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Buhari’s Exxon Sale Flip-Flop Risks Nigeria’s Oil Reform

  • Exxon sale first major deal under a new oil reform law
  • An indecisive president likely to hurt investor confidence
Muhammadu Buhari
Muhammadu BuhariPhotographer: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s flip-flop over the sale of Exxon Mobil Corp.’s assets could discourage investment in Africa’s largest oil producer in the wake of industry reform meant to grow the sector. 

A $1.28 billion bid by Lagos and London-listed Seplat Energy Plc for shares in Exxon’s local subsidiary was initially backed by Buhari despite opposition from the state-owned Nigeria National Petroleum Company, Exxon’s partner on the blocks with a total capacity of 95,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day.