President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the acquisition of ExxonMobil Corporation assets by Seplat Energy Plc despite moves by the state-owned oil company to block the deal.
In February, Seplat had entered into an agreement to acquire the entire share capital of MPNU from Exxon Mobil.
But the deal was blocked by Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited. Regulatory authorities also declined consent to the transaction.
In a statement on Monday, Femi Adesina, presidential spokesperson, said Buhari made the approval considering the ample benefits of the divestment to the country’s oil sector.
“In his capacity as minister of petroleum resources, and in consonance with the country’s drive for foreign direct investment in the energy sector, President Muhammadu Buhari has consented to the acquisition of Exxon Mobil shares in the United States of America by Seplat Energy Offshore Limited,” the statement reads.
“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.
“Considering the extensive benefits of the transaction to the Nigerian Energy sector and the larger economy, President Buhari has given Ministerial Consent to the deal.”
According to the statement, the president has directed that the approval be conveyed to all the parties involved.
“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,” it added.
“President Buhari also directed that all environmental and abandonment liabilities be adequately mitigated by Exxon Mobil and Seplat.”
In July, Seplat Energy informed investors that NNPC blocked the deal through a court injunction restraining Exxon Mobil from selling its assets in the country.