June 22, 2024
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Approval for ExxonMobil’s Sale of Nigerian Assets to Seplat Expected within Weeks

ExxonMobil’s $1.28 billion sale of its Nigerian petroleum assets to Nigeria’s Seplat is anticipated to receive approval within less than two weeks, as disclosed by the country’s oil regulator to Reuters on Thursday.

The sale, which has been awaiting regulator approval since 2022 in Africa’s largest oil exporter, is now on the brink of finalization.

Gbenga Komolafe, CEO of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), indicated that the involved parties would convene for a meeting on Friday.

Komolafe stated, “Subject to the outcome of the meeting, consent…could be given in less than two weeks from the date of the meeting.”

He further outlined that NUPRC would present two mutually exclusive options to the companies, facilitating the approval process upon acceptance.

While the specifics of these options were not disclosed, Komolafe emphasized the legal requirement for allocating funds for decommissioning, host community development, and environmental remediation.

He stressed NUPRC’s commitment to preventing unwarranted financial burdens on the nation stemming from the divesting entities’ operations.

A spokesperson for Seplat declined to provide comment, while an Exxon spokesperson refrained from immediate comment.

Observers note that the approval of the deal would inject much-needed investment into Nigeria’s petroleum sector. With the deal pending, there has been limited incentive to invest in the assets, resulting in a gradual decline in production.

Former Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari initially approved the transaction, but later revoked consent after the oil regulator withheld its endorsement. President Bola Tinubu, who assumed office last year, has prioritized attracting investment as a key agenda.

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