Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc, a Nigerian indigenous oil and gas company listed on both the Nigerian Stock Exchange and London Stock Exchange, has announced that proceedings have commenced in the English High Court against its wholly-owned subsidiary Newton Energy Limited, by Crestar Natural Resources Limited, relating to the deposit of $20.5m currently held in an escrow account.
The escrow monies relate to the potential acquisition of an interest in OML25 by Crestar, which Newton has an option to invest in, and were put into escrow in July 2015 pursuant to an agreement reached with Crestar and the vendor on final terms of the potential transaction, further details of which were announced by Seplat on July 9, 2015.
The potential acquisition of an interest in OML 25 was initially identified in 2014 at which time the group placed a sum of $453m as a deposit towards the potential investment, Seplat said.
However, after material delays, $368m was returned to the group in July 2015.
Certain events then led to renewed efforts by the consortium to secure the asset and to the group providing the Escrow monies.
Furthermore, the group has paid $11m to Crestar for past costs and a $45m deposit remains with the potential vendor of the asset.
The group, according to the statement, intended to defend the Claim vigorously.
A further announcement, if appropriate, would be made in due course, it noted, saying that, “This announcement contains inside information and the person responsible for its release is Roger Brown, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Director.”