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NNPCL, ExxonMobil sign agreement on $1.28bn asset divestment deal



Last Updated on May 30, 2024 by Fellow Press

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd.) on Thursday announced the signing of a settlement agreement facilitating the divestment of ExxonMobil’s stake in Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (MPNU) to Seplat Energy Plc.

This is coming two years after the divestment plan was announced.

The NNPC Ltd., in a statement said the agreement involved MPNU, Mobil Development Nigeria Inc., and Mobil Exploration Nigeria Inc.

“Settlement agreement between NNPC Ltd. and MPNU, Mobil Development Nigeria Inc., and Mobil Exploration Nigeria Inc. signed regarding the proposed divestment of a 100 per cent interest in MPNU to Seplat Energy Offshore Limited,” the NNPC stated.

This development comes after a directive from President Bola Tinubu to the Ministry of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil) and NNPC Ltd. on May 28, to resolve the divestment issue that stalled the Seplat and ExxonMobil deal over two years.

Tinubu had assured the ExxonMobil delegation that the Federal Government was committed to resolving the divestment issues between NNPC Ltd. and Seplat Energy.

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Oil), Heineken Lokpobiri said the President had given a clear directive to him and the NNPC Ltd. Group Chief Executive Officer, Mal Mele Kyari to resolve the issue of divestment, which they were doing their best to achieve.

Lokpobiri earlier revealed that Nigeria lost 34 billion dollars in the last two and a half years due to the fall in production from the assets being divested by ExxonMobil to Seplat Energy
He said the assets declined from 600,000 barrels per day (bpd) to current 120,000bpd, leaving a shortfall of 480,000bpd.

This, he said, amounted to 34 billion dollars loss at a conservative 80 dollars per barrels, in the last two and a half years.

In February 2022, Seplat announced an agreement to acquire ExxonMobil’s 40 per cent stake in MPNU, expecting the transaction to be completed in the second half of the year.

However, on May 19, 2022, the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) declined to approve Seplat’s proposed acquisition, citing “overriding national interest.”

Two months later, Seplat reported that NNPC Ltd. had secured a court injunction preventing ExxonMobil from selling its assets in Nigeria.

This opposition led former President Muhammadu Buhari, to reverse his initial authorisation for the acquisition on August 10, 2022, shortly after granting approval.

Amid the delay in securing approval, Seplat extended the Share Sale and Purchase Agreement (SSPA) with ExxonMobil for the acquisition of its stake in MPNU in May 2023.

On May 17, Seplat indicated progress in acquiring MPNU assets, and a week later, the company extended the SSPA again.

With the recent signing of the settlement agreement, Nigeria could add at least 700,000bpd to its current daily crude oil production volume, to hit about two million bpd before the end of the year.


Dangote to venture into steel production



Last Updated on June 14, 2024 by Fellow Press

Africa’s richest man, Alhaji Aliko Dangote has mooted plans to delve into steel production in the near future stating that he wants to ensure that every steel used in West Africa comes from Nigeria.

The industrial mogul stated this during an interview at the ongoing Afreximbank Afro-Caribbean Trade & Investment Forum in Nassau, The Bahamas.

When asked if he is taking a break after the refinery, he noted that the next venture after the refinery project would be in Steel manufacturing and ensure that all Steel products used in West Africa comes from Nigeria.

He also encouraged African leaders to take agriculture and solid mineral development seriously lamenting the fact that food imports cost the continent dearly by increasing unemployment and poverty.

He said, “What we need to do that is missing is actually to concentrate and pay more attention to agriculture and solid minerals.
I don’t like people coming to take our solid minerals to process and bring the finished product.
We should try and industrialise our continent and take it to the next level.”

“I told somebody we are not going to take any break. What we are trying to do is to make sure at least in West Africa, we want to make sure that every single steel that we use will come from Nigeria”

Nigeria has tried unsuccessfully to become a leader in the steel manufacturing industry with a handful of failed projects like the Ajaokuta steel plant, Delta Steel Company, Osogbo and Jos rolling mills even under government and private ownership.

Like the oil refineries, the federal government under different administrations has spent billions trying to put the local steel plants to work but has been unsuccessful.
The administration of President Bola Tinubu had promised during the campaigns to ensure steel production starts in the multi-billion-dollar Ajaokuta steel complex.

The federal government in the 2024 appropriation act budgeted around N4.45 billion for the plant but hopes to raise around N35 billion from private investors to bring the plant to life for the first time in its history.

However, the Minister of Steel Development, Shuaibu Audu has also stated that reviving the plant could cost around $2 billion to $5 billion.

According to the National Steel Raw Materials Exploration Agency (NSRMEA), total steel consumption in the country averages around 10 million metric tonnes of which 70% is imported.
The current Minister of Steel Development had earlier stated that Nigeria spends around $4 billion on steel imports annually despite having around 74 steel plants and fabricators across the country.

Nigeria is home to significant iron-ore deposit- a critical raw material in steel production found in Kogi state.

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CBN speaks on plan to revoke licences of more banks



Last Updated on June 4, 2024 by Fellow Press

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it has no plans to revoke the licences of Unity, Polaris, and Keystone banks.

Online reports had claimed the apex bank would terminate the licences of the three banks, following the revocation of Heritage Bank’s licence.

However, in a post on its social media pages on Tuesday, the bank said the content was not authentic.

“The content is fake and not from the CBN,” the post reads

On June 4, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) revoked the banking licence of Heritage Bank.

According to the CBN, the decision was made due to the bank’s inability to improve its financial performance.

“The Board and Management of the bank have not been able to improve the bank’s financial performance, a situation which constitutes a threat to financial stability,” the bank said.

However, the apex said Heritage Bank had not improved and “has no reasonable prospects of recovery”, thereby making revoking the licence the next necessary step.

The bank said the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) is as a result of this appointed as the liquidator of the bank per Section 12 (3) of the Banks and Other Financial Act (BOFIA) 2020.

The revocation, according to the apex bank, reflects its continued dedication to take all necessary steps to ensure the safety and soundness of Nigeria’s financial system.

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