President Muhammadu Buhari has consented to the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, NUPRC over ruling him and has thus reversed his earlier decision authorising Seplat Energy Limited to take over the shares in oil block in Nigeria previously owned by Exxon Mobil. Meanwhile SEPLAT Energy has reacted through a statement by Emeka Onwuka, chief financial officer, Seplat Energy, saying it “has received no official notification of such a decision and is seeking clarification from the relevant authorities. We will continue to work with all parties to achieve a successful outcome to the proposed acquisition and will provide an update in due course.” According to Onwuka, “This announcement is made pursuant to Rule 17.10 of the Rulebook of the Nigerian Exchange, 2015 (Issuer’s Rule)”
However the reversal of the President’s decision was confirmed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu. According to Shehu , the President Buhari had decided to back the Petroleum regulator, the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission ,NUPRC, which had on Tuesday insisted on its refusal to assent to the ExxonMobil/Seplat Energy share acquisition worth $1.3 billion. He also said the earlier confusion in the President’s decision was as a result of the various agencies involved in the decision had not coordinated well among themselves. He added that President Buhari now wanted NUPRC position to be supported. Mallam Garba Shehu said “It has become clear that the various agencies involved in decision had not coordinated well among themselves and having looked at all of the facts with all of the ramifications, the president decided the position of the regulator is to be supported.”
Recall President Muhammadu Buhari had on Monday afternoon approved the acquisition of the entire share capital of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited by Seplat Energy Offshore Limited. This was revealed in an official tweet by the Presidency titled ‘President Buhari consents to the acquisition of Exxon Mobil shares by Seplat Energy Offshore Ltd.’ The Presidency had said in the tweet that Buhari authorized the acquisition in his capacity as Minister of Petroleum and it is aimed at attracting foreign direct investment to the country. The tweet also said that the President also directed that Exxon Mobil and Seplat mitigate all environmental and abandonment liabilities.
The tweet read “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 @MBuhari has consented to the acquisition of the entire share capital of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited by Seplat Energy Offshore Limited. “Exxon Mobil had entered into a landmark Sale & Purchase Agreement with Seplat Energy to acquire the entire share capital of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited from Exxon Mobil Corporation, Mobil Development Nigeria Inc, & Mobil Exploration Nigeria Inc, registered in Delaware, USA. Considering the extensive benefits of the transaction to the Nigerian Energy sector and the larger economy, President @MBuhari has given Ministerial Consent to the deal.
“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. Consequently, Exxon Mobil/Seplat are expected to carry out operatorship of all the oil mining licenses in the related shallow water assets towards production optimisation to support Nigeria’s OPEC quota in the short term as well as ensure accelerated development and monetisation of the gas resources in the assets for the Nigerian economy.”