Seplat in Court to Defend $20.5m in Escrow Account

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By Dipo Olowookere

Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc has confirmed that proceedings have begun in the English High Court against its wholly owned subsidiary, Newton Energy Limited, by Crestar Natural Resources Limited, relating to the deposit of $20.5 million currently held in an escrow account.

Seplat is a leading Nigerian indigenous oil and gas company listed on both the Nigeria Stock Exchange and London Stock Exchange.

According to the company, the Escrow Monies relate to the potential acquisition of an interest in OML 25 by Crestar Natural Resources Limited, which Newton Energy Limited has an option to invest into, and were put into escrow in July 2015 pursuant to an agreement reached with Crestar Natural Resources Limited and the vendor on final terms of the potential transaction, further details of which were announced by Seplat on July 9, 2015.

It said the potential acquisition of an interest in OML 25 was initially identified in 2014 at which time the group placed a sum of $453million as a deposit towards the potential investment.

However, Seplat said, after material delays, $368 million was returned to the Group in July 2015 and certain events then led to renewed efforts by the consortium to secure the asset and to the group providing the Escrow Monies.

Furthermore, the Group said it has paid $11 million to Crestar for past costs and a $45 million deposit remains with the potential vendor of the asset.

However, Seplat has emphasised that it intends to defend the claim vigorously and said further announcement, if appropriate, will be made in due course.

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