Illegal Niger Delta refineries to produce 1,000 barrels of oil daily — NNPC

The group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Maikanti Baru, has thrown some light on the modular refineries the Federal Government is planning for the Niger Delta.

Mr. Maikanti, at the 53rd International Conference and Exhibition of the Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society (NMGS) in Abuja, said the government would organise the youth now engaged in illegal refining of crude into consortia.

Each consortium will refine 1000 barrels of crude daily.

Mr. Baru also defended the Federal Government’s plan to transform illegal refineries in the Niger Delta into legal entities for proper integration of the youth in the region.

He argued that getting the youth to form consortia to set up 1000 barrels per day modular refineries would get them off criminality and create jobs.

He said the reform programme being executed by the NNPC is geared towards transforming it from an oil and gas company into an integrated energy outfit with interest in power generation and transmission.

In a paper entitled, “Challenges and Prospects for the Diversification of the Upstream, Downstream and Frontier Basin Exploration in the Oil and Gas Sector”, Mr. Baru said NNPC had identified opportunities in the power sector and was ready to take advantage of them to transform from being a gas supplier to the power sector, into a major player, in the sector.

He said the Corporation was already working on a project to generate four Megawatts (4000MW) of electricity while also exploring the possibility of investing in the transmission segment of the power sector.

The GMD explained that the Corporation’s decision to diversify into the power sector was hinged on the need to bridge the huge energy gap in the Nigerian market.

He said contrary to the impression that the poor power situation was caused by inadequate gas supply, the real problem was inadequate transmission capacity, adding that there was enough gas to generate eight gigawatts (8GW) of electricity but the transmission grid could not support such volume of power without complications.

In the upstream, he said his goal was to accelerate frontier exploration and grow crude oil reserve to 40 billion barrels from the current 37 billion.

He also challenged the geoscientists on the need to deploy more sophisticated technology and drill deeper than the current 13,000 to 15,000 feet in the Niger Delta to produce more oil.

“We have to look deeper with intensive 3D and 4D seismic surveys over the so-called matured Niger Delta. The older, the better,” he declared.


Source: Premium Times

Oil firm returns N62 billion to NNPC after controversial crude swap deal under Jonathan

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, said on Monday it had reached a final settlement with AITEO Group over an outstanding $202.4 million (about N62 billion) debt in respect of under-delivery of petroleum products under the crude swap contract between 2012 and 2014.

Under the crude swap deal by the NNPC during the Goodluck Jonathan administration, the NNPC allocated crude oil to trading companies in exchange for processed petroleum products. That deal was criticised by several analysts who argued that the oil firms were, in collusion with top public officials, cheating the Nigerian government. The government had said it embarked on the deal because, among others, the local refineries were not working optimally and so as to reduce cash payment for imported petrol.

On Monday, the NNPC spokesperson, Ndu Ughamadu said following extensive reconciliation of records between their business transactions and subsequent agreement, AITEO Group paid in full all its outstanding indebtedness to all NNPC downstream entities totalling about $202.35 million.

Mr. Ughamadu said the amount included AITEO’s share of the total $184 million indebtedness by three companies on crude swap obligations, which included Televeras Group of Companies and Ontario Oil Gas Ltd.

Although Televeras Group, at the end of negotiations with the NNPC, agreed pay an initial $17.2 million and $10 million subsequently, there was no earlier information on the offer by AITEO, which also agreed to settle its debt.

The NNPC spokesperson said on Monday that AITEO’s agreement to settle the $202.4 million debt following its engagement with the NNPC on the issue was a demonstration of its cooperation and commitment towards a successful recovery process.

AITEO Energy owned by Benedict Peter and Francis Peter was one of the seven major Nigerian fuel importers identified by the Swiss non-governmental advocacy organization, the Berne Declaration, as the worst culprits in schemes employed by Nigerian and foreign fuel importers to swindle the country.

The Lagos-based AITEO Energy, which is a subsidiary of Geneva-based Aiteo Suisse AG, was asked by the then Technical Committee on Payment of Fuel Subsidy to reimburse the Nigerian government over N578 million in subsidy fund it falsely collected.

The company was one of the three oil marketing firms whose offshore processing agreements were terminated on August 26, 2015 after the contract was found to have been ridden with corruption.

Mr. Ughamadu said as part of the debt recovery process, negotiations were still ongoing with the management of Ontario Oil & Gas Limited to make a formal commitment to settle all its outstanding debts under a crude oil swap contract that existed between 2012 and 2014.

Although Mr. Ughamadu told PREMIUM TIMES, Saturday, that the company, which was convicted recently for subsidy fraud, had offered its tank farm at Oghara in Delta state in lieu of the debt, he said the amount arrived at after the valuation of the facility was said to be far below an acceptable figure.

The NNPC spokesperson said the Group Managing Director of the Corporation, Maikanti Baru, has vowed to ensure that the ongoing recovery process was completed and all debts settled.

“The Management of the Corporation under the leadership of Dr. Maikanti Baru is committed to ensuring transparency and adequate public information on the ongoing recovery effort. The Corporation shall continue to provide further update on the recovery process,” he said.


Source: Premium Times

Presidency moves to transform illegal Niger Delta oil refineries into joint ventures.

The presidency is making a move to make some of the illegal refiners and the local communities in the Niger Delta become shareholders in the proposed modular refineries concept of the Federal Government.

A modular refinery is one made up of smaller and mobile parts-(skid-mounted)- that are more easily fabricated and can be more quickly transported to site. They come in different sizes with varying capacities normally lower than conventional refineries with more elaborate and complicated set-up.

A presidency source yesterday said the consideration was in line with the promises made by the government during the presidential interactive engagements in several oil-producing states led by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, to integrate the illegal refiners, rather than eliminate their operations.

However, specific consideration of how to integrate local “illegal” refiners in the oil-producing communities into the proposed modular refinery concept is now in progress with the Presidency and the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Agency (NSIA), spearheading the efforts.

At a meeting late last week at the Presidential Villa, issues around technical and engineering implications of how to integrate the refiners were discussed with industry experts and practitioners making presentations on how to implement the modular refinery initiative said to have been first proposed by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu.

At the meeting, the experts reported that they had worked closely with the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), oil and gas operators, owners of marginal fields, operators of refineries and various technical services providers “to develop a workable system to drive the initiative, the presidency source disclosed.

Under the plan being considered, the government could supply crude to the local refineries at a reasonably considered price, as an incentive to stop the current practice whereby the illegal refiners vandalise and steal the crude. This concept will also prevent environmental degradation that the spills and damaging the trunk lines have been causing.

Also, marginal field operators can supply crude to the new modular refineries that will have the illegal refiners integrated. Another important component of the plan under consideration is to involve the current illegal refiners and their communities as shareholders while the Niger Delta Development Corporation (NDDC) and the NSIA will also hold substantial holdings/equity sufficient to make the smaller refineries operational as a business and a going concern.

To facilitate effective community engagements, Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will be established under the plan with the affected communities determining their share, while the government will supervise the implementation, which would be driven largely by industry operators and the communities.

Mr. Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President, Media & Publicity confirmed that a meeting was held last week on the issue, adding that the presidency was actively working to deliver on its promise of a new vision in the Niger Delta.


Source: The Guardian

Oil-rich Nigeria expended 2.4 trillion Naira importing fuels, lubricants in 2016 – NBS

The Federal Government spent N2.4 trillion on the importation of fuels and lubricants in 2016, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The agency in its fourth quarter (Q4) foreign and merchandise trade statistics released at the weekend, disclosed that about 18.4 per cent of the total cost was used for the importation of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) during the year under review.

On a quarterly basis Nigeria spent N699.2 billion for the importation of fuels and lubricants, which if retained in the country, could build institutions that would provide jobs for graduates.

The bureau said the structure of Nigeria’s export trade is still dominated by crude oil exports, which contributed N2.4 trillion or 81.4 per cent to the value of total domestic export trade in Q4 2016.

The percentage of crude exports to total exports in Q4 thereby decreased to 81.4.0 per cent from 84.3 per cent in Q3, but increased when compared to Q4 2015, accounting for 79.3 per cent of the exports.

It disclosed that Nigeria’s import trade by origin in Q4 showed the country imported goods mostly from China, Belgium, Netherlands, the United States and India. They respectively accounted for N404.1 billion or 17.5 per cent, N356.4 billion or 15.4 per cent, N230.0 billion or 10.0 per cent, N205.6 billion or 8.9 per cent, and N113.9 billion 4.9 per cent of the total value of goods imported during the quarter.

Further analysis of Nigeria’s imports by continent during the period, revealed that it consumed goods largely from Europe with import value of N1, 127.9 billion or 48.9 per cent, adding that it also imported goods valued at N761.9 billion or 33 per cent from Asia and N312.8 billion or 13.6 per cent from the Americas.

The bureau stated: “Import trade from Africa stood at N82.7 billion or 3.6 per cent while imports from the region of ECOWAS amounted to N15.1 billion.

“For full year 2016, Nigeria imported mostly from China with 19.7 per cent of total imports followed by the Netherlands, 11.7 per cent then the USA, eight years.

“With respect to import by continent, Nigeria imported the most from Europe, 46.7 per cent then Asia, 35.8 per cent and the Americas, 12.2 per cent. Nigerian imports from Africa stood at 4.1 per cent of total imports in 2016, with imports from within ECOWAS at 1.2 per cent.”

The total value of Nigeria’s merchandise trade at the end of Q4 was N5, 286.6 billion, or 10.6 per cent above the N4.781 billion recorded in Q3.
“Total export value for fourth quarter of 2016 stood at N2.978 billion, which was 28.3 per cent more than the value of the previous quarter. Total import for fourth quarter of 2016 was N2.308 billion, which represented a decrease of 6.1 per cent with the value of the preceding quarter.

“This development stemmed from a rise of N656.3 billion or 28.3 per cent, in the value of exports combined with a decline of N150.9 billion or 6.1 per cent, in the value of imports against the levels recorded in the preceding quarter,” it added.

Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary, Lubricant Producers Association of Nigeria (LUPAN), Emeka Obidike, said indigenous blenders are constantly being threatened with the shutting down of their plants and seizure of their consignments.

He said they are also persistently faced with the risk of losing their businesses, corrosion of their goodwill and professional integrity, asphyxiating demurrages and transactions and default in the repayment of facilities.

Obidike alleged that the National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) had in many occasions confiscated their consignments and also gone ahead to detain the consignments of importers, insisting on being presented with NAFDAC licences and proof of payment of dues.

He explained that LUPAN members are duly licensed by the DPR to import, store and blend base oil in Nigeria.


Source: The Guardian

Oil deal exceeding expectations…countries cutting more than agreed – OPEC

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) says the historic oil deal sealed in December is yielding more results that expected.

The Vienna-based oil cartel, said some countries party to the deal are cutting production levels below the points agreed at the December accord.

In its first bulletin for 2017, OPEC said 24 countries have joined in turning a new page in the oil history of the world.

Quoting Alexander Novak, minister of energy of the Russian Federation, OPEC said “the results we are observing … are exceeding our expectations. In fact, many countries are going beyond what has been agreed in December in working strongly to the letter in the spirit of the ‘Declaration’.”

Via a commentary on the bulletin,  OPEC said the projection of Mohammed Barkindo, its secretary-general — that the world was about to turn a historic page in oil history — is now becoming a reality.

