In what is shaping to be an intense and protracted legal and political tussle between Emeka Offor’s Company, Starcrest, Eland, SEPLAT and the Federal Government, represented by NPDC, a United Kingdom court has been asked to halt the illegal transfer of Eland’s interest in OML 40 to SEPLAT.
Eland recently announced the proposed acquisition of its Nigeria Oil and Gas assets to SEPLAT, another UK stock exchange-listed Company on October 15th 2019.
It was gathered that the George Maxwell-led Company ”demonstrated a total lack of understanding regarding Nigeria’s regulations concerning the transfer of interests in Oil and Gas assets and change of Company’s controls.”
That George Maxwell allegedly attempted to transfer the country’s oil and Gas assets in the high streets of London stock exchange without proper pre-approval of NPDC (the Operator of the field), Star crest (its senior local partner in the JV), and DPR, the regulator showcased either Eland’s board lack of sophistication or desperation to transfer the Company’s underlying problems to SEPLAT.
The move has also been considered ”a disregard to the country’s right to her crude reserves as enshrined in the principles of Permanent Sovereignty over Natural Resources (PSNR) aimed at shielding developing countries from external economic and political interference.”
The representative of the Country in the block, the NPDC, which operates the field (not Eland as claimed in the UK stock exchange), has also indicated its capability at matching SEPLAT’s valuation of the asset.
It was, however, gathered that the NPDC will go ahead to exercise its pre-emption rights regarding the definitive agreements guiding relationship between the parties.
A source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said “the Company is not interested in being forced into unholy alliances fabricated in the UK with SEPLAT.”
Besides, the source noted that “the situation also confirms the industry knowledge that although Eland could boast of some verifiable technical expertise, George Maxwell’s ineptitude in managing partner’s relationship in Nigeria was the real bane of the Company.
“It could be the main reason why the Board of Directors exercised a vote of no confidence in him which ultimately led to the approval of SEPLAT’s hostile takeover. ”
An Eland employee, who pleaded anonymity, claimed that George goes around Nigeria’s capital dropping names of politicians, “threatening Eland’s partners, reneges on commitments with ease, and failed to pay Star Crest its remunerations per the JV agreements.”
It was further gathered that an assault was spearheaded on the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, almost dragging the regulators to the court over some disagreements concerning due-process.
It was gathered that the saga if not well managed l, could well lead to another epic protracted legal battle involving an unwholesome transfer of the Country’s asset.
It was gathered that Eland’s investors are not pleased with the situation.
Efforts, however, to get Mr. Maxwell to react proved abortive as he failed to answer calls put across to him or text messages.Read Full Story