

Two months later, Seplat said the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, NNPC, had won a court injunction restraining ExxonMobil from selling its assets in Nigeria.

Following the push against the deal, former President Muhammadu Buhari reversed his authorisation for the acquisition on August 10, 2022 — a few days after his initial approval.

Amid the delay in obtaining approval, Seplat extended the SSPA for the acquisition of MPNU in May 2023 and May 2024.

Corroborating this, Heineken Lokpobiri, Minister of Petroleum Resources (Oil), said Tinubu has issued a clear directive to him and Mele Kyari, NNPC Limited Group Chief Executive Officer, GCEO, to resolve the divestment issue.

Lokpobiri said all necessary actions are being taken to achieve this.

“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,” the minister said.

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