“Just a few days after the landmark ‘Declaration of Cooperation’ was signed in December, a delighted OPEC Secretary General, Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, said at the Petrotech 2016 Conference in New Delhi, India that the world was on the verge of turning a historic page in global oil.

“Of course, that was before the OPEC/non-OPEC agreement came into force on January 1. Following the positive outcome and confidence expressed at the inaugural meeting of the monitoring committee, the Organization’s chief executive might want to rephrase that statement to ‘has turned’ a historic page.”

Osinbajo defies insecurity, promises to visit all oil producing communities.

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has promised to visit all oil producing communities in the Niger Delta, ruling out any concern about insecurity.

Osinbajo said this at a townhall meeting in Benin, Edo state capital, on Monday.

Some youth stormed the meeting after receiving reports that the acting president will not visit their communities.

This led to a temporary suspension of activities, but their leaders succeeded in pacifying them.

Addressing the aggrieved persons after normalcy was restored, Osinbajo explained that the closure of the Abuja airport, scheduled for 12 midnight on Wednesday, was behind the rescheduling of the visit.

“Our plan is to ensure that we visit all of the oil producing communities, and just as it was rightly said, we have stationed our helicopters at the airport in order to take us there,” he said.

“There is no issue of insecurity at all, I have been to other oil producing communities. What has happened is that the Abuja airport will be closed from tomorrow, we would not have enough time this time to visit all the communities.

“But the governor and I have agreed that we must pay a visit in order to visit each and every one of the communities, and we will do so.”

Osinabjo told the people that abandoned projects in the region will be reactivated, while defaulters will be prosecuted.

“I have looked at the issues of abandoned projects, and I  can tell you precisely, how much has been voted, and how much was spent in several of our oil communities, and there is no sign of development in those areas,” he said.

“I can tell you how many of these projects are supposed to have been completed, and when you look in the books, they say they have been completed, but they have not been completed; they have not been done, many have not even started at all.

“The people must see the benefit of the land. The elite everywhere, have very frequently deprived the people of the  opportunity to enjoy the fruit of the land, that is the Nigerian story.

“This  is something we must deal with. We cannot continue as if we do not know. The monies that have been spent on paper in this country is enough to develop many countries.”


Source: The Cable

The Observer: How Private jet, armoured cars were bought with Malabu deal ‘bribes’

Tens of millions of dollars was wired to buy a private jet and armoured cars in the US from the controversial $1.3 billion sale of OPL 245, the Sunday Observer of London has reported, quoting court documents.

In the deal struck in 2011, only $210 million of the sum went into government coffers as “signature bonus” — the rest was paid to Malabu Oil and Gas, mainly owned by Dan Etete, who, as petroleum minister in 1998, had awarded the lucrative licence to himself.

OPL 245 is a huge oil block offshore estimated to contain 9.3bn barrels of crude — enough to power the whole of Africa for seven years.

The sale to Malabu was nullified by President Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999 and it was assigned to Shell without a public bid.

Ownership was suspiciously reverted to Malabu thereafter, leading to legal action by Shell who later resorted to negotiating directly with Etete after President Goodluck Jonathan assumed office in 2010.

A year later, the $1.3bn deal was struck, with Malabu getting $1.1 billion from Shell and Eni to its transfer ownership, while the signature bonus was paid to Nigeria.

Signature bonus is a one-time fee for the assignment and securing of a licence.

Money trail

A joint investigation by the Observer and journalists from Finance Uncovered, a non-profit organisation based in London, has called to question Britain’s commitment to tackling high-end money laundering through the City of London as evident in the Malabu deal.

A $800m bank transfer to Etete, convicted of money laundering in France in 2007, successful went through the system in what the British newspaper calls “proceeds from one of the most corrupt deals in the history of the oil industry”.

Prosecutors in Milan believe two payments of $400m each were wired through JP Morgan in London as the spoils of the deal.

The newspaper reported that “more than half the money was converted into bags of bribe cash via bureaux de change in Nigeria, while tens of millions was wired to buy a private jet and armoured cars in the US, according to documents compiled by the prosecutors”.

The astonishing allegations were made by an Italian prosecutor, Fabio de Pasquale, whose previous scalps include former Italian leader Silvio Berlusconi.

In Nigeria, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has filed charges against Shell and Eni, and attorney-general at the time of the deal, Mohammed Adoke.

Malabu: Eni denies involvement in ‘corrupt conduct’, clears CEO.

ENI, also known as the Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited, has said the transactions leading up to the auctioning of $1,616,690,656.78 Malabu oil block were not fraudulent.

The board of directors of the oil firm made this known in a statement on Wednesday.

ENI said that an independent US law firm had conducted forensic investigations into the block and returned a “not guilty verdict”.

It said that neither the company nor its CEO Claudio Descalzi were involved in alleged illicit conduct.

“Eni’s Board of Directors today takes note of the outcome of further forensic investigations into the 2011 transaction between Eni and Shell and the Nigerian Government for the acquisition of the OPL 245 licence in Nigeria,” the statement read.

“The investigations were conducted by an independent US law firm. They were commissioned by Eni’s Board of Statutory Auditors and Watch Structure.

“The investigations examined the new materials and further information filed by the Milan prosecutors as part of the closure of the investigation in December 2016.

“The law firm confirms the conclusions reached by previous investigations in 2015, stating that there is no evidence of corrupt conduct in relation to the transaction. Eni’s Board of Directors confirmed its total confidence that neither the company nor its CEO Claudio Descalzi were involved in alleged illicit conduct under investigation.”

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, in response to a court order, had seized the oil block pending the conclusion of investigation of the deal.

The oil firms are Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited (SNEPCO), Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited, and Malabu Oil and Gas Limited.


Source: The Cable

NNPC subsidiary to raise its oil production to 500,000 barrels daily.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, says it is determined to raise the crude oil production capacity of its exploration and production subsidiary, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, NPDC, to 500,000 barrels per day by 2020.

Besides, the corporation said it would also grow the company’s gas production capacity to 1,500 million standard cubic feet per day of gas within the same period.

The Group Managing Director of NNPC, Maikanti Baru, who disclosed this on Tuesday at the ongoing Nigeria Oil and Gas Conference and Exhibition in Abuja said everything was being done to achieve the set targets.

Mr. Maikanti, who delivered the keynote address titled: “NNPC’s Commercial Strategy and Priorities”, said the corporation hoped to achieve set reserve growth target as well as increase national crude oil production to three million barrels per day from the current 2.2 million barrels per day.

He also said NNPC would sustain frontier exploration in the country’s inland basins to meet government’s aspiration to achieve crude oil and gas reserves of 40 billion barrels and 200 trillion cubic feet respectively by 2020.

The NNPC GMD put the country’s current oil and gas reserves at 37 billion barrels and 192 trillion cubic feet (TCF) respectively.

Besides, efforts are currently ongoing amongst all concerned to reduce the level of gas flare by converting most of the flared volumes to ensure commerciality of the gas resources, he said.

Speaking further on gas commercialisation, Mr. Baru said efforts were on to raise between $3.6 and $4.5 billion to build the Abuja-Kaduna-Kano pipeline to help generate 3.2 gigawatts (GW) of electricity for the country.

“Beyond growing gas for the power sector, there has been a strategic positioning of the sector to support massive gas-based industrialization.

“We will incubate and midwife a portfolio of critical and mutually dependent investments (Central Processing Facilities, CPFs, Fertilizer, Petrochemical, Free Trade Zone, FTZ, infrastructure and Ports) which will jumpstart the gas revolution agenda.

“NNPC intends to develop or take equity in some of these gas-based industries such as fertilizer and others,” he said.

Another priority for the year, according to the GMD, was the rehabilitation of the refineries, adding that his management has secured the approval of the Board to pursue the rehabilitation with a view to increasing their capacity utilization to above 60 per cent.

He expressed confidence that diligent execution of the initiatives would increase the commerciality and profitability of the corporation in the near future.

At the opening of the 2017 Oil and Gas Conference and Exhibition in Abuja, on Monday, Mr. Baru said Nigerian oil and gas industry was on the path of recovery with the current crude oil price in the international market on the rise, and pipeline vandalism on the decline as a result of drop in restiveness in the Niger Delta.

Mr. Baru, who expressed delight that the NOG Conference, which could not hold last year, had returned, at a time hope was rising for the industry

He stated that there were indicators that things were beginning to shakeup for the industry.

The first indicator, according to him, was that cases of pipeline vandalism have reduced with a positive impact on crude oil production.

“We are having a lot of engagements with people in our core area of operations in the Niger Delta and this is bringing a lot of hope. If we go by the number of pipelines vandalism cases, they have dropped to an average of 20 per cent on a month as against a similar period last year. This is an indicator that calm is returning to the r”, he said.

He listed other indicators to include the rise in the price of crude oil in the international market and the renewed confidence in the industry among the international oil companies as a result of the cash call exit agreements which have guaranteed a steady flow of funds.


Source: Premium Times

OPEC Loses $1 Trillion To Oil Decline In Two Years

The Secretary General of the Organization Of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Mr Mohammed Barkindo, says member countries have lost one trillion dollars worth of oil revenue to the fall in global oil prices between 2014 and 2016.

The OPEC scribe, added that these losses were in terms of deferred and outright cancellations of projects across its entire value chain.

Barkindo, who revealed this during a visit to the Minister of State for Petroleum, Doctor Ibe Kachikwu, commended his measures to solve Nigeria’s longstanding challenges with joint venture cash-call obligations.


Source: Channels TV

Malabu Oil: Court Adjourns Ruling On Order Of Forfeiture Till March 13

The Federal High Court in Abuja has reserved ruling until March 13, to decide on two separate applications filed by Shell Oil Exploration Limited and Agip Oil Exploration, seeking to set aside an order of forfeiture granted the EFCC in respect of oil prospecting license (245).

Justice John Tsoho was urged by the two oil companies to set aside the order he granted the EFCC on January 26, 2017 on the grounds that the EFCC chairman who is the applicant in the experte motion, was not the proper person to file it.

Counsel to the Shell Petroleum, Professor Kayinshola Ajayi, told the court that the EFCC chairman was wrong in bringing the experte motion that led to the order of forfeiture in his capacity as the chairman.

The counsel submitted that three conditions which ought to have been met by the EFCC before bringing the experte motion, were not met and as such the order of forfeiture granted was null and void.

Specifically, he said the EFCC ought to have in accordance with laid down laws, arrest, trace and then apply for order of attachment before seeking for an order of forfeiture.

He said that the EFCC had abused the court by not following the conditions precedent and that the case of the EFCC is patently hopeless.

He added that section 28 of the EFCC act does not permit the EFCC chairman to bring the experte application in his capacity as chairman .

According to Ajayi, the application, having been brought by an incompetent person, cannot invoke the jurisdiction of the court.

He added that section 115 of the evidence act was violently violated, because the EFCC in its supporting affidavit, claimed that it had completed investigation whereas, the order of attachment can only be applied for pending investigation.

On the claim by the EFCC that the order of attachment was a fall out of the 9 count charge filed against the two oil companies and others, Professor Ajayi said there was nothing to show that the charges have anything to do with the oil prospecting license (245) and as such, the claim did not hold water.

However, opposing the application, the EFCC counsel, Mr Johnson Ojogbane, asked the court to dismiss the two applications, on the ground that there was no proper suit before the court.

He added that the exparte application was brought by the EFCC chairman in line with section 44 of the 1999 constitution and as such, he is a competent person to bring the said application on behalf of the commission.

