Eni signs agreement to sell nigerian subsidiary NAOC Ltd to Oando PLC

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Italian oil major Eni has signed an agreement with Oando, an energy solutions provider listed on both the Nigerian and Johannesburg Stock Exchange, for the sale of all its stake in Nigerian Agip Oil Company Ltd (NAOC Ltd), a wholly-owned subsidiary focusing on onshore oil & gas exploration and production in Nigeria, as well as power generation.

NAOC Ltd is present with interests in Nigeria across 4 onshore blocks (OML 60, 61, 62, 63), which it operates on behalf of NAOC JV (operator NAOC Ltd 20%, Oando 20%, NNPC E&P Limited 60%), in the Okpai 1 and 2 power plants (with a total nameplate capacity of 960MW), and in two onshore exploration leases (OPL 282 and OPL 135, respectively 90% and 48%) for which it also holds operatorship. Eni said in a statement, but did not disclose the financial details of the accord.

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NAOC’s participating interest in Shell Production Development Company (SPDC) Joint Venture of 5 per cent, is not included in the perimeter of the transaction and will be retained in Eni’s portfolio.

“Following the transaction completion with Oando PLC, Eni will maintain its presence in Nigeria through Nigerian Agip Exploration (NAE) and Agip Energy and Natural Resources (AENR), reiterating the company’s commitment to its employees health and safety, as well as to the environment.

“Eni continues to operate in the country focusing on operated offshore activities. Participations in operated-by-others assets, both onshore and offshore, and Nigeria LNG will remain in Eni portfolio too,” the global oil giant noted.

Eni added that the transaction is consistent with its 2023-2026 plan, wherein the upstream will supplement the core “organically led growth with inorganic high-grading activity”.

To this end, the company emphasised that it will be adding resources with incremental value while divesting resources that can offer greater value and opportunities to new owners.

“The closing of this transaction is subject to, inter alia, the authorisation of all relevant local and regulatory authorities,” the company pointed out. The sale is expected to nearly double Oando’s reserves to 996 million barrels of oil equivalent.

Commenting Wale Tinubu CON, Group Chief Executive, Oando PLC said: “The synergies created by this acquisition will unlock unparalleled opportunities for us to re-align expectations, enhance efficiency, optimize resource allocation, and significantly increase production.

“Furthermore, it is in alignment with our strategy of acquiring, enhancing, appraising, and efficiently developing reserves. Today’s announcement is not just an important milestone for the future of Oando; it brings to bear the important role indigenous actors will play in the future of the Nigerian upstream sector,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) says it has ordered the withdrawal of its members from all offices and field locations of Eni, over the sale of its subsidiary, Nigerian Agip Oil Company Limited (NAOC) to Oando Plc.

The chairman of PENGASSAN, Agip Group, Eyong Survival, while Speaking on the deal during a meeting in Port Harcourt on Tuesday, expressed worries over the acquisition.

He said the transaction was completed “without consulting or alerting the union”.

“The Managing Director of Eni Nigeria, Mr. Fabrizio Bolondi, invited the workforce to a meeting on September 4, 2023, and callously informed us that Eni has sold its 20 percent equity share in NAOC JV, comprising OML 60, 61, 62 and 63, covering parts of Rivers, Delta, Bayelsa, and Imo States to Oando Nigeria Limited, transferring all its assets and liabilities to Oando without recourse to outstanding financial obligations to the workers, vis-a-vis their employee savings plan, pension, and gratuity,”

“It is imperative to note that the Union being the workers’ representative was not informed before the commencement of the sales agreement.

 “Not long from the date, the Union, on hearing rumors of the sales of the assets, held a meeting with the management on July 12, 2023, where the question was put forward to Eni Nigeria Management if they had any plan of selling the NAOC JV assets to Oando or any other company, but the managing director vehemently denied any plan of selling the JV assets.
“Instead he made presentations on planned injection of IPP Phase 2 generated power to the national grid, as well as the possible conversion of OPL 245 to OML by the government.”

With the announcement of the sale of NAOC joint venture (JV) assets to Oando, Survival said over 3,000 indigenous workers may be thrown into the labour market as the details of the sales transaction “were not made known”.

The union leader said the association has ordered a total withdrawal of its members from all offices and field locations of the company until “a proper agreement is reached with Eni Nigeria and AGIP Group PENGASSAN”.

“By that withdrawal action, gas supply to Indoranma has been affected; daily oil production on 30,000nbbls of crude oil has been suspended, and about 10mscf of LNG gas to NLNG has been cut off, as well as about 350MW of Okpai IPP power to the national grid has been shut down,” Survival said.

The chairman, therefore, called for due process to be followed by the Eni management.