Seplat Energy Plc says the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, has won a court injunction restraining ExxonMobil Corporation from selling its entire oil assets in its local unit, Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (MPNU).
A statement on Monday, signed by Seplat’s Company Secretary, Edith Onwuchekwa, informed that an Abuja High Court had granted the NNPC an “order of interim injunction” restraining ExxonMobil “from completing any divestment” in oil mining leases (OMLs) 68, 69, and 70, and an oil prospecting licence.
It said the court barred MPNU and Mobil Development Nigeria Plc from disposing of their shares in the joint operating agreement (JOA) between them and the NNPC.
The company remains confident that the matter will be brought to a proper conclusion in accordance with the law. Any further information will be provided if available to the Company and permitted by law.
Recall that in February 2021, Seplat Energy agreed to acquire the entire share capital of Mobil Producing from ExxonMobil for $1.3 billion, which was opposed by the federal government based on “overriding national interest”.
The statement reads: “Seplat Energy PLC recently became aware that, on 5 July 2022, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (“NNPC”) commenced an action at the State High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Abuja, Nigeria (“State High Court”) in relation to the acquisition of the entire shares of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (“MPNU”).
“MPNU, its shareholders (Mobil Development Nigeria, Inc. and Mobil Exploration Nigeria, Inc.), and the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission are named as defendants in the suit.
“NNPC has requested the State High Court to declare that a dispute has occurred between itself and MPNU in relation to the interpretation of pre-emption rights under their Joint Operating Agreement (“JOA”) and order NNPC and MPNU to arbitration as required by the JOA.
“On 6 July 2022, the State High Court made an ex parte order of interim injunction restraining the Defendants from completing any divestment in MPNU, including the Share Sale and Purchase Agreement signed with Seplat Energy Offshore Limited (the “SPA”).”
But Seplat Energy insisted that its deal with ExxonMobil remains valid and subsisting, saying: “the company remains confident that the matter will be brought to a proper conclusion in accordance with the law. Any further information will be provided if available to the Company and permitted by law.”