The Akwa Ibom State Government has rebuked Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited for attempting to sell some of its assets without its consent.
The government described the action of the company of not informing it, a critical partner, of its intention to carry out such major activity on its shared assets as irresponsible.
This follows the recent public announcement issued by MPN Unlimited on its decision to sell its equity interest in Nigeria to Seplat Energy, a Nigerian independent oil and gas company, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Seplat Energy Offshore Limited.
President of ExxonMobil Upstream Oil and Gas, Liam Mallon had said in the announcement that the “sale will allow us to prioritize competitively advantaged investments in our strategic assets, and it supports the Nigerian government’s efforts to grow its oil and gas operations.
“We value the relationships we have spent decades building with the government and people of Nigeria, which will continue as we maximize the value from our deep-water operations.
“When finalized, the sale will include the Mobil Development Nigeria and Mobil Exploration Nigeria equity ownership of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited, which holds a 40% stake in four oil mining licenses, including more than 90 shallow-water and onshore platforms and 300 producing wells”.
However, the Akwa Ibom State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Uko Essien Udom (SAN), said the government has filed a suit in court to prevent Mobil from proceeding with the assets sale.
Speaking in Uyo at the weekend, Udom informed newsmen of another pending case involving ExxonMobil and the Akwa Ibom State government, initiated by the company following its revocation of some Certificates of Occupancy.
He stated that the attempt to sell off some of the assets shared by both parties and the alleged plans by the company to relocate from the state would further frustrate the outcome of the initial court case.
“Mobil has not formally informed the state government that they are selling and leaving. Everything we heard was from the press, which is most irresponsible for any corporate citizen.
“There’s been no direct contact with us. That’s an action that may frustrate the outcome of a pending court case.
“Akwa Ibom State Government had to enter a court case restraining Mobil from continuing with the proposed sale of its assets and that’s because there is pending litigation between Mobil and the government of Akwa Ibom State. The attempt to sell its asset, some of which may include assets belonging to Akwa Ibom State was handled in a manner that is rather upsetting.
“Mobil has been in Akwa Ibom State for several years and the relationship has been very good until recently. The fact that they’ll attempt to sell in a surreptitious manner without any discussion with the government of Akwa Ibom State is very distressing and not to be expected of a responsible corporate citizen,” he stated.