Mr Ojogbane said that it would be a disservice to the Federal Government and to Nigerians to vacate the temporary order in respect of Licence (245) because of the element of criminality involved.


Source: Channels TV

People in oil-producing areas are prone to cancer – Research Professor

Again, more studies are linking crude oil products to cancer. A study suggests that with the rising cases of oil spills, pipeline destruction and gas production in the Niger Delta and over dependence on petroleum products, Nigerians are in for a massive health catastrophe.

A new study published in a journal, PLOS ONE, found that young people diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukaemia are more likely to live in areas of high-density oil and gas development compared to others diagnosed with other types of cancer. The researchers at the Colorado School of Public Health at CU Anschutz, United States, however, observed no association between non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and high-density oil and gas development.

The study is titled “Childhood hematologic cancer and residential proximity to oil and gas development.”

“The findings from our registry-based case control study indicate that young Coloradans diagnosed with one type of childhood leukemia are more likely to live in the densest areas of oil and gas sites.

Besides, studies published in American Journal of Environmental Sciences found that more Nigerians are at a greater risk of developing different types of cancer due to exposure to crude oil pollutants.

The studies, which predict ‘epidemic’ of cancers in oil producing areas of Nigeria by 2025, stated that more than 25 per cent of Nigerians are at an increased risk of developing cancer due to exposure to toxic chemicals from crude oil pollution, Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs). They also suggest that PAHs can be genotoxic; that is, the damage caused can be inherited.

Another study had established that crude oil, even in low quantity, could harm not just human health but that of fish. The study concluded that people of the Niger Delta are at a higher risk of cancer because high concentrations of this toxic chemical were found in the fishes they eat.

FG still owing oil marketers N300bn subsidy arrears – Forte Oil Boss

The federal government is yet to pay over N300 billion subsidy claims of major oil marketers for fuel imports between 2014-2015, says Akin Akinfemiwa, group chief executive officer of Forte Oil Nigeria.

Akinfemiwa made the disclosure on Thursday when he appeared before the house of representatives ad hoc committee investigating debts owed to the Petroleum Pipeline Marketing Company (PPMC) by oil marketers.

According to the oil chief, his company owes N5.9 billion to the PPMC but was also being owed N13.8 billion in subsidy claims.

He informed the Abdullahi Mahmud Gaya-led committee that steps were being taken to settle the subsidy arrears by the federal government.

“So far, the government, led by the Chief of Staff to the President invited us to a meeting with other stakeholders to address two issues. One was to continue petrol supply, and two was for Federal Government to pay its debts. For the debts, a committee was set up to settle them.

“The total stands at over N300 billion. Right now, we cannot even do much, but we do not want a situation where there will be queues in the country,” Akinfemiwa said.


Source: The Cable

Protests in Sango as customs, soldiers break into rice market, seize food stuff.

For several hours, human and vehicular traffic along Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway was yesterday paralysed as rioting youths and rice sellers in Sango-Ota market protested against alleged invasion of the market by customs officials.

The protest, which led to the blockade of the main road before the bridge at Sango-Ota in Ado-Odo/Ota Local Council of Ogun State, was blamed on the customs officials who invaded the market in the early hours of Wednesday, broke into stalls and forcefully carted away bags of rice into their vehicles.

Angry traders and hoodlums barricaded the ever-busy expressway for more than nine hours. The rampage left many motorists and commuters stranded, while some made efforts to ply alternative routes.

The action got the traders angry and they immediately mobilised en masse to barricade the busy Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, leaving motorists trapped in the ensuing confrontation between policemen and the traders. According to the customs, estimated value of duties payable on the items was N12,445,250.

Eyewitnesses reports claimed about four people were severely injured in the fracas, which saw hundreds of businesses grind to a halt in the area, but the customs insist there was no attack or any casualty recorded during the operation.

The aggrieved traders, who displayed placards containing several abusive inscriptions against the agency, alleged that the officers arrived the market in the early hours of yesterday and forcefully broke into shops and warehouses, carting away about 15 truckloads of rice, including money and personal belongings.

According to an eyewitness, the customs officers came in five Toyota Hilux fully armed and masked soldiers to carry out the operation.

A policeman was injured in the melee that followed the seizure. The unidentified policeman had attempted to remove the barricade in the middle of the road, when the irate youths stoned him repeatedly, resulting in a severe injury.

The injured policeman corked his gun and attempted to shoot at the crowd but he was prevailed upon by a senior police officer. It was gathered that the customs officers, who were accompanied by masked soldiers, shot repeatedly as they broke into over one hundred shops.

Some of the traders accused the customs officers of not only breaking into their shops to cart away bags of rice, but also made away with millions of naira, which were reportedly kept in some of the shops’ safe.

“This is very unfair. The customs came into the market at midnight and broke into our shops. We are not happy, and that is why you see people protesting. We will make sure that we resolve this issue with customs, because the harassment is getting too much,” she said.

Not even the intervention of the Area Commander of Police, Sango Command, Fayoade Adegoke, with heavy presence of policemen, and the pleas of the chairman, Ado Odo/Ota Local Council, Prince Oladele Adeniji, could calm the aggrieved traders, who parked trucks to block the expressway. Commuters were left stranded and forced to trek from Sango to the Tollgate end of the highway before they could get buses to their workplaces.

Spokesperson of the FOU of customs, Jerry Attah, told The Guardian that the officers did not break into the shops, but only packed nearly half of the bags of rice stacked outside in their thousands.

“After physical examination, we counted 1,870 50kg bags of different brands of foreign parboiled rice, and 43 kegs of 25 litres foreign vegetable oil. As at when they left there, there was no crossfire or any casualty. It was a peaceful operation,” he said.

On the stolen monies, Attah said “miscreants always take advantage of such scenario. It is possible that some people might have used the opportunity to break into the shops and steal their money. For us, no shop was broken or invaded.”


Source: The Guardian

Oil prices rise after ‘over 90% compliance’ to OPEC deal

Oil prices rose by more than one dollar a barrel on Tuesday, after the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) announced that over 90% of OPEC countries were conforming to the oil deal.

Members and non members of the organisation agreed to cut production in December 2016.

Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for oil prices, traded at $57.20 per barrel, recording an increase of $1.13 from its last closing price.

In 2016, oil prices traded as low as $27 per barrel and began to rise towards the end of 2016.

While speaking at the 201 International Petroleum (IP) week, Mohammed Barkindo, secretary-general of OPEC, said that over 90% of member states were conforming to the oil deal.

“In OPEC’s most recent monthly oil market report the production data for January shows conformity from participating OPEC nations above 90%,” Barkindo said.

“Moreover, all countries involved remain resolute in the determination to achieve a higher level of conformity. We are also determined to realise the joint conference decision to strengthen and sustain this cooperation between OPEC and non-OPEC.

“We want this to be a lasting and flexible partnership that when necessary can help reduce volatility, provide more confidence to the market, and steer a path towards more sustainable stability.

“All countries involved remain resolute in the determination to achieve a higher level of conformity.”


Source: The Cable

Ogoni Clean Up: FG Conducts Ground Breaking Ceremony.

The out-going Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed, has said that the people of Ogoni land will see tangible cleanup of their area in the next five years.

The minister said this during the ground breaking ceremony of the building of the centre of excellence, otherwise known as the Integrated Contaminated Soil Management Centre in Bori, Khana local government area of Rivers state.

The event brought together federal and state government officials, traditional rulers, commuinity leaders, as well as members of the board of trustees for the clean-up of Ogoni land.

In June 2016, the Federal Government formerly launched the clean-up of oil spills in the region, as recommended in the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report.

The government had said that it is committed to restoring the ecosystem to what it used to be and as such restore the peoples’ source of livelihood.

It also stated that it is not just committed to implementing the UNEP report but is going beyond that by taking steps to improve security, good governance and economy of the Niger Delta region.


Source: Channels TV

NNPC denies collecting signature bonuses from oil companies.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, has said that it is not involved in the collection of signature bonuses paid by oil companies to the Federal Government upon their successful bid for oil blocks.

Speaking on the role of NNPC in the oil revenue collection process at a hearing of the House of Representatives ad-hoc Committee on Oil Prospecting Licenses (OPLs) and Oil Mining Leases (OMLs), the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Maikanti Baru, said the corporation had no
role in the collection of signature bonus.

A statement by Ndu Ughumadu, NNPC spokesperson, Tuesday, said the GMD who was represented by the Corporation’s Chief Operating Officer, Upstream, Bello Rabiu, noted that it was the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, not the NNPC, that was charged with the responsibility of taking receipts of signature bonuses and royalty.

The NNPC boss, according to the statement, explained that the arrangement allowed NNPC to lift the royalty oil from Production Sharing Contracts, PSCs, and remit the proceeds to the DPR, adding
that confirmation and reconciliation of royalty payments to the sister agency were carried out at the monthly meeting between the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation and revenue generating agencies.

“NNPC assured the Ad Hoc House Committee that it would furnish it with all pieces of information on its royalty remittances from the PSCs to the DPR from 1992 till date,” the statement said.

On his part, Chairman of the committee, Gideon Gwani, said the committee decided to invite all the agencies involved in the collection of oil revenues and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to
resolve the claims and counter-claims regarding the whereabouts of some signature bonuses and other revenues from some OPLs and OMLs.

He explained that the committee was mandated by the House of Representatives to investigate the award of all OPLs and OMLs granted to oil companies by the Federal Government, to, among other things, ascertain whether due process and guidelines for the acquisition of
oil and gas asset were complied with.

Other agencies invited for the hearing included the DPR, CBN, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation and the Petroleum Training Development Fund, PTDF.


Source: Premium Times

Oil prices stabilize as Russia joins OPEC in production cut

Oil steadied on Wednesday as Russia joined OPEC in cutting production to balance the market, although large supply in places such as the United States dragged on prices.

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, is an intergovernmental organisation of oil-exporting developing nations that aims to ensure stable oil prices within global oil markets.

Brent crude futures LCOC1, the international benchmark for oil prices, were trading at $55.63 per barrel at 0749 GMT (02:49 a.m. ET), up 5 cents from their last close.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 rose 5 cents to $52.86 a barrel.

Prices reversed earlier falls after reports that Russia cut its oil and gas condensate production by around 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) between December and January, down to 11.11 million bpd.

Russia’s cuts are part of an effort led by the OPEC, of which Russia is not a member, to prop up the market and end a global fuel supply glut.

As part of this, OPEC has said it will cut production by around 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) in the first half of 2017.

Other producers, including Russia, have pledged to cut another 600,000 bpd in output.

A Reuter’s survey published on Tuesday showed that OPEC’s output fell by over 1 million bpd in January to 32.27 million bpd between December and January.

“That’s a good start to cut production to bring the market back toward balance,” said Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at futures brokerage AxiTrader.

However, Mr. McKenna added that there were still some questions about whether or not OPEC will achieve its goals to cut even deeper and for the full period of the first half of 2017.

Traders said a reported climb in U.S. crude inventories was also preventing oil prices from rising by much.

“The release of the American Petroleum Institute’s (API) crude inventories at a much higher than expected 5.8 million barrels saw both Brent and WTI quickly give back gains,’’ Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst future brokerage OANDA in Singapore, said.

The API data showed that commercial U.S. crude inventories now stood at 488 million barrels.

Official U.S. storage data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) is due later on Wednesday.


Source: Reuters

Global oil output falls by 1.07 million bpd in January.

Following the supply cut deal by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, oil output of member-states is set to fall by more than 1 million barrels per day (bpd) in January.

According to the report of a Reuters survey released Tuesday, the fall points to a strong start by the group in implementing its first supply cut deal in eight years.

The survey is based on shipping data provided by external sources, Thomson Reuters flows data and information provided by sources at oil companies, OPEC and consulting firms.

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed to cut its output by about 1.2 million bpd from January? 1 to prop up oil prices and reduce a supply glut.

The survey stated that supply from the 11 OPEC members with production targets under the deal has averaged 30.01 million bpd, down from 31.17 million bpd in December, based on shipping data and information from industry sources.

Compared with the levels that the countries agreed to make the reductions from, OPEC members have cut production by 958,000 bpd of the pledged 1.164 million bpd, equating to 82 percent compliance, the survey says.

It stated further that compliance of 80 per cent comfortably exceeds the initial 60 per cent achieved when the previous cuts deal was implemented in 2009, and it adds to indications that adherence to the deal so far has been high.

Reuters reports that oil edged above $55 a barrel on Tuesday. The cuts agreed by OPEC, Russia and other independent producers has helped to lift prices from a 12-year low near $27 a year ago.


The January drop in OPEC output has been offset slightly by higher supply from Libya and Nigeria, which are both exempted from the OPEC agreement because of output losses caused by conflict.

Saudi Arabia has reduced output to less than 10 million bpd in January, industry sources told Reuters, implementing a bigger cut than it had agreed to set a good example on compliance.

Iran, which was allowed to raise output under the OPEC deal because sanctions had crippled past supply, pumped an additional 20,000 bpd.

OPEC announced a production target of 32.5 million bpd at its November 30 meeting, which was based on low figures for Libya and Nigeria and included Indonesia, which has since left the group.

Combined output in January from all members is about 520,000 bpd above the target, adjusted to remove Indonesia, the survey showed.

“No plans to leave Nigeria”, says Total Oil.

Total Nigeria has denied rumours that it is planning to leave the country any time soon.


Jean Philippe Torres, managing director of the organisation, made this known at the customer service day that held at Onigbagbo Total service station in Ikeja, Lagos.


Total recently indicated plans to spin off its downstream asset in Nigeria, feeding rumours that an exit could be in the works.


Torres used the programme as an opportunity to assure Nigerians of the continued presence of Total in the country.


“This event is to remind our customers of how significant they are to us. We at Total are keen to delivering good and satisfactory customer service,” he said.


“We want to make Nigerians understand that we are part of the communities. Once again, the main issue for us in Total is to tie the link with our esteemed customers and tell them that they are king at Total and that is the case.


“There were rumours that we wanted to leave the country, that is not the case. Total wants to stay in Nigeria.


“At Total, we have very strict control mechanism in order to make sure that our dispensers are really dispensing the right quantity.”


Commenting on alleged under-dispensing of petroleum products at the company’s filling stations, he said: “This is the responsibility of the full staff of our stations, dealers to make sure that we deliver to customers the quantity they pay for.


“We have system in place to control the stock level, deliveries to ensure that we really deliver the products needed and paid by the customers.”


Source: The Cable

Bad news for oil-producing countries as scientists near end to reliance on fossil fuels

More bad news for Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) and other crude oil products as the quest to end the world’s reliance on fossil fuels advances: a fusion power firm has raised $500 million (£405 million) to develop commercial fusion power.

According to a detailed report in Science, Tri Alpha Energy has already developed a machine that can hold hot plasma steady at 18 million°F (10 million°C) for 11.5 milliseconds.

The firm will use the funds to extend this time further and at even higher temperatures, and believes that it could have the world’s first commercial fusion reactor by 2027.

Fusion involves placing hydrogen atoms under high heat and pressure until they fuse into helium atoms. When deuterium and tritium nuclei – which can be found in hydrogen – fuse, they form a helium nucleus, a neutron and a lot of energy. This is down by heating the fuel to temperatures hotter than the surface of the sun.

Strong magnetic fields are used to keep the plasma away from the walls so that it doesn’t cool down and lost it energy potential. These are produced by superconducting coils surrounding the vessel, and by an electrical current driven through the plasma. For energy production. plasma has to be confined for a sufficiently long period for fusion to occur.

The particular type of fusion power Tri Alpha is working on is based on heating hydrogen atoms to temperatures of 5.4 billion°F (3 billion°C) – which is hotter than the surface of the sun. The heat creates plasma that has a mixture of electrons and ions. When ions in a plasma collide, they fuse together to form new atoms and release huge amounts of energy. It is a relatively simple concept, but the trick is in heating the gas to such a high temperature. Currently no known material can hold this heat.

Over the years, scientists have come up with two main methods to overcome this; cause an implosion that occurs rapidly, or use a magnetic field.

Tri Alpha Energy is using the latter option, but says it has made its breakthrough with an unusual reactor design – a long, tube that collides pairs of plasma donuts to produce heat.

According to a detailed report in Science, the team has placed magnets around a cigar shaped configuration that allows for firing angled plasma beams at one another.

The plasma that forms from its hydrogen and boron sample is then stabilised with beams of high-energy particles.

Tri Alpha is keeping many details about its project under wraps.

But Science has confirmed that the company now plans to create a fusion tube that boasts even more power and can reach hotter temperatures for longer periods of time.

Using this approach, the scientists were able to reportedly heat the gas up to 10 million °C for 11.5 milliseconds, at which point the machine ran out of fuel.

This, however, is still short of the 5.4 billion °F (3 billion °C) temperature needed to achieve a fusion reaction.

The team now plans to use the $500 million (£405 million) funding to improve its machine, dubbed C-2U, to achieve a ten-fold increase in temperature needed to create a fusion reactor design.

Equatorial Guinea to join OPEC, agrees to production cuts

The Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons of Equatorial Guinea says it has submitted its interest to join the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in 2017.

Gabriel Mbaga Obiang, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons, travelled to Vienna on January 20 to meet with OPEC officials and present the Government of Equatorial Guinea’s offer to become the 14th member of the cartel.

With 32.5 million barrels per day of output projected this year, OPEC is the world’s largest organization of oil producers. The minister’s trip to Vienna followed the Fourth Africa-Arab Summit, which hosted, last November, several OPEC members in Malabo, the capital of Equatorial Guinea.

“For decades, Equatorial Guinea has achieved a sterling track record as a dependable supplier of petroleum to consumers in all corners of the world. We firmly believe that Equatorial Guinea’s interests are fully aligned with those of OPEC in serving the best interests of the industry, Africa and the global economy,” the minister said.

On December 10, 2016, Equatorial Guinea agreed to join 10 other non-OPEC countries to reduce 558,000 barrels per day of total oil production in 2017. Equatorial Guinea’s share of the cut is 12,000 barrels per day. Even through a two-year sustained slump in oil prices, Equatorial Guinea has maintained liquid output levels at a competitive level.

“There is a consensus amongst producers that an oversupply of oil has been dragging down the price of the barrel,” the Minister said. “Equatorial Guinea is doing its part to ensure stability in the market and that the industry continues to invest in exploring and developing our resources.”

Equatorial Guinea is the third largest oil and gas producer in sub-Saharan Africa. Its $10.6 billion of annual oil and gas exports account for 95 percent of the country’s total exports, with shipments sold every day to China, India, Japan, Korea and many other countries.

The country is investing in the entire energy supply chain through projects such as the Bioko Oil Terminal, the Fortuna Floating Liquefied Natural Gas project, the Riaba Fertilizers plant, compressed natural gas and LNG.

Equatorial Guinea is currently hosting its latest oil and gas licensing round, EG Ronda, putting on offer all of open acreage not currently operated or under direct negotiation.

The country has made 114 oil and gas discoveries to date with a drilling success rate of 42 percent.

SOURCE: Ministry of Mines, Industry and Energy Equatorial Guinea

A day after VP Osinbajo’s visit, militants ‘blow up’ pipeline in Delta.

A militant group has blown up a crude oil trunkline in Ughelli, Delta state, a day after Yemi Osinbajo, vice-president, paid a visit to the Niger Delta region.


Punch reports that the attack was carried out by an “unidentified militant group”.


No militant group has claimed responsibility for this latest attack on an oil installation.


Osinbajo had on Monday led a federal government delegation to the region to kick-start the process of peace and stability.


During the trip, the vice president had met with traditional rulers and key stakeholders.


Speaking in Gbaramatu kingdom, Delta state, Osinbajo put out a clarion call, urging members of the region to embrace peace and “prepare for the future”.


“Our future is the future of progress and development. Unfortunately, there is no time because the future is already here.


“I have come with a message for the people of Gbaramatu Kingdom and the people of the Niger Delta as whole. It is a short message and I quote ‘we must prepare for the future’,” Osinbajo had said.

Ex-Militants Offer To Help Military Uncover Oil Pipeline Bombers.

Leaders of the Presidential Amnesty Programme in Edo state say they are willing to work with the military to fish out those who are involved in the bombing of oil pipelines in the Niger Delta region.


Mr Reuben Wilson spoke on behalf of the ex-militants under the aegis of Leadership, Peace and Cultural Development Initiative during a press briefing in Benin City the Edo state capital.


He said that the approval of the 2017 budget for the amnesty programme by President Muhammadu Buhari was a sign of his commitment to restore total peace to the Niger Delta region.


“We were there before embracing amnesty and we know every in and out of that area. That is why I said it here that we will work hand to hand with the security agencies.


“That place is not strange for us, it is (a place) where we have operated in those days before accepting amnesty.


“So we will go down and work hand in hand with security agencies if we are accepted. That is one thing. If the security agencies want us to work hand in hand with them, we will work and we know total peace will come back,” he said.


The Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Brigadier General Paul Boroh said the ex-militants have embraced the agriculture programme of the Federal Government.


He said: “Like the Peremabiri Rice Farm, am making arrangement with the Minister of Water Resources. That farm is not under the Ministry of Agriculture, it is under the Ministry of Water Resources.


“I met with the Minister and he is very happy and we are planning to go together even though I have the knowledge of the place so that we can use it as part of the training ground to train the ex-agitators so that they can have first-hand information about how rice is being farmed.”

NNPC to set up oil and gas museum in Oloibiri

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Thursday unveiled plans to set up an oil and gas museum in Oloibiri, the historic town where oil was first drilled in Nigeria.

This was disclosed by Bello Rabiu, NNPC chief operating officer, Upstream, who said it was part of plans to increase government revenue.

NNPC presented the Act to establish the National Oil and Gas Museum and Research Centre in Oloibiri, and recommended the construction of the museum with clear budgetary allocation from the federal government under the control and management of the National Commission for Museum and Monuments.

“It is better to refine and upgrade the capacity of the Petroleum Training Institute, in Warri and the National College of Petroleum Studies, Kaduna, in order to avoid duplication of functions and more importantly ensure optimal utilization of funds,’’ NNPC said.

Oloibiri had been the centre stage for Nigeria’s oil revolution after it moved away from agriculture.

Oil was first drilled in Oloibiri in 1956 before the nation’s independence.

8 months after, Nigeria reclaims spot as Africa’s largest oil producer.

After eight months, Nigeria has reclaimed its spot as Africa’s largest oil producer, edging out Angola by a few thousand barrels per day.

In March 2016, Angola overtook Nigeria as Africa’s  largest producer, with a production level of 1.782  million barrels per day, as Nigeria produced on 1.677 million bpd that month.

According to the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) monthly oil report for December 2016, Nigeria pumped 1.782 million barrels per day while Angola produced 1.688 million barrels per day.

Ibe Kachikwu, minister of state for petroleum resources, had initially said Nigeria had hit 1.9 million barrels of oil in December 2016.

Nigeria however exported less crude to the Unites States than Angola did in the month under review.

“US imports of Angolan and Nigerian crude increased to 307,000 b/d and 303,000 b/d, respectively, by mid-November,” the report read.

Quoting a Stanbic IBTC report, OPEC said Nigeria’s private sector purchasing managers index (PMI) — an indicator of the economic health of the manufacturing sector — eased in November, 2016

“Following two consecutive quarters of contraction, the economy of Nigeria shrank by 2.3% y-o-y in 3Q16, according to the country’s National Bureau of Statistics. The Stanbic IBTC Bank Nigeria PMI highlighted that contraction in the private sector eased somewhat in November on renewed growth of new orders received.”

With the recent OPEC oil output deal, which does not require a cut from Nigeria, shows that the country could ramp up production in 2017 to about 2 million barrels per day.

The limits of 2017 optimism – By Chinaza Onuzo

While the shakeup at the Financial Reporting Council is the biggest surprise of 2017 so far, I must admit that the wave of optimism that seems to be everywhere is a close second. Considering the doom and gloom with which we ended 2016, I did not expect us to be on the sunny side of life this quickly. Those must have been some amazing crossover services that Nigerians went to. Who knows maybe all we need for 2017 to be better than 2016 is a rush of animal spirits. However, just in case more than that is required, let’s take a look at the things that need to go right for 2017 to be the year of restoration and be significantly better than 2016.

Everybody and their gateman know the first requirement for a better 2017. Oil prices need to remain above $55 per barrel for most of the year. Is it right that we are so dependent on the price of oil – probably not – but it is what it is. With the oil price currently hovering around $55, it is possible that this most fervent of wishes could be granted. However with the need for the OPEC cuts to hold, and shale to not be too disruptive, and robust global economic growth – it looks like a lot of things have to go right for the $55 to be sustained but we will continue to hope because we have no choice.

However it will not be good for all our prayers to work and then we will then fall our own hands. So we must ensure that we meet our budget target of 2.2 million barrels of oil daily average production. Since we’re currently at around 1.8 million barrels per day, we better hope that the work being done to engage the Niger Delta Avengers and the other militant groups will actually succeed.

Can you imagine us finally solving the Joint Venture funding issue, having the right oil price and finally being tripped up by inadequate production volumes? We will need to avoid such in 2017 if we are to meet our objectives.

In the event that both the oil price and our production volumes hold up the government revenues will increase and our state governments will be able to pay salaries again and the civil service which remains the engine of growth in a lot of the smaller states can help in restarting those economies. If those economies restart then some of the unrest that has plagued our country for the last twelve months may start to subside. And who knows maybe the Nigerian military can reduce the number of states they are active in from pretty much all of them to a more manageable number.

The optimists are even expecting that these increased revenues could mean that the federal government and the CBN may even be willing to do something the issues affecting the naira dollar exchange rate. In theory, the increased revenue will give the federal government and the CBN the ability to loosen the restraints on the naira. However given our historically pegging it is highly likely that doing so will lead to slight additional devaluation say to about N330 to N350. Given the focus on 2019 and the need to not rock the boat it’s safe to say that won’t happen. The optimists in this case are hoping that the revenue will increase enough for the CBN to unban the 41 items and be able to settle demand. Otherwise our optimism will wane and it will be very hard for the economy to return to robust levels of growth.

Another key limiting factor is power. After all it is hard to see the optimists being right if we do not have power. Well the Minister of Power has recently announced that the transmission grid can wheel 7,500MW. For our economy to be truly jumpstarted we need to see significant progress in transmission as a whole. For the last few years we have struggled to generate, transmit and distribute 4,000MW. We have even had moments when we’ve dropped below 1,000MW. What that means is that the system has been teetering for a while. The inability of the transmission company to increase the capacity of the grid has been one of the largest limiting factors. If the Minister’s proclamation holds, then it is possible the power sector companies may actually be in a better position in 2017.

It the power companies get more power, they are probably better able to pay their debts. If they are better able to pay their debts, the banking system is less under threat of bad loans. If the banking sector is less under threat of bad loans we are likely to escape an AMCON 2. If there is no AMCON 2 that means that no bank is in danger of failing and we are better off as a nation.

There you have it. The things that need to go right for 2017 to be significantly better than 2016. They don’t seem like a lot – oil price, oil production, security, foreign exchange, power. However the first is outside our general control, and the others require strong decisions from our federal and state governments. This is not to say that these things can’t happen, but it seems like a very thin reed to base all our 2017 hopes on.

I find that there’s an assumption that 2016 was a difficult year and therefore 2017 must be better by fire or by force.

Unfortunately, there is no guarantee of this. The experiences of Venezuela and Zimbabwe tell us that things can continue to get worse if the right decisions are not taken. So, by all means be optimistic about 2017, however just remember that there needs to be action to turn the hopes for 2017 into reality.

Happy New Year!

Ijaw Youth Council urges FG to stop investigation into Malabu Oil deal

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has denied media reports that he received gratification before approving the controversial Malabu Oil deal.

A statement by his spokesperson, Ikechukwu Eze, in Abuja yesterday said Jonathan did not send a businessman, Abubakar Aliyu, or any other person to receive a bribe on his behalf during or after the negotiation.

The statement reads: “Our attention has been drawn to news reports published mostly by online media which insinuated, rather than presenting factual evidence, that Jonathan received kickbacks in the $1.3bn OPL 245 oil block involving oil giants ENI and Royal Dutch Shell.

“We wish to state that the negotiations and transactions for the oil block predated the Jonathan’s presidency, which began on May 6, 2010 and ended on May 29, 2015. It may interest those promoting this false narrative to also know that the documents relating to the transactions are in the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.”

The spokesman further stated that Jonathan did not hold any secret meeting with the parties in the transaction, nether did anybody work for him.

“As President of Nigeria, Jonathan met with the executives of all the oil majors operating in the country to solicit support in the oil industry,” the statement added.

He urged the media to use the Freedom of Information Act, which Jonathan signed into law, to investigate stories before publication.

Meanwhile, the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) has urged the Federal Government to stop an investigation into the Malabu oil deal.

The group’s President, Udengs Eradiri said in an interview that it was designed to witch-hunt the Niger Delta region, because an Ijaw man was involved.

According to him, it was worrisome that other oil blocks that were awarded through the same process were exempted from a similar probe.

Kachikwu: We’ll allocate oil blocks, pass PIB in 2017

Ibe Kachikwu, minister of state for petroleum resources, says the federal government will be allocating oil blocks and passing the petroleum industry bill in 2017.

Unveiling his goals, and that of the ministry of petroleum resources, for 2017, Kachikwu said Nigeria would exploit the relationship built by President Muhammadu Buhari in taking a road show to the UK and US.

“We are going to accelerate federal government revenues, look into areas where we could have made more money, so as to support the 2017 financing,” Kachikwu said.

“We are going to be seeking to attract investments and complete all the MOUs; the one in China, the one in India… we are looking to do a roadshow to the UK, we are looking to do a roadshow to the US with President Donald Trump coming in.

“We are looking quite frankly to draw on the relationship that the president has built over time. We are going to be conducting oil blocks allocations and marginal flow awards to try and raise money for the government.”

Kachikwu, who also spoke on the petroleum industry bill, said Nigeria’s  refineries would be revamped to produced at a utilisation capacity of 60 percent.

“We need to start the revamping of the refineries. The president has given us a matching order on that. We still remain committed on our goal of 2018: reduce importation by 60 per cent and 2019, try and exit the importation of petroleum products substantially.

“Now, are going to continue to focus on downstream issues. Although we have liberalised, there are still some challenges. We are going to see how we work within the liberalisation infrastructure such that we are able to take away the low-hanging difficulties.

“We are also going to focus on the Niger delta. It’s been too long a lingering issue. We are going to be working with every aspect of the presidency to try and find solution to this.

“We are going to run at a rocket pace. We have so much to do. First, we are going to firm up our policies, be able to gazette all our oil and gas policies and then pass the Petroleum Industrial Bill, PIB.”

Kachikwu praised Nigeria’s “influential role” in stabilising oil prices, saying he expects oil to trade in the $60s for the better part of 2017.

How Goodluck Jonathan benefited from Malabu oil deal kickback – AFP

Italian prosecutors have alleged that Nigeria’s former president Goodluck Jonathan and his oil minister received kickbacks as part of a $1.3 billion deal involving oil giants ENI and Shell.

Court documents filed late last month in the city of Milan and seen by AFP outline a case against 11 people, including senior executives from the two oil majors and the companies themselves.

Jonathan, who left office in May 2015, and Diezani Alison-Madueke, his long-time petroleum minister who was also the first woman president of OPEC, do not feature on the list.

But they are alleged to have played a central role in the deal, which saw ENI and Shell make a $1.3 billion payment in 2011 for an offshore oil block in Nigeria.

No formal charges have been brought and the parties usually have 20 days to respond to the conclusion of the preliminary investigation report before any formal prosecution.

ENI chief executive Claudio Descalzi and his predecessor Paolo Scaroni met Jonathan “in person” to thrash out the deal, which also involved former British intelligence agents working as advisors for Shell, it was alleged.

Prosecutors allege ENI and Shell executives worked with Nigerian businessman Dan Etete, who was oil minister under the military ruler Sani Abacha from 1995 to 1998.

Etete’s company Malabu was the “fraudulent holder” of the OPL 245 block, according to the court documents.

After talks in Milan and Abuja, the block was bought illegally by the oil majors in contravention of domestic laws, “without competitive tendering” and with “full, unconditional exemption from all national taxes”, prosecutors said.

A total of $801.5 million was allegedly transferred to Etete’s Malabu accounts, of which $466 million was converted into cash in Nigeria and used for remunerating government officials, including Jonathan and Alison-Madueke, prosecutors said.

A further $54 million was withdrawn by Abubakar Aliyu, whom prosecutors describe as an “agent” of Jonathan.

The beneficiaries of the money went on a shopping spree buying “property, aeroplanes, armoured cars,” prosecutors added.

– ‘No basis’ for prosecution –

ENI and Royal Dutch Shell have both denied wrongdoing.

Shell said in an email: “We are aware of the investigation and we hope to show the prosecutor that there is no basis to prosecute Shell.

“Shell takes this matter seriously and is co-operating with the authorities.”

Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has also recently pressed charges in connection with the same oil block deal.

Charges were “filed towards the end of last year”, EFCC spokesman Wilson Uwujaren told AFP, without elaborating.

Anti-corruption campaigners view the case as a classic example of graft in Nigeria but also an indication of the difficulty in tackling the problem when it crosses international borders.

Alison-Madueke is facing a flurry of graft allegations in Nigeria and was arrested by Britain’s National Crime Agency on suspicion of bribery and money laundering in 2015.

She has denied the allegations.

Last week, the Federal High Court in Lagos ordered Alison-Madueke to temporary forfeit $153 million that was allegedly syphoned from state coffers.

For his part, Jonathan has denied that his government was corrupt and contested his successor Muhammadu Buhari’s claim that he inherited a “virtually empty” treasury.

Buhari secured a historic first win for an opposition leader in Nigeria’s history when he defeated Jonathan in presidential elections in March 2015.

He campaigned on a platform to target endemic corruption and has said “mind-boggling” sums of money have been stolen from the public purse.

His government has arrested a series of high-ranking officials from Jonathan’s administration on corruption charges but few have been convicted.

Malabu Oil Deal: Jonathan, Diezani Recieved Part Of The $466m Kickbacks – Italian Prosecutor

Italian prosecutors have alleged that Nigeria’s former president Goodluck Jonathan and his oil minister received kickbacks as part of a $1.3 billion deal involving oil giants ENI and Shell.

Court documents filed late last month in the city of Milan and seen by AFP outline a case against 11 people, including senior executives from the two oil majors and the companies themselves.

Jonathan, who left office in May 2015, and Diezani Alison-Madueke, his long-time petroleum minister who was also the first woman president of OPEC, do not feature on the list.

But they are alleged to have played a central role in the deal, which saw ENI and Shell make a $1.3 billion payment in 2011 for an offshore oil block in Nigeria.

No formal charges have been brought and the parties usually have 20 days to respond to the conclusion of the preliminary investigation report before any formal prosecution.

ENI chief executive Claudio Descalzi and his predecessor Paolo Scaroni met Jonathan “in person” to thrash out the deal, which also involved former British intelligence agents working as advisors for Shell, it was alleged.

Prosecutors allege ENI and Shell executives worked with Nigerian businessman Dan Etete, who was oil minister under the military ruler Sani Abacha from 1995 to 1998.

Etete’s company Malabu was the “fraudulent holder” of the OPL 245 block, according to the court documents.

After talks in Milan and Abuja, the block was bought illegally by the oil majors in contravention of domestic laws, “without competitive tendering” and with “full, unconditional exemption from all national taxes”, prosecutors said.

A total of $801.5 million was allegedly transferred to Etete’s Malabu accounts, of which $466 million was converted into cash in Nigeria and used for remunerating government officials, including Jonathan and Alison-Madueke, prosecutors said.

A further $54 million was withdrawn by Abubakar Aliyu, whom prosecutors describe as an “agent” of Jonathan.

The beneficiaries of the money went on a shopping spree buying “property, aeroplanes, armoured cars,” prosecutors added.

– ‘No basis’ for prosecution –
ENI and Royal Dutch Shell have both denied wrongdoing.

Shell said in an email: “We are aware of the investigation and we hope to show the prosecutor that there is no basis to prosecute Shell.

“Shell takes this matter seriously and is co-operating with the authorities.”

Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has also recently pressed charges in connection with the same oil block deal.

Charges were “filed towards the end of last year”, EFCC spokesman Wilson Uwujaren told AFP, without elaborating.

Anti-corruption campaigners view the case as a classic example of graft in Nigeria but also an indication of the difficulty in tackling the problem when it crosses international borders.

Alison-Madueke is facing a flurry of graft allegations in Nigeria and was arrested by Britain’s National Crime Agency on suspicion of bribery and money laundering in 2015.

She has denied the allegations.

Last week, the Federal High Court in Lagos ordered Alison-Madueke to temporary forfeit $153 million that was allegedly syphoned from state coffers.

For his part, Jonathan has denied that his government was corrupt and contested his successor Muhammadu Buhari’s claim that he inherited a “virtually empty” treasury.

Buhari secured a historic first win for an opposition leader in Nigeria’s history when he defeated Jonathan in presidential elections in March 2015.

He campaigned on a platform to target endemic corruption and has said “mind-boggling” sums of money have been stolen from the public purse.

His government has arrested a series of high-ranking officials from Jonathan’s administration on corruption charges but few have been convicted.

NUPENG lauds FG’s policy to stop petroleum products importation by 2018

The Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has thrown its weight behind the Federal Government’s policy to end importation of petroleum products by 2018.

Mr Joseph Ogbebor, NUPENG’s General Secretary gave the union’s position in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Lagos.

NAN reports that the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, had said on Wednesday in Ebonyi announced that by 2018, Nigeria would stop the importation of refined petroleum products.

Nigeria as an oil-producing state and member of Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), he said, had no business importing refined products.

“Importation of petroleum products became unavoidable because there was no regular maintenance of the four government-owned refineries.

“This led to poor capacity utilisation and loss of jobs while promoting and sustaining jobs in countries where Nigeria imports petrol from.,” the NUPENG scribe said.

He said if new refineries were built and the existing ones given necessary turned-around maintenance with adequate crude supplied for refining for local consumption, importation of petroleum products would be unnecessary.

“This is what as a union we have been preaching for long. Turn the refineries around so that we can create jobs for Nigerians.

“Rather than depend on importation and by so doing create jobs outside the country while the people suffer.”

“If the government could implement it and put an end to petrol importation, it would be a welcome development and better for the economy,” Ogbebor added.

We will hit Buhari hard this year – Niger Delta Avengers threaten.

The militant group, Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) has threatened to hit President Buhari very hard in 2017.

This is coming barely 24 hours after they summoned their fighters back to the creeks to ‘prepare for war’.

You will recall that the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) also withdrew its support for Buhari, calling him a crafty man.

According to Daily Post, the group’s spokesman, Mudoch Agbiniho said “As we get prepared for the challenges ahead 2017, We make bold to tell the people of our Niger Delta, sane minds in Nigeria and the comity of nations that the remaining 11 months and couple of weeks in 2017 will be filled with surprises and a reconfiguration of the struggle for the liberation of our motherland.

“Since, the declaration of cessation of hostilities in the region by all fighters and affiliates, it has been evidently clear that the Nigerian state is not ready for any form of dialogue and negotiation with our people to addressing the issues sustaining the unending sufferings and deprivation of the people of the Niger Delta.

“The world is aware that, after listening to calls from our Royal Fathers, Community Leaders, Stakeholders and members of the comity of nations especially the governments of the United States of America, Great Britain and the European Union, we halted all actions.

“The world knows that PANDEF, as team of critical stakeholders, was mandated to engender a genuine dialogue and negotiations process that will be made up of apolitical Niger Deltans to engage with the government and people of Nigeria, representatives of the International Oil Corporations and neutral observers.

“But this government decided to go around to politicizing the process to forestall any genuine dialogue and negotiations.

“It is our belief that the 2017 national budget is not based on the crude oil production output from the Niger Delta, but on the newly found oil deposits in the North and the new pipelines constructed from the Niger Republic.

“That is the way to discuss with the deaf, when he cannot understand your soft massage. We are determined to hit him very hard and deadly that even his eyes will shed blood, his ear will be more deafened and his heart shall quake when he sees, hear and feel the outcome of our next activities.”

Also, the leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Democratic Front (NDPDF), General Playboy told newsmen that the Niger Delta struggle will not stop even if the Federal Government pays the backlog of salaries owed ex-militants.

Nigeria Targets 2.6 million Barrels Per Day Refining Capacity

Nigeria may be on the path to becoming self-sufficient in the production of petroleum products, as the Federal Government expects to increase the country’s refining capacity from 445,000 barrels per day to 2.62 million barrels per day.

To achieve this, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), has granted licences to 22 private firms to establish refineries, which are expected to produce 1.97 million barrels per day in the short, medium and long period.

If these refineries come on stream, the country is expected to save over $15 billion yearly from the importation of petroleum products, create jobs and meet the needs of industrial firms, which depend on by-products from refineries.

Already, nine companies have submitted bids for co-location of new refineries within the complexes of Nigeria’s three existing refineries in Kaduna, Warri and Port Harcourt, which are expected to increase the nation’s refining capacity from 445,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 650,000bpd.DPR, in its yearly report on the oil and gas sector stated that the Federal Government hoped to achieve 50 per cent domestic refining capacity by 2020, through a combined policy of deregulation and rehabilitation of aging plants.

According to the agency, in line with this aspiration, DPR has already granted 25 Licenses to Establish (LTE) and five Approvals to Construct (ATC) refineries in Nigeria to qualified companies.

It stated that one of the 25 LTE holders, Dangote Oil Refinery Company (DORC) has progressed the refinery development project to the equipment fabrication stage.

DPR said that the DORC project is due to be commissioned in 2018 and would add 500,000 BPSD to the domestic refining capacity.

The agency stated: “The modular refinery model is now emerging as a credible solution to the dismal share of domestic refineries. The model is gaining credence due to its comparatively lower establishment and running costs. Compared to bigger refinery projects, the modular solution appeals more to the marginal upstream producers desiring maximisation of assets value through local refining of produced oil.

“So far, DPR has issued 22 LTE and three ATC, respectively for modular Refineries projects. The projects have cumulative potentials to boost the domestic refinery capacity by more than 671,000BPSD on completion.”

The DPR noted that Nigerian refineries are plagued with peculiar domestic challenges and are not able to produce at sub-optimal levels partly due to the increasingly aging plants.

It added that incessant disruption of crude oil and product pipelines have posed further challenges to operations.

DPR said that there is a yawning gap between domestic demand and output from the domestic refineries, clearly underscores the need for proactive policies to bridge the gaps.

The agency noted that the continued low domestic refining capacity especially poses a peculiar policy challenge, in view of expanding local market for petroleum products.

According to the DPR, growing the domestic refining capacity would reduce the dependence on foreign products, boost local content, generate new jobs and develop requisite competencies in the ancillary sectors. “It would also free the foreign exchange market from undue demand pressures of petroleum products imports,” it added.

The agency said the future of the domestic refinery sector would be greatly improved through policy consistency, secured crude oil supplies and improved infrastructure. “Government is committed to tackling all the associated challenges facing the effective development of the domestic refinery sub-sector by promoting the business-friendly environment that is capable of driving the growth that will ensure the emergence of Nigeria as a refining hub in Africa,” it added.

The Director-General of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Muda Yusuf urged the Federal Government to liberalise the downstream petroleum sector for unfettered private sector participation and investment, while ensuring that the refineries are operated as commercial business entities.He said the approach should be subjected to appropriate regulatory framework that defines the role of NNPC, while a model that would allow for a level playing field for all operators including the NNPC should be adopted.

“We have concerns over lack of clarity on the deregulation and liberalization of the sector. This policy lacuna has put many investments in the sector at risk; while many other investment decisions have been put on hold.

Oil prices continues to rise as markets eye production cuts

Oil prices rose on Tuesday, the first trading day of 2017, buoyed by hopes that a deal between OPEC and non-OPEC members to cut production would drain a global supply glut.

The deal to cut production kicked in on Sunday.

Benchmark North Sea Brent crude LCOc1 was up 40 cents at 57.22 dollars a barrel by early trading while the U.S. light crude oil CLc1 was up 40 cents at 54.12 dollars a barrel.

Oil futures markets were closed on Monday for New Year public holidays.

Jan. 1 marked the official start of a deal agreed by OPEC and other exporters such as Russia to reduce output by almost 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd).

“First signals suggest the OPEC and non-OPEC production cuts are raising hopes that the global oil oversupply will diminish,” said Hans van Cleef, Senior Energy Economist at ABN AMRO Bank N.V. in Amsterdam.

Ric Spooner, Chief Market Analyst at CMC Markets, agreed.

“Markets will be looking for anecdotal evidence for production cuts.

“The most likely scenario is OPEC and non-OPEC member countries will be committed to the deal, especially in early stages,” Spooner said.

