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Buhari reverses Seplat’s takeover of Exxon Mobil — after regulator’s protest

President Muhammadu Buhari has reversed his decision, authorising the acquisition of Exxon Mobil shares by Seplat Energy Offshore Limited.

According to Daily Trust, Garba Shehu, senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, confirmed the development.

The newspaper reported that Shehu said the president had decided to back the regulator, the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), which had on Tuesday insisted on its refusal of assent to the ExxonMobil/Seplat Energy share acquisition worth $1.3 billion.

The presidential spokesman reportedly said the president now wanted NUPRC position be supported, and noted that the confusion set in because “various agencies involved in (the) decision had not coordinated well among themselves”.

In a statement on Monday, Buhari granted assent to the deal in which Seplat will acquire a 40 percent stake of ExxonMobil oil assets around Akwa Ibom state.

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 statement released not long afterward, the NUPRC clarified that the commission in line with the provisions of the PIA 2021 is the sole regulator in dealing with such matters in the Nigerian upstream sector.

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