NNPCL withdraws suit against ExxonMobil, Seplat deal

NNPC GMD, Mele Kyari

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) has applied to a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, to stop its ongoing legal action against several subsidiaries of Mobil Nigeria and the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission.

In a motion filed on June 11, 2024, by their legal counsel Afe Babalola & Co., the NNPC requested the court to grant leave for discontinuance and to strike out the suit, with the provision to re-list it should the settlement process fail.

It stated that the application is part of a broader effort to finalize a settlement agreement involving the divestment of 100% interest in Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (MPNU) to Seplat Energy Offshore Limited.

As stated in the motion, one of the conditions required for the settlement agreement requires NNPCL to withdraw the suit to facilitate the settlement.

Counsel for the NNPCL contended that the discontinuance is in the interest of justice which promotes an efficient resolution without prolonged litigation.

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

The agreement includes clauses to align the interests of all parties involved and finalize the transaction.

The initial suit, filed on July 5, 2022, was referred to arbitration by the court on August 3, 2022.

Recent negotiations led to a decision to settle the dispute out of court.

The motion states the court’s role in encouraging dispute resolution through arbitration, conciliation, and mediation, in line with Order 19 Rule 1 of the High Court’s rules.

NNPC noted that the discontinuance is essential to complete the settlement process and that the application complies with Order 24 of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory Civil Procedure Rules 2018.

The motion further stated that relisting of a discontinued suit if the out-of-court settlement fails ensures that NNPC retains the right to seek judicial recourse should the settlement not be concluded successfully.