Buhari makes u-turn on EXXON Mobil shares acquisition
President Muhammadu Buhari has withdrawn his consent to the acquisition of Exxon Mobil shares in the United States of America by Seplat Energy Offshore Limited.
The President had given the approval in his capacity as Minister of Petroleum Resources.
A statement issued last week by Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President (Media and Publicity) explained that the approval was in consonance with the country’s drive for Foreign Direct Investment in the energy sector.
However, the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) had rejected the Minister’s move on the ground that it is a matter for the regulatory body who had previously informed Seplat that the deal could not be sealed.
The President has now agreed with NUPRC.
According to the Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media and Publicity), the confusion over the matter arose because the relevant agencies had not coordinated properly over the decision.
The presidential aide was quoted by the online newspaper, Premium Times as saying: “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.”
In consenting to the share acquisition earlier, a statement issued by Adesina had recalled that Exxon Mobil had entered into a landmark Sale and Purchase Agreement with Seplat Energy to acquire the entire share capital of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited from Exxon Mobil Corporation, Mobil Development Nigeria Inc, and Mobil Exploration Nigeria Inc, both registered in Delaware, USA.
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The statement said that President Buhari gave Ministerial Consent to the deal, considering the extensive benefits of the transaction to the Nigerian energy sector and the larger economy.
The President, in his commitment to the 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, it added.
The statement further explained: “Exxon Mobil/Seplat are expected to carry out operatorship of all the oil mining licenses in the related shallow water assets towards production optimization to support Nigeria’s OPEC quota in the short term as well as ensure accelerated development and monetization of the gas resources in the assets for the Nigerian economy.”
President Buhari also directed that all environmental and abandonment liabilities be adequately mitigated by Exxon Mobil and Seplat.