Seplat Denies ExxonMobil Deal Cancellation In Controversial Press Statement

Seplat Energy has said it did not receive any official notification from the Federal Government reversing its proposed acquisition of the entire share capital of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited.

The energy company also said it was seeking clarification from relevant authorities regarding the claims that the President Muhammadu Buhari, who also doubles as Minister of Petroleum Resources, had withdrawn his ministerial approval for the deal.

It said in a statement, “Seplat Energy has become aware of a news report claiming that ministerial approval of the company’s proposed acquisition of the entire share capital of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited has been withdrawn.” The statement was issued by its Chief Financial Officer, Mr Emeka Onwuka.

The statement added, “Seplat Energy has received no official notification of such a decision and is seeking clarification from the relevant authorities.”

L-R: Emeka Onwuka, Chief Financial Officer, Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc; ABC Orjiako, Chairman, Seplat; Mele Kyari, Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC); and Roger Brown, Chief Executive Officer, Seplat, during a recent courtesy visit by the Seplat team to the NNPC GMD at the corporation’s headquarters in Abuja, recently.

However, Buhari had, on Wednesday, reversed his authorisation of the acquisition of the entire share capital of MPNU by Seplat Energy Offshore Limited. The move puts the presidency on the side of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, which had earlier declined the $1.3bn transaction.

A statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, had announced on Monday that his principal consented to the acquisition of Exxon Mobil shares by Seplat Energy. According to the Presidency, Buhari authorised the move in his capacity as Minister of Petroleum Resources as a way to attract Foreign Direct Investment to the country.

This was, however, contested by the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, as the Chief Executive, NUPRC, Gbenga Komolafe, said the regulator would not and did not endorse the transaction.

Reacting to the development on Wednesday, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, stated that Buhari had reversed the decision and that the misunderstanding was because the “agencies involved in (the) decision had not coordinated well among themselves.”

Responding to claims on the reversal of ministerial approval, Seplat stated on Thursday that it had not received any official notification on the decision. The oil firm, however, noted that it “will continue to work with all parties to achieve a successful outcome to the proposed acquisition and will provide an update in due course.”

It said the “announcement is made pursuant to Rule 17.10 of the Rulebook of the Nigerian Exchange, 2015 (Issuer’s Rule).”

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