Seplat has been in the news for a lot of not-so-favourable reasons over the past few years. First, there were swindling allegations to the tune of over N600 billion involving its OML partner, NPDC. Seplat had denied all allegations even though NPDC had pleaded guilty. There’s also a series of ill news and bad PR involving its Chairman, A.B.C Orjiako, including one where AMCON had instructed that his assets be seized.
So many shares have also been sold – or transferred – from about 3.5 million units of ordinary shares indirectly held by the Chairman being sold, to the CEO of the company also transferring all his remaining shares to Professional Support Limited “PSL”, an entity wholly controlled by him. PSL is also the 4th largest shareholder of Seplat with 6.6% holding. Even in its expansionary activities that have propelled the company to purchase a number of companies, it had been accused of not being transparent. Its purchase of Eland Oil & Gas had particularly been sanctioned by a court as a result of its scheme of arrangement on the acquisition.
Eyes have naturally been on the company in a bid to try to keep up with its changing structure, litigation issues, and its little capitalization moves like the June 2020 announcement of Sustainable Capital Alpha Fund as a new major shareholder with a direct interest of 5.11%, pushing it to the top 5 on the largest shareholders list. It is with this same wariness that the company’s announcement to transfer its key OMLs have been received.
The OMLs and their transfer
Seplat scored it big when after just a year of its 2009 incorporation from the partnership between Shebah Petroleum Development Company Limited and Platform Petroleum Joint Ventures Limited, it acquired a 45% participating interest in a portfolio of three onshore producing oil and gas blocks in the Niger Delta – OMLs 4, 38 and 41. Even today, out of its vast portfolio of assets located in the Niger Delta region, these OMLs, which were acquired in July 2010 alongside NPDC as part of the agreement of the NPDC/Seplat Joint Venture, are still its biggest catches. The same OMLs have also led Seplat to become a major supplier of gas to the Nigerian domestic market.
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