Seplat-Exxon Deal Nearing Completion—Roger Brown

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By Adedapo Adesanya

The chief executive of Seplat Energy Plc, Mr Roger Brown, has expressed optimism that its deal with ExxonMobil for the purchase of the latter’s offshore shallow water business in Nigeria, which is valued at $1.3 billion, would be completed soon.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Africa Oil Week in Cape Town, South Africa, he said, “We have very good relationships with the regulator and that is why it takes time and the NNPC (Nigerian National Petroleum Company) is a partner to us and we want to respect the partnership.”

“Now, we are starting to get to that crux point to try and resolve the issue,” he was quoted as saying by Reuters in an interview on Wednesday.

In February 2022, Seplat agreed to pay $1.3 billion for an Exxon unit that holds a 40 per cent operating stake in four shallow-water licenses in a purchase that would almost increase the independent company’s oil output to more than 130,000 barrels per day from less than 40,000 barrels per day.

Market analysts noted that if the transaction goes ahead, it will be one of the biggest divestments in Nigerian history since energy majors like Shell Plc started offloading unwanted assets in the late 2000s.

It is expected to expand Seplat’s production by as much as 186 per cent.

Former President Buhari endorsed the sale in August last year before swiftly going back on his words after NNPC Limited rejected his approval. The state oil firm opposed the sale and sued Exxon in the capital, Abuja, claiming it had the right to acquire the blocks itself from the US oil major.

In May 2023, Seplat announced it had extended the agreement with Exxon to allow more time to finalise the transaction.

The firm will be counting on President Bola Tinubu to adopt a different approach than his predecessor to approve the transaction.

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