NNPC Aims to Finalize $1.28 Billion Asset Sale to Seplat Energy

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) has filed a motion to discontinue its legal action against several subsidiaries of Mobil Nigeria.

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This move is part of an ongoing effort to finalize a settlement agreement concerning the $1.28 billion divestment of assets from Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (MPNU) to Seplat Energy Offshore Limited.

On June 11, 2024, NNPC’s legal counsel, Afe Babalola & Co., submitted the application, requesting the court to grant leave for discontinuance and to strike out the suit, with an option to relist it if the settlement process fails. “The applicant humbly urges Your Lordship to grant leave to discontinue this suit and consequently strike it off the court’s cause list,” the motion stated.

This development follows the initial suit filed by NNPC in July 2022, which the court referred to arbitration on August 3, 2022. Pressure from President Bola Tinubu and two high-level visits from ExxonMobil executives last month facilitated progress in the settlement, clearing the way for the asset sale to Seplat Energy Plc.

The settlement agreement, signed by Mele Kyari, NNPC CEO, and Shane Harris, MPNU Managing Director, outlines that MPNU shareholders will consent to Seplat providing the Share Sale and Purchase Agreement to NNPC for transaction finalization. NNPC will withdraw all interim orders and the substantive suit against MPNU and other defendants. The parties also agreed to discontinue arbitration proceedings upon completing the transaction.

NNPC’s legal team emphasized that the discontinuance aligns with Order 24 of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory Civil Procedure Rules 2018 and is essential for the settlement’s completion.

The court’s decision on the motion will be crucial in resolving the longstanding dispute and allowing the parties to focus on finalizing the divestment.

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