There is confusion over whose directive is to be obeyed over ExxonMobil/Seplat Energy share acquisition, as the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) issued a press statement overriding the one that emanates from the presidency to the effect that President Muhammadu Buhari has consented to the deal.
In a move that looks like an attempt to continually frustrate the deal, the NUPRC in a press statement which was signed by the chief executive officer, Gbenga Komolafe, reads: “The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) affirms that status quo remains in respect of ExxonMobil/Seplat Energy share acquisition.”
“Responding to media enquiries on the latest development about the transaction, the Chief Executive of the NUPRC 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.”
President Muhammadu Buhari had okayed Seplat Energy Offshore Limited’s acquisition of Exxon Mobil shares.
Buhari’s approval was contained in a statement by presidential aide Femi Adesina on Monday.
“In his capacity as Minister of Petroleum Resources, and in consonance with the country’s drive for Foreign Direct Investment in the energy sector, Presidnigeria ent Muhammadu Buhari has consented to the acquisition of Exxon Mobil shares in the United States of America by Seplat Energy Offshore Limited,” the statement read.
“Exxon Mobil had entered into a landmark Sale and Purchase Agreement with Seplat Energy to acquire the entire share capital of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited from Exxon Mobil Corporation, Mobil Development Nigeria Inc, and Mobil Exploration Nigeria Inc, both registered in Delaware, USA.”
According to Adesina, Buhari considered the extensive benefits of the transaction to the country’s energy sector and the economy in giving consent.
“The President, in commitment to investment drive in light of the Petroleum Industry Act, granted consent to the Share Sales Agreement, as requested by the parties to the transaction, and directed that the approval be conveyed to all the parties involved,” the statement added.
“Exxon Mobil/Seplat are expected to carry out operatorship of all the oil mining licenses in the related shallow water assets towards production optimization to support Nigeria’s OPEC quota in the short term as well as ensure accelerated development and monetization of the gas resources in the assets for the Nigerian economy.”
The Nigerian leader equally mandated that Exxon Mobil and Seplat adequately mitigate environmental and abandonment liabilities.