Akwa Ibom denounces ExxonMobil’s attempt to sell assets without consent

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March 27 (THEWILL) – The Akwa Ibom state government has denounced ExxonMobil’s recent attempt to sell off some of its assets, without resorting to the pending case, describing it as “unworthy of a business responsible citizen”.

The state government finds it very irresponsible for such an international oil company not to have informed the state government, which is a key partner of the organization, of its intention to carry out such a major activity on its shared assets. .

THEWILL recalls that ExxonMobil had recently released a statement, informing the general public that it had reached an agreement to sell its stake in Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (MPNU), to Seplat Energy, an independent Nigerian oil and gas company, through the intermediary of its subsidiary held by Seplat Energy Offshore Limited.

“This sale will allow us to prioritize competitive investments in our strategic assets, and it supports the Nigerian government’s efforts to expand its oil and gas operations,” said Liam Mallon, chairman of ExxonMobil Upstream Oil and Gas. “We value the relationships we have spent decades building with the government and people of Nigeria, which will continue as we maximize the value of our deepwater operations.”

“Once completed, the sale will include Mobil Development Nigeria and Mobil Exploration Nigeria’s stake in Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited, which owns a 40% stake in four oil exploitation licenses, including more than 90 shallow water platforms. and onshore and 300 production wells. “, indicates the press release.

During an interaction with reporters in Uyo over the weekend, the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Uko Essien Udom (SAN), said the state government had filed a lawsuit in court to prevent Mobil from proceeding with the sale of the assets.

Udom briefed reporters on another pending case, involving ExxonMobil and the Akwa Ibom state government, initiated by the former, following a revocation of some of the company’s occupancy certificates.

He said the attempted sale of some of the assets, some of which are shared between the duo and the company’s alleged plans to move out of state, would further hamper the outcome of the original lawsuit.

In its own words, “Mobil did not inform the state government that it was selling out and leaving. Everything we heard came from the press, which is most irresponsible for any corporate citizen. There was no direct contact with us. It is an action that can thwart the outcome of an ongoing legal case.

“The Akwa Ibom state government had to take legal action preventing Mobil from proceeding with the plan to sell its assets and that is because there is an ongoing dispute between Mobil and the government of Akwa Ibom. ‘Akwa Ibom. The attempted sale of its assets, some of which may include Akwa Ibom State-owned assets, has been handled in a rather heartbreaking manner.

“Mobil has been in Akwa Ibom State for several years and relations have been very good until recently. The fact that they are trying to sell surreptitiously without any discussion with the Akwa Ibom State Government is very distressing and cannot be expected from a responsible corporate citizen.

Attempting to provide some insight as to why ExxonMobil may have taken the state government to court in the first instance, Udom said, “All land in Akwa Ibom is government owned, the government issues a certificate of ownership. ‘occupation.

He hinted that some of the occupancy certificates, allegedly old, have been revoked, saying they had sued Akwa Ibom’s government, challenging the revocation of some of the CofOs and that the case was pending and continuing. .

“So it’s a big surprise to us that pending those lawsuits, they’re going ahead and trying to sell some of the assets and leave. That’s why we have the order preventing them from suing. the sale and to remove any assets from Akwa Ibom State The sale cannot be permitted because when parties dispute the ownership of an asset, all of these things would be left in abeyance.

“The court is entitled to retain what is called ‘the subject matter of the dispute’. Any attempt by either party to exhaust the asset or to sell or dispose of it shall would meet with resistance from the court. it is contemptuous in fact,” he argued.

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