Seplat Energy Plc has expressed its commitment to completing the purchase of Nigerian oil and gas assets from ExxonMobil Corporation, a deal that has been held up by the Federal Government for more than a year.

The Lagos and London-listed company is hoping that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu would adopt a different approach than his predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari, who reversed an initial decision to approve the transaction.

Seplat’s Chief Executive Officer, Roger Brown, was quoted by Bloomberg as saying: “We are still interested in the assets. We still like the company we are buying. We think it is a game changing operation.”

Under the deal unveiled in February 2022, Seplat agreed to pay $1.3b for an Exxon unit that holds a 40 per cent operating stake in four shallow-water licenses in a purchase that would almost quadruple the independent company’s oil output to more than 130,000 bpd.

If the transaction is successful, it will be one of the biggest divestments in Nigerian history, analysts say. The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, (NNPCL), which owns 60 per cent of the permits had opposed the sale and sued ExxonMobil, claiming it has the right to acquire the blocks itself from the U.S. major.

The Seplat boss disagreed with the NNPCL claiming his firm is purchasing a subsidiary rather than licenses. “What we are buying are shares sold by U.S. companies, so that is a completely different animal because we are buying a company,” he said.

Source: Gaurdian

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