Seplat, Starcrest resolve dispute over Eland

By Emeka Nze

Seplat Petroleum Development Company has resolved all grey areas with Starcrest Nigeria Energy Limited over the acquisition of Eland Oil and Gas Plc, leading to full takeover of 45 percent stake in OML 40 by Seplat effective Monday, December 18, 2019.

Seplat offered cash payment of about GBP382 million, three hundred and eighty-two British pounds for the acquisition.

Sources within Starcrest confirmed to Media Issues that all parties, including Elcrest Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited, had amicably resolved the disputed areas, having met the terms of agreement.

Starcrest had maintained that OML 40 was a joint venture owned by it and Elcrest, accusing Seplat of not following due process before publicly announcing the acquisition of Eland which had no holding in the oil block.

It said that Eland was a minority shareholder in Elcrest and had no hydrocarbon entitlement produced from OML 40, except for dividend from Elcrest which was however subject to declaration of dividend by Elcrest.

Starcrest said further that prior to the announcement of the acquisition by Seplat, it was neither consulted, informed or briefed on the offer or terms of acquisition, thus could not carry out due diligence on the offer.

Enraged by this development, Starcrest notified the relevant authorities both in Nigeria and United Kingdom, including the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

NPDC is the operator and holder of 55% stake in OML 40, making it the majority stakeholder.

OML 40 is located in the northwestern Niger Delta near Warri. Production is currently about 10,000 barrels per day. In 2012, Elcrest completed the acquisition of a 45% interest in OML 40 from Shell, Total and Agip Eni. NNPC also transferred its 55% equity in the licence to its E&P subsidiary, NPDC.