We’re on the verge of approving ExxonMobil-Seplat deal, says FG

Kayode Ogundele
Kayode Ogundele

The federal government says it is on the verge of approving the acquisition of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (MPNU) assets by Seplat Energy.

Seplat announced an agreement to acquire ExxonMobil’s 40 percent stake in MPNU on February 25, 2022, with the expectation that the transaction will be closed in the second half (H2) of 2022.

However, Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, which has a 60 percent stake in MPNU, showed interest in acquiring ExxonMobil’s stake.

Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Company (NUPRC), on May 19, 2022, declined to approve the proposed acquisition due to “overriding national interest.”.

Also, in August 2022, former President Muhammadu Buhari reversed his authorisation for the acquisition, a few days after his initial approval.

Speaking at the 10th anniversary of the dual listing of Seplat Energy on the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) and London Stock Exchange (LSE) held on April 16 in Lagos, Heineken Lokpobiri, minister of petroleum resources (oil), said the deal will be approved by the government soon. 

“We are on the verge of closing those issues, and I can assure you that we will close them in a very short time. The president is committed to the closure of that,” Lokpobiri said.

The minister added that discussions between both parties have progressed and that the agreement will be closed regardless of any obstacles.

“That is fundamental to the opening of new investments in the country now that the whole world is campaigning against investments in fossil fuels,” the minister said.

“If we close these Seplat transactions, Seplat expands their transactions, and Bonga North, which is predicated on that resolution, comes on board.

“The whole world will know that Nigeria has now become a new investment destination, and that is what, as you know, the objective of this government is.”

Speaking further, he said the country needs to solve its problems “ourselves; this is the time for us to evolve homegrown solutions to solve our energy problems.”. 

Lokpobiri also said there is a need to evolve some ingenious ways of raising money, through the capital market.

“We are committed in sustaining our production in oil and gas but in a more responsible and cleaner way by deploying the best technology,” he said.

The minister said Nigeria will also enhance its output so that the country can build capital at a time oil and gas prices are highly appealing.

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