San Leon, the independent oil and gas production, development and exploration company focused on Nigeria, notes the recent speculation in the Nigerian press about the operation of the Oil Mining License (OML) 18 ("OML 18").
The Company has been made aware of an article published in Nigeria on 25 February 2023 that alleges that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited has taken over the operatorship of the OML 18. The article also alleges various improper actions by Eroton Exploration & Production Company Limited ("Eroton"), the operator of OML 18.
In response to these allegations, Eroton published a press release on 25 February 2023 confirming:
1. Eroton considers the Nigerian reports to be malicious and false.
2. Eroton remains the operator of OML 18. Specifically the operatorship of OML 18 is a contractual agreement and is governed by the Joint Operating Agreement, any change to which can only be made through a clearly defined process which has not been followed. Therefore, any purported change by any other party is without any effect whatsoever. This is despite the attempts of forced displacement of some Eroton staff from its Alakiri Gas Plant on 24 February 2023 by armed and unknown men who claimed to be representatives of one the other JV partners, OML 18 Energy Resource Limited, ("Sahara"). These purported actions were outside of the due process of law and in breach of the terms and conditions as stipulated in the Joint Operating Agreement.
3. Any lack of production from OML 18 alluded to in the press has been primarily due to the unavailability of Nembe Creek Trunk Line in the last two years and not to any production issues suffered by Eroton. It also notes that this is an industrywide problem due to widespread and well known crude oil theft and sabotage of pipelines in the Niger Delta.
4. Eroton categorically denies any fraudulent acts as stated in the press and confirms that it is committed to transparency, integrity and that it continues to operate in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.
San Leon currently holds an initial 10.58% indirect economic interest in OML 18. Further announcements will be made as and when appropriate.