The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) has rejected President Muhammadu Buhari’s assent to the acquisition of ExxonMobil’s assets by Seplat Energy.
A statement from the presidency on Monday noted that the Minister of Petroleum, President Buhari had granted assent to the deal in which Seplat will acquire a 40 per cent stake of ExxonMobil oil assets around Akwa Ibom.
The statement cited the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021, as an incentive to drive Foreign Direct Investment and raise oil production from the assets.
However, in a response to media enquiries on the latest development about the transaction, the Commission Chief Executive, NUPRC, Engr. Gbenga Komolafe, in a statement, Monday night, clarified that the Commission in line with the provisions of the PIA 2021 is the sole regulator in dealing with such matters in [b]the Nigerian upstream sector.
“As it were, the issue at stake is purely a regulatory matter and the Commission had earlier communicated the decline of Ministerial assent to ExxonMobil in this regard.
“As such the Commission further affirms that the status quo remains. The Commission is committed to ensuring predictable and conducive regulatory environment at all times in the Nigerian upstream sector,” the NUPRC noted.
NNPC Ltd had been in a tussle with ExxonMobil over the transaction insisting that it has the first right of refusal, being in a joint venture with Mobil.
The Akwa Ibom government had also scolded the international oil company for proceeding on the assets lay off without recourse to the state hosting them.