Seplat Energy has threatened to file lawsuit against persons creating falsehood relating to its acquisition deal with ExxonMobil, as disagreement within President Muhammadu Buhari’s government stalls the completion.
The company issued the warning after it was accused of impropriety in the process of securing approval for the acquisition of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (MPNU) assets from ExxonMobil.
This is as a result of the oil industry regulator, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), countering President Buhari’s approval of the deal, which had needed the Petroleum Minister’s consent – a position that Buhari occupies as well.
Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission had stated hours after President Buhari approved the deal on Monday, that the Petroleum Industry Act gives NUPRC the sole right of approval, and not the President.
NUPRC boss had stated that status quo should be maintained regarding the acquisition of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited, which is the oilfield business co-owned by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited and ExxonMobil.
Recall that the NNPC had approached the court to stop the acquisition, as reports of the government-owned firm having interest in the assets held by ExxonMobil in MPNU circulated.
NUPRC stating that Seplat and ExxonMobil should maintain status quo means that the United States oil company can’t transfer the MPNU asset to its Nigerian counterpart.
In a recent development on Wednesday, Seplat denied any wrongdoings in securing approval from President Buhari for the acquisition of the MPNU asset that is expected to cost the firm $1.2 billion.
Seplat Chief Financial Officer, Emeka Onwuka, said, “Seplat Energy has become aware of news and social media reports alleging impropriety in the process of securing ministerial consent to the acquisition of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited by Seplat Energy Offshore Limited.
“Such reports are wholly untrue and the Company will pursue legal action against any parties involved in disseminating false information related to its business.”