Seplat Refutes Cardinal Drilling Services’ Facility


Seplat Petroleum Development Company has distanced itself from a facility Cardinal Drilling Services Limited obtained from Access Bank Plc.

It was noticed that on December 2, 2020, Seplat’s corporate headquarters at No. 16A Temple Road, Ikoyi, Lagos were sealed and policemen, purporting to act on behalf of the allegedly appointed Receiver/Manager, prevented Seplat’s staff and other tenants from entering the building.

However, it was gathered that subsequently Seplat received copies of the following documents: a letter dated 2nd December, 2020 from Kunle Ogunba & Associates, alleging to be the appointed Receiver/Manager over the subject assets and attempting to exercise control over possession of said assets (Receiver’s Letter); and the Court documents filed by Access Bank against Seplat, Cardinal and other named Defendants (Court Documents).

A review of the above documents showed that Seplat’s headquarters was sealed pursuant to an ex parte interim Court Order dated 13th November, 2020, which was obtained by Access Bank Plc in connection with its Facility to Cardinal Drilling Services Limited.

It was gathered that in 2012, Cardinal Drilling Services Limited obtained a facility from the defunct Diamond Bank (now Access Bank) to purchase the CDS Rigs 101, 201, 202 and 203. The facility was secured by a fixed and floating Debenture over Cardinal’s assets (debenture).

“Seplat was not a party to the facility or the debenture and did not provide any guarantees or indemnities on behalf of Cardinal or otherwise in connection with the facility.

“The Cardinal Rigs were used to provide drilling services to Seplat and other companies. In particular, CDS 101 and 201 were used to execute SEPLAT’s 2019 work programme and all 4 Rigs were critical to SEPLAT’s future drilling plans.

“Over the passage of time, Cardinal was unable to service the outstanding part of the Facility, which Access Bank show to be an outstanding amount of $85.8 million,” Seplat explained in a statement.

“To date, Seplat has not made any binding commitment to Access Bank in connection with Cardinal’s indebtedness.

Rather, Seplat merely sought to support settlement discussions between Cardinal and Access Bank, in order to retain its continued use of the Cardinal Rigs in ongoing operations.

“Following Cardinal’s increasing indebtedness and failure to pay the agreed settlement, Access Bank began to rope Seplat into its remedial action against Cardinal. Cardinal, in its response to Access Bank, stated that it was discussing with Seplat on possible funding support,” the company alleged.