UPDATE 1-Seplat confident will win Chevron Nigeria asset

Thu May 22, 2014 7:08am EDT

* Chevron lost battle over jurisdiction with Brittania-U

* Seplat's $500 mln IPO in Lagos, London to fund purchases (Adds quotes, share price and details)

By Chijioke Ohuocha

LAGOS, May 22 (Reuters) - Seplat is confident it will win a dispute over the purchase of a Chevron asset, the Nigerian oil and gas firm's chief executive said on Thursday.

Austin Avuru said during a presentation of Seplat's interim management statement that the company had appealed against a ruling which gives jurisdiction to a Nigerian court in deciding the outcome of a Chevron oil block sale, for which Seplat's bid was the second-highest.

A Nigerian judge last week ruled the Federal High Court should have jurisdiction over Chevron's asset sale dispute with Nigeria's Brittania-U, dealing a blow to Chevron which had hoped to have the case dismissed.

Chevron and Brittania-U are at loggerheads after the Nigerian firm said it paid a deposit to buy some onshore oil blocks from the U.S. group, only for Chevron to look for alternative bids.

The U.S. firm argued the sale was a private matter and should not be subject to court involvement.

"We remain confident that the Chevron acquisition will be settled in our favour," Avuru said.

Avuru said Seplat had lost out on a separate bid for a Shell block in Nigeria because its bid was not the highest.

Shares in Seplat traded flat in Lagos and London on Thursday morning at 625 naira and 228 pence respectively. Seplat said its interim results will be released in July.

Avuru said Seplat, which raised $500 million via a debut stock market listing in Lagos and London in April, was considering three acquisitions seriously and expects to conclude them before the end of the year.

It said it had $285 million in net cash after its IPO and is on track to achieve a production rate for 2014 of 72,000 barrels per day. ($1 = 0.5925 British Pounds) (Reporting by Chijioke Ohuocha; editing by William Hardy and Keiron Henderson)

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