The Supreme Court will today entertain an appeal brought against Chevron Nigeria Limited and Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc by Brittania-U Nigeria Limited over the sale of Chevron’s Oil Mining Leases (OMLs) 52, 53 and 55.
Chevron had sold the three oil blocks despite the pending litigations at a Federal High Court, Appeal Court and the apex court arising from the disputes in the bid process leading to the sale of the three leases.
While Seplat acquired Chevron’s 40 per cent stake in OML 53 for $259.4, OMLs 52 and 55 were sold to AMNI International Petroleum Development Company and a Nigerian special purpose vehicle, Belema Oil Producing Limited, respectively.
Seplat has also concluded negotiations to buy 56.25 per cent of Belema Oil, which bought a 40 per cent interest in OML 55.
Speaking on the sale of the assets, which are a subject of the lawsuit, the Managing Director of Seplat, Mr. Austin Avuru told THISDAY that his company did not break any law in the acquisition of the assets.
“First of all, let me say that it is unthinkable that a corporate entity like Seplat that prides itself with corporate governance and due process will do anything that offends the laws of this country. It is unthinkable; we will not do that. We went through a process, a very rigorous process of bidding for an asset, almost two years ago from Chevron and as far back as November 2013, we signed an SPA (Sales and Purchase Agreement) with Chevron as part of that process and then, the court case came in where we were joined, and certain elements of the court case and certain injunction stopped the process from running its course. Running its course means after signing an SPA, you are supposed to seek ministerial approval and at the end of when you get ministerial approval, then the transaction is concluded. So, all that we have done recently is to run the full course of what we started by signing an SPA in November 2013. We ran the full course and got, you know, the ministerial approval, concluded the transaction with Chevron and as I said earlier, we broke no laws, whatsoever,” he explained.
Avuru said his company only concluded a normal commercial process it started about two years ago.
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