The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) has withdrawn its lawsuit against ExxonMobil’s planned sale of oil and gas assets to Seplat Energy, reported Bloomberg.  

NNPC’s decision clears a roadblock that prevented the conclusion of the deal.  

The legal challenge was retracted following a confidential agreement between NNPC and ExxonMobil last month.  

NNPC’s legal firm, Afe Babalola, confirmed the withdrawal of the case from a high court in Abuja via email, the publication said.  

The court documents, reviewed by the publication, indicate that NNPC retains the right to reactivate the lawsuit should the settlement terms not be honoured. 

The initial agreement, struck in February 2022, entailed ExxonMobil selling its stake in Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (MPNU) to Seplat Energy Offshore for $1.28bn, with up to an additional $300m contingent on future conditions.  

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MPNU, with a 40% interest in four oil exploration licences, operates 300 wells and more than 90 platforms. 

This acquisition is expected to bolster Seplat Energy’s presence in Nigeria, increasing its daily production to more than 130,000 barrels and enhancing its status as a major domestic gas supplier.  

However, the deal’s finalisation is subject to receipt of approvals from the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission and President Bola Tinubu. 

Parallel to this, Shell is also awaiting approval for the $1.3bn-plus divestment of its Nigerian onshore oil business to a local consortium, announced in January.  

Additionally, TotalEnergies is exploring the sale of its minority stake in the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria.