Seplat, the indigenous oil company, is making strides toward achieving its expansion objectives through increased asset acquisitions. This progress comes as the federal government demonstrates readiness to address the deadlock that nearly jeopardized Seplat’s deal with ExxonMobil.

In a strategic move, government officials engaged in discussions with a delegation from Seplat Energy to untangle the complications surrounding ExxonMobil’s proposed $1.3 billion oil asset sale, which has been stalled for almost two years.

Seplat Nears $1.3bn ExxonMobil Asset Acquisition

Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, the Minister of State for Petroleum (Oil), hinted at this development following a meeting in Abuja that extensively explored avenues for resolving the protracted dispute.

Seplat’s Expansion Depends on a Speedy Resolution of the ExxonMobil Deal

Lokpobiri emphasized on his verified X/Twitter handle the urgency of settling the matter quickly as Nigeria aims to aggressively boost its crude oil production, which has been on a decline for over three years.

As per the February 2022 deal, Seplat committed to paying a substantial sum for the acquisition of an ExxonMobil unit holding a 40% operating stake in four shallow-water licenses. If successful, this transaction would mark one of the largest divestments in Nigerian history since major energy companies like Shell Plc began shedding unwanted assets in the late 2000s.

Buhari’s Approval Reversal Sparks Legal Battle, Blocking Seplat’s ExxonMobil Deal

Former Nigerian President and oil minister, Muhammadu Buhari, initially endorsed the sale in August last year but retracted swiftly following the rejection of approval by the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC).

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, holding 60% of the permits, opposed the sale and sued ExxonMobil, asserting its right to acquire the blocks. NNPC insisted on its first refusal rights, leading to the blockade of the deal between Seplat and ExxonMobil, a deal that Seplat also rejected.

Seplat’s CEO, Roger Brown, emphasized the distinction, stating, “We are acquiring shares sold by U.S. companies, which is fundamentally different because we are essentially purchasing an entire company.”

According to Brown, the Exxon deal holds a “hidden value” for Seplat, particularly in the natural gas within the blocks. This is noteworthy as Seplat is already among the largest domestic suppliers of this fuel to Nigerian power plants.

President Bola Tinubu Assurance: ExxonMobil’s Progress with Seplat

In June, ExxonMobil officials met with President Bola Tinubu in Abuja, during which the President committed to promoting competition in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector. Exxon Nigeria oversees four oil mining leases (OMLs 67, 68, 70, 104) and possesses a substantial portfolio, including the prominent Qua Iboe Terminal.

Additionally, it holds a 51% interest in the Bonny River Terminal and is involved in Natural Gas Liquids Recovery Plants at East Area Projects (EAP) and Oso. Minister Lokpobiri remarked that the meeting with the Seplat team was productive, characterizing it as a significant stride toward resolving the ongoing stalemate.

“In our efforts to address the divestment dispute between ExxonMobil and NNPC and in line with our commitment to significantly boost production, I participated in constructive discussions with Seplat Energy, led by its Managing Director, Mr. Roger Brown.”

“Our discussions were highly productive, signifying a crucial advancement in resolving the deadlock and clearing the path for the nation to benefit economically from the acquisition of these assets,” Lokpobiri emphasized.

In an effort to eliminate obstacles hindering Nigeria’s oil production, the Federal Government took a significant step during the week by withdrawing legal actions against Eni and Shell. This strategic move is part of a broader initiative aimed at streamlining and enhancing the country’s oil sector, signaling a commitment to fostering a more conducive environment for oil-related activities.

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The withdrawal of court cases reflects a proactive approach to addressing challenges and fostering a collaborative atmosphere in the energy industry, ultimately contributing to the nation’s overall oil output objectives.

FAQs

Is Nigerian Oil Regulator Optimistic on Exxon Asset Sale to Seplat?

“We are optimistic,” affirms Gbenga Komolafe, Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), expressing confidence that the deal involving the sale of assets from ExxonMobil to Seplat Energy will progress as planned.

Who are the Owners of Seplat?

The Gas segment of the company centers on the production and processing of gas. Augustine Ojunekwu Avuru and Ambrosie Bryant Chukwueloka Orjiako founded the company on June 17, 2009, and its headquarters are located in Lagos, Nigeria.

Who Bought Mobil Oil Nigeria?

Seplat Energy Plc has finalized an agreement to acquire the complete share capital of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (MPNU) from Exxon Mobil Corporation, Delaware (ExxonMobil), for a total of $1.3 billion.

Who is the Biggest Buyer of Nigerian Crude Oil?

Spain has emerged as a key destination for Nigeria’s crude oil, with data indicating that in the Second Quarter (Q2) of 2022, Spain held the position of the largest buyer of Nigerian crude. During this period, other notable buyers included India, France, Netherlands, Indonesia, and the United Nations, forming the top five purchasers of Nigerian crude.

Who is the Highest Shareholder in Seplat?

As of the current period, the top 10 shareholders in Seplat Energy Plc are as follows:

  • Maurel & Prom (20.46%)
  • Petrolin Group (13.77%)
  • Sustainable Capital (9%)
  • Austin Avuru (8.15%)
  • Allan Gray Investment Management (7.51%)
  • A.B.C. Orjiako (4.74%)
  • Mercuria Capital Partners (4.08%)
  • Redwheel (2.72%)
  • Stanbic IBTC Pensions Managers (1.90%)
  • Seplat Staff LTIP (1.67%)
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Collectively, these top 10 stakeholders currently hold 76% of Seplat’s ownership.

What is the New Name for Mobil Oil?

In the course of the last 140 years, ExxonMobil has transformed from being a local distributor of kerosene in the United States to emerging as one of the largest publicly traded companies in the global petroleum and petrochemical industry.

Presently, our operations span across the majority of countries worldwide, and we are widely recognized through our familiar brand names: Exxon, Esso, and Mobil.

Is Mobil Leaving Nigeria?

In 2022, a senior executive at ExxonMobil stated, “We are not leaving.” While emphasizing the continued attractiveness of deep-water opportunities in Nigeria, the executive noted that these opportunities must compete with other global prospects. However, the company has expressed interest in divesting its stakes in onshore assets in Nigeria.

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