The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), has rejected President Buhari’s consent for the approval of the acquisition of Exxon Mobil Shares by Seplat Energy.
President Buhari approved the deal on Monday in his capacity as the Minister of Petroleum.
However, in a statement on Monday, signed by its chief executive, Engr. Gbenga Komolafe, NUPRC said the issue is a regulatory one and that “status-quo” remains, adding that NUPRC as the regulator is the sole decision maker on the transaction and not the president.
The statement reads in part, “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 latest development about the transaction, the Chief Executive of the NUPRC Engr. 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.”
On 25 February 2022, Seplat Energy announced it had agreed to acquire the entire share capital of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (MPNU) for a purchase price of $1.283 billion plus up to $300 million contingent consideration.
The transformational transaction will create one of the largest independent energy companies on both the Nigerian and London Stock Exchanges, and bolster Seplat Energy’s ability to drive increased growth, profitability and overall stakeholder prosperity.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) had initiated a court action in relation to the acquisition of the entire shares of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (MPNU).
NNPC in the suit “requested the State High Court to declare that a dispute has occurred between itself and MPNU in relation to the interpretation of preemption rights under their Joint Operating Agreement (“JOA”) and order NNPC and MPNU to arbitration as required by the JOA.”
On 6 July 2022, the State High Court made an ex-parte order of interim injunction restraining the Defendants from completing any divestment in MPNU, including the Share Sale and Purchase Agreement signed with Seplat Energy Offshore Limited (the “SPA”).”
At the time Seplat Energy reiterated that the Sale and Purchase Agreement signed (SPA) it signed with MPNU is still “valid and subsisting.”
Ifunanya Ikueze is an Engineer, Safety Professional, Writer, Investor, Entrepreneur and Educator.