NNPC seeks withdrawal of suit challenging ExxonMobil-Seplat deal

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited has filed a motion in a federal capital territory (FCT) high court, seeking to discontinue its ongoing suit against the Nigerian subsidiaries of ExxonMobil and the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC).

On Thursday, the NNPC presented an application by its legal counsel, Afe Babalola & Co., requesting the court to grant leave for discontinuance and to strike out the suit.

The legal counsel prayed the court to make a provision to relist the case, ensuring that NNPC retains the right to seek judicial recourse if the settlement is not concluded successfully.

In February 2021, Seplat Energy Plc agreed to acquire the entire share capital of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (MPNU) from ExxonMobil for $1.3 billion.


The NNPC filed a suit on July 5, 2022 — blocking the deal.

The transaction was subsequently referred to arbitration by the court on August 3, 2022.

Settling out of court on May 30, the NNPC signed a settlement agreement for the divestment of ExxonMobil’s stake in MPNU to Seplat Energy.


According to the latest motion, moved by NNPC’s legal counsel, one of the conditions stipulated in the settlement agreement requires the company to withdraw the suit in order to facilitate the settlement.

In his affidavit, Isaika Popoola, a litigation manager at Afe Babalola & Co., noted that the parties had met several times in an attempt to settle the disagreement over the divestment of MPNU shares to Seplat.

The agreement, he said, includes clauses to align the interests of all parties involved and to finalise the deal.

The motion also highlighted the court’s role in encouraging dispute resolution through arbitration, conciliation, and mediation, in accordance with Order 19 Rule 1 of the high court’s rules.


“The applicant humbly urges Your Lordship to grant leave to discontinue this suit and consequently strike it off the court’s cause list,” the motion reads.

“Granting this application aligns with the policy of this Honourable Court and facilitates the finalization of the settlement process.”

According to NNPC’s legal representative, the cessation serves justice and encourages a speedy conclusion without prolonged litigation.

The motion also requested the court to strike out the suit without costs, highlighting the parties’ commitment to an amicable settlement.

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