Libya, one of two OPEC countries exempt from the output cuts, has increased its production to 685,000 bpd, from around 600,000 bpd in December, an official at the National Oil Corporation, said on Sunday.

Elsewhere, non-OPEC Middle Eastern oil producer, Oman, told customers last week that it would cut its crude oil term allocation volumes by five per cent in March.

Non-OPEC Russia’s oil production in December remained unchanged at 11.21 million bpd, near a 30-year high.

However, Russia is preparing to cut output by 300,000 bpd in the first half of 2017 in its contribution to the accord.

N1.1trillion Tax Waivers To Oil Firms A Loss To The Nation – NEITI

By granting Pioneer Status, the Federal Government has waived $2.1 billion (N1.1 trillion) to 22 oil companies through tax holiday as at 2014.

These companies are operators in the marginal field segment of the Nigerian oil and gas industry, according to the latest report from the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI).

Pioneer Status is a tax holiday incentive, designed by the Federal Government and backed by the law granted to targeted industries, products and services, designated as priority areas and growth drivers of the economy.

Some have argued that these are monies lost to government and to Nigerians in general, as these could have been ploughed back into the petroleum sector, particular the downstream infrastructure including refineries, depots, jetties, pipelines network and a host of others to improve products distribution in the country.

NEITI, the revenue watchdog, also shares this view in its 2014 Oil and Gas report, which regarded the tax waivers, as a loss of revenue to the federation, which it noted, would hamper development projects in the economy.

A copy of the report obtained by The Guardian stated that granting pioneer status to oil and gas companies has greatly undermined the optimal collection of revenue due from Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT).

The agency therefore, said that pioneer status should not be granted to any company in the oil and gas sector, unless it is evidently clear that the company is actually pioneering an aspect of the industry in the country.

It therefore, called for a “Regular review of the pioneer status to discover some of the companies granted tax waivers that had outgrown pioneer status.

“A coordinating desk should be established in the Ministry of Finance for all the agencies that process tax incentives while the final approval for tax waivers should be issued by the Minister of Finance,” it stated.

Speaking recently on the benefits of pioneer status, Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc’s Chief Executive, Austin Avuru, noted that the grant of pioneer status made it possible for the company to boost oil and gas production, provide employment opportunities, impact on their communities and help grow the Nigerian economy.

At the presentation of report by the Tax Justice and Governance Platform, tagged: “Pioneer Status in Oil and Gas Industry; Is It Worth It?,” discussants argued that the pioneer status given to oil and gas companies was not worth it, noting that as long as these companies are making profit, they will be adding little or nothing to the development of the nation.

The group urged the National Assembly to monitor the action of government agencies in granting tax incentive. “The FIRS should ensure that PS beneficiaries file tax returns annually with sanction imposed on defaulters. NIPC capacity in monitoring pioneer companies should be strengthened, while removing matured companies from the pioneer status list. Government should sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with marginal field operators on the establishment of guaranteed margins for the companies.”

Explaining the benefits of pioneer status to companies, the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC) said in a document on “Investing in Nigeria,” that the grant of Pioneer Status to an industry is aimed at enabling the industry concerned to make a reasonable level of profit within its formative years.

It noted that the profit so made is expected to be ploughed back into the business.

The Agency stated: “Pioneer status is a tax holiday granted to qualified or (eligible) industries anywhere in the Federation and five-year tax holiday in respect of industries located in economically disadvantaged local government area of the Federation. At the moment, there is a list of 71 approved industries declared pioneer industries, which can benefit from tax holiday.

“To qualify, a joint venture company or a wholly foreign-owned company must have a minimum share capital of N10 million and incurred a capital expenditure of not less than N5million, whilst that of qualified indigenous company should not be less than N150,000.00. In addition, an application in respect of Pioneer Status must be submitted within one year the applicant’s company starts commercial production otherwise the application will be time-barred.”

Malabu Oil Deal: EFCC Launches Manhunt For Dan Etete.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has launched a manhunt for a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Dan Etete, who was charged with money laundering and fraud in Italy and Nigeria.

Sources within the EFCC told disclosed that the suspect, who was accused of perpetrating a $1.1bn fraud through his company, Malabu Oil & Gas Limited, had allegedly rendered himself incommunicado, making it difficult for the EFCC to serve him with court papers.

A senior detective at the EFCC said, “We have been trying to contact Etete, but from all indications, he seems to be on the run. Now that he has been charged in an Italian court, the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation will coordinate with the Italian government.

“We have transferred the Malabu fraud case to the AGF and he will decide on the next line of action. It is doubtful that he is in Nigeria, but we will continue to look for him.

“Since he is under investigation in the United Kingdom, Italy and the United States, he will not be able to hide. All the relevant security agencies will join hands in finding him.”

It was learnt that Etete’s alleged accomplice, Abubakar Aliyu, who the Italian authorities said was a front for former President Goodluck Jonathan, would face extradition hearing soon.

Aliyu, who is the Chairman of A.A Group, was declared wanted by Italian authorities. It, however, remains unclear if Jonathan will also be invited for questioning in Italy.

The Malabu scam, described as one of the most fraudulent oil deals in the world, involved the payment of $1.1bn by oil giants, Shell and Eni, to the Federal Government accounts in 2011 for OPL 245, said to hold reserves of about 9.23 billion barrels of oil.

The OPL 245 was alleged to have been bought by Etete under questionable circumstances in 1998 when he was the minister of petroleum. Etete was said to have bought it for a fraction of its actual value. However, the oil licence was revoked by the President Olusegun Obasanjo administration.

During the administration of Jonathan in 2011, the then AGF, Mohammed Adoke, brokered a deal for the sale of the same oil bloc, acting as a middleman between Shell and Eni on the one hand, and Etete’s company, Malabu, on the other hand.

Shell and Eni were said to have paid about $1.3bn for the OPL 245, which was paid into two escrow accounts owned by the Federal Government. However, Adoke was alleged to have transferred over $800m to Etete who, in turn, transferred over $500m to Aliyu, Jonathan’s alleged front.

Prosecutors in the UK had previously alleged that $523m of Shell and Eni’s payment went to alleged “fronts for former President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria” as part of a deal that was effectively a “smash and grab” on Nigeria.

The UK authorities froze $85m in Etete’s bank account while $170m was frozen in its Switzerland account.

Justice Edis of the Southwark Crown Court in London had, last year, described the Malabu scam as questionable, accusing Jonathan of not doing enough to protect the interest of Nigeria.

According to the judge, evidence from the US authorities presented to the court “shows payments following circuitous routes, which totaled $523m, and arrived at Abubakar Aliyu, aka ‘Mr. Corruption’… Aliyu’s companies are allegedly fronts for President Goodluck Jonathan.”

Justice Edis said, “The suggestion from the wiretaps is that ‘Fortunato’ was implicated and I am told that this was a reference in code (not subtle) to the former President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan. Aliyu is said to be associated with him and Aliyu received, in a way which was not transparent, $523m of the money paid for the OPL 245 licence in August 2011.”

Should Etete and others be found guilty of fraud in Italy, they risk spending 12 years in jail.

Oil giants, Shell and Eni, as well as some executives of the companies, are set to be arraigned in a Milan court.

Osinbajo: Niger Delta is where we get most of the money

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo says the oil rich Niger Delta region is where Nigeria gets most of its money.

Speaking on Thursday when he paid an unscheduled visit to the Mpape artisans’ village in Abuja, Osinbajo highlighted the resurgence of militancy in the region as one of the major challenges confronting this government.

He admitted that the pace of the current administration is slow, but said progress had been made.

Osinbajo also blamed the economic crisis on the “damages of the past”.

He told his audience of government’s plan to develop small and medium scale enterprises, and to also create sustainable jobs.

Osinbajo was accompanied by Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture.

“We are progressing but it is slow and the reason why it is slow is because there have been a lot of damages in the past,” he said.

“For instance, look at what is happening in the Niger Delta; that is where we get most of the money.

“But when the boys in the Niger Delta decided in blowing up the pipelines, production dropped from the two million barrels per day that we used to do to one million per day and we lost 60 per cent of what we used to earn from oil, that is partly responsible for the problem that you see today.

“We are trying to deal with the problem in the Niger Delta, address farming, industry and the economy so that this problem you are talking about will be fixed permanently.”

He urged the artisans not to despair, saying the government remained focused on improving key sectors that would revive the economy and create jobs for them and other Nigerians.

Malabu Oil Scam: “I’ll make myself available for trial”, says Adoke.

Mohammed Adoke, former attorney-general of the federation (AGF), says he will defend himself against the allegations of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over his alleged role in the Malabu oil scam.

Adoke is accused of receiving over $800 million from the federation account as his benefit from the deal.

But in a statement, Adoke said the money laundering charge preferred against him by the EFCC was an attempt to “bring me to public disrepute in order to satisfy the whims and caprices of some powerful interests on revenge mission”.

He said he acted on the authority of former President Goodluck Jonathan to broker a settlement between Malabu Oil & Gas Limited and Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited.

“My attention has been drawn to the charges filed by the EFCC against me and other named individuals and companies in respect of OPL 245 Settlement Agreement involving Malabu Oil & Gas Limited and Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited,” he said.

“I wish to reiterate that I acted within the actual and ostensible authority of the office I occupied to broker a settlement between Malabu Oil & Gas Limited and Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited in order to ward off the over US$2 Billion Dollars liability in damages for breach of contract which the country would have been exposed to in the likely event of the success of Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited’s claim before the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).

“The terms of settlement ensured that the interests of the federal government of Nigeria, Malabu Oil & Gas Limited and Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited were duly acknowledged and provided for in the settlement agreement.

“The federal government of Nigeria was entitled to the signature bonus which was duly paid; Malabu Oil & Gas Limited surrendered its title to OPL 245 for a consideration and Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited was re-allocated OPL 245 which its had previously substantially de-risked in consideration for withdrawing their over US$ 2 billion dollars claim for breach of contract against the federal government of Nigeria.

“Since the parties aforementioned, faithfully discharged their respective obligations under the settlement agreement, one cannot comprehend how the office of the attorney-general of the federation which brokered the settlement was expected to renege from the agreement by denying Malabu Oil & Gas Limited the benefits associated with the relinquishing of their title to OPL 245 already warehoused in a joint FGN/Shell Escrow account, or to prevent the subsequent re-allocation of the relinquished OPL 245 to Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited when the company  had already furnished consideration for it to the Federal Government of Nigeria.”

He denied benefiting from the settlement agreement between Malabu Oil & Gas Limited and Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited in OPL 245.

“I did not take any benefit from it, I had requisite approvals from the president and commander in chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to broker the settlement and execute the OPL 245 settlement agreement,” he said.

“I am therefore unable to rationalise the charge of aiding the commission of money laundering offences preferred against me by the EFCC.  But be that as it may, I hope to at the appropriate time make myself available to defend the charge for what whatever its worth.”

Nigeria lost over N1.5Tr to attacks by Niger Delta militants, oil vandals in 2016 – NPDC

The Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, NPDC, lost N1.5 trillion due to attacks on its facilities in 2016, an official has said.

Maikanti Baru, the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, stated this on Wednesday.

In a statement ?signed by Ndu Ughamadu, Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Mr. Baru said that the exploration and production subsidiary of the corporation lost the amount due to attacks on its facilities from January till date.

Mr. Baru disclosed this when he declared open the 2016 NNPC Security Awareness week with the theme:? “NNPC Security: A Task for All Stakeholders”.

