ExxonMobil’s $1.52 billion sale of a swathe of Nigerian offshore assets to London-listed independent Seplat Energy has been ratified by President Muhammadu Buhari, marking a breakthrough for a deal that appeared set to be ensnared in disputes and court proceedings.

This transaction, announced in February this year, was set to follow the well-trodden path of other oil and gas deals in Nigeria that have been subject to lengthy delays — and are sometimes not completed at all — due to the highly litigious nature of Nigeria’s business environment.