He ?lamented the rising spate of criminality in the society at large and in the oil and gas industry in particular leading to loss of much needed revenue.

”At industry level, we are all conversant with the seriousness and frequency with which national assets in form of pipelines, flow stations are vandalised and crude oil and white products stolen with impunity.?

”In 2016, January to date for example, NPDC alone recorded 59 security incidents resulting in crude production shut down/deferment and revenue loss of over N1.5 trillion,” he said.?

PREMIUM TIMES reported several such attacks, most carried out by the Niger Delta Avengers, an armed group in the oil producing region. The attacks reduced Nigeria’s oil production and export by about 50 per cent and also affect power generation as gas supply to power plants for cut.

Mr. Baru urged all Nigerians to do everything possible to help protect national assets, adding that governments at various levels were working to fight criminality.

He assured staff that security was a focal point off his administration and that success could only be achieved when all stakeholders imbibed the consciousness that security was a task for everyone.

”At corporate level, you are all aware that the first item on my 12 Focus Areas is security.

”This is in recognition of the imperative that without assurances of safety, NNPC, the oil and gas industry, and indeed the country cannot achieve appreciable growth to assure citizens of decent and productive lives,” he said.

Mr. Baru also launched the Corporation’s Kidnap for Ransom Policy to raise staff awareness on the need to avoid actions that predispose them to being kidnapped, especially at a time like this when kidnapping for ransom had become rampant.

He charged all staff to participate actively in the activities of the Security Awareness Week to imbibe ideas that could help them not only on personal security but also on the protection of national assets.

UPDATE: PENGASSAN shuts down Lagos Exxonmobil Office, promises to shutdown more.

As reported by Omojuwa.Com yesterday, the Lagos office of Oil & Gas giant, ExxonMobil was shutdown by PENGASSAN members over arbitrary sack of its employees who are Nigerian citizens.


Further investigations carried out by Omojuwa.Com revealed that the feud has actually just begun as the PENGASSAN in a statement made available by the Lagos Branch Secretary, Abel Nwobodo revealed that plans are underway to withdraw their services totally from all operating locations by Midday Thursday (15 Dec).


In his statement, Mr Abel Nwobodo thanked his comrades for a successful shutdown of the ExxonMobil Lagos office and also promised more necessary and justified actions will be taken to drive home their points.


Below is the full statement issued to all PENGASSAN members by the Branch Secretary:


Comrades, We thank you for your camaraderie today from all our locations. We have started very well. The plan is to increase the tempo from tomorrow morning -15 Dec. 2016.


The plan is to withdraw our services totally from all our operating locations by Midday tomorrow (15 Dec). The secretariat will keep you informed and updated as we arrive at that threshold.


Please, all should endeavor to be at the office early tomorrow morning. Injury to one, is an injury to all!


Esteemed Regards


Abel Nwobodo

Branch Secretary


NNPC doesn’t know how many oil blocs Nigeria has — COO

The Chief Operating Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation set tongues wagging when he revealed to the House of Representatives that he did not know the number of oil blocks Nigeria has.


Bello Rabiu appeared before the House committee investigating the controversial Malabu oil deal and OPL 245 on Tuesday afternoon.


After telling the committee that the NNPC was not directly involved in the controversial deal, Mr. Rabiu was asked to give details of Nigeria’s oil fields.


Razak Atunwa, the chairman of the committee, said he posed the question because he believed it would help lawmakers to determine Nigeria’s oil revenue prospects amidst the lingering financial crisis.


“I don’t know the answer to that question,” Mr. Rabiu said.


Mr. Rabiu said statistics about oil prospecting licences and oil mining licences were not kept with the NNPC, but the Department of Petroleum Resources and directed lawmakers to contact the department for the information.


Mr. Rabiu also told the committee that the NNPC Act gave the Minister of Petroleum the absolute power to exercise discretion on award of oil licences.


“The NNPC Act, even till today, clearly stated that the minister can award oil exploration licences at his discretion,” Mr. Rabiu said.


The licence for the OPL 245 oil field was awarded to Malabu Oil and Gas Ltd. in April 1998 by a former Minister of Petroleum, Dan Etete. The oil firm was later traced to the minister.

Oil prices hit $58 – highest in 17 months

Oil prices shot up over four percent to their highest level since 2015 early on Monday after OPEC and other producers over the weekend in Vienna reached first output cut deal since 2001.

They jointly reduced output in order to rein in oversupply and prop up the market.

Brent sweet crude futures, the international benchmark for oil prices, soared to $57.89 per barrel in overnight trading between Sunday and Monday, its highest level since July 2015.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures also hit a July 2015 high of $54.51 a barrel.

With the deal finally signed after a year,the market’s focus will now switch to compliance with the agreement.

ANZ bank said that Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia’s state-controlled oil company, had informed customers that their allocations would be reduced in January 2017, in line with the recent OPEC production cut agreement.”

OPEC has said it will slash output by 1.2 million barrels per day from January 1, with top exporter Saudi Arabia cutting around 486,000 bpd in a bid to end overproduction .

Oversupply has dogged markets for over two years and pushed the economies of many oil exporting countries into crisis.

On Saturday, producers from outside the 13-country OPEC group agreed to reduce output by 558,000 bpd, short of the initial target of 600,000 bpd .

Ibe Kachikwu, Nigeria’s minister of petroleum, had said the healthy oil price would be mid-50s: 54, 55, 56.

“I mean, if we have a Santa Claus day, then 60. But frankly, looking more to mid-50s,” he had said.

JUST IN: Non-OPEC states agree to oil cut – first in 15 years

The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has been joined by non member states, thus, recording the first OPEC and non-OPEC oil deal since 2001.


Russia, one of the leading non-OPEC producers, with a number of oil producing countries, agreed to a deal in Vienna, Austria on Saturday afternoon.


The deal is expected to see a cut of about 600,000 barrels of oil a day from non-OPEC states, which would further push the price of oil to a record 2016 high.


The details of the deal would be made available to the media later on Saturday.


More to  follow…

Oil prices rise ahead of meeting of OPEC and non-OPEC producers

Oil prices extended gains on Friday on optimism that non-OPEC producers would agree to cut output following a cartel agreement to limit production.


The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will meet non-OPEC nations in Vienna on Saturday to seek their help in curbing a global supply glut.


Azerbaijan already said it would come to the Austrian capital armed with proposals for its own reduction.


Brent sweet crude for February delivery was up 17 cents at $54.06 a barrel after settling up 1.7 per cent on Thursday.


The contract hit its highest since July 2015 at $55.33 on Monday.


NYMEX crude for January delivery was up 33 cents at $51.17 a barrel.


Russia has said it would cut 300,000 barrels per day, meaning other non-OPEC producers combined would need to pledge the same amount to lower output by the 600,000 bpd.

Udoma Udo Udoma: Nigeria needs oil to get out of oil-propelled economy

Udoma Udo Udoma, minister of budget and national planning, says Nigeria needs revenue from crude oil to diversify its economy.

In a statement issued by Akpandem James, his media aide, on Thursday, the minister said the country’s immediate priority was to get oil production output back to the desired level to secure revenue needed to diversify the economy.

He told the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) regional director for Africa, Abdoulaye Mar Deiye, in Abuja, that “although the country is focused on diversification of its economy, it needs oil to get out of the oil-propelled economy”.

He explained that though the global slump in oil prices introduced some shocks that affected the country’s economy, the immediate reason for the slump into recession was the massive reduction in output caused by militancy in the oil-bearing Niger Delta region.

While exploring a number of engagements that would ensure the return of normal production activities in the region, Udoma said government was intensely focused on a long term economic agenda that would ensure sustainable economic growth and development.

He also briefed the visiting UNDP regional director on the National Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (NERGP) that is currently being finalised by the federal government.

Her acknowledged the support of the UNDP, particularly in the area of technical assistance, including capacity building and the humanitarian situation in the northeast.

In his response, Deiye expressed delight that the ministry of budget and national planning was given the coordinating role of the situation in the northeast and indicated the UNDP’s willingness to support the ministry to ensure success in its defined goals.

He said UNDP was aware of the current complexity of the situation in Nigeria, particularly with respect to the security challenges and the oil price collapse, stating that the fall in oil price which is the country’s main source of revenue had also affected budget implementation.

Despite these challenges, he acknowledged that Nigeria still remains the largest economy in Africa.

NUPENG threatens to embark on industrial action

The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) says it will embark on a three-day warning strike if oil and gas companies fail to address workers’ welfare.

Igwe Achese, president of the union, disclosed this in a statement signed in Lagos.

Achese said the union had given the federal government a 21-day ultimatum to intervene in labour issues involving multinationals operating in the oil and gas sector.

He said among contending issues was the non-payment of terminal benefits to 48 contract staff.

Achese said 250 staff whose contract was terminated by the Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC) in Lagos and Port Harcourt, were not paid.

He said Exxon Mobil refused to reinstate over 200 NUPENG members sacked.

“There are also the issues of closure of Chevron’s Eastern Operations through divestment and refusal to discuss the redundancy terms,” he said.

“Chevron refused to facilitate the formation of Chevron labour Contractors Forum to interface with NUPENG.”

Achese alleged that another oil company reneged on the communiqué signed with the union on settling the severance benefits of its members working in the companies.

He said the union had yet to resolve issues with Pan Ocean over non-implementation of salary increase for its members since 2014.

The NUPENG president said the three-day warning strike would become full if the government did not intervene on the issues.

Senate to pass Petroleum Industry Bill in tranches – Saraki

The President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, says Senate will pass the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, PIGB, in tranches as a way out of its non-passage for the past eight years.

Mr. Saraki made this known at a three-day Public Hearing on the PIGB organised by the Senate joint Committee on the bill on Wednesday in Abuja.

He said the passage of the bill in tranches was necessitated by the need to unbundle its contents into manageable compartments that could be implemented in phases.

Mr. Saraki noted that the Senate was set to pass the first tranche of the bill, while putting measures in place for the passage of other tranches.

He added that the passage of the first tranche would further tackle persistent problems associated with fiscal framework and host communities.

“This public hearing is another avenue for us to hear from the operators, regulators, experts and other stakeholders in the industry on how to move the industry forward.

“We want to move away from the way things were done in the past during the consideration of such bills, especially fiscal framework and host communities.

“We will push for greater partnership so that the bill will be a win-win for everyone; one that works for government, attractive to oil companies and takes into consideration concerns of the host communities.

“We will also tackle the issues of downstream, gas and environment. We are poised and resolved to deal with all issues related to the industry, albeit in tranches.

“As a nation we cannot afford any further delay in our effort to reform our oil and gas industry.

“The journey begins now and I assure you that we will guarantee that all of these bills are passed in record time,” he said.

Mr. Saraki expressed concern that though the petroleum industry contributed over 90 per cent of the country’s foreign exchange earnings, existing legal, regulatory and institutional structures in the industry were out-dated.

He noted that the sector had performed below expectations, adding that the development had led to the Federal Government and investors losing significant edge in the oil and gas investment trends.

According to him, it is unacceptable that till date, Nigeria still imports over 90 per cent of needed petroleum products, flares substantial gas produced, damages the eco-system and pollutes host communities.

The senate president added that in spite of Nigeria’s might in the sector, it could not supply adequate electricity to individual homes and industries.

“This situation has undermined our citizen’s standard of living, life expectancy, national energy security.

“It has therefore resulted in other unforeseen fallouts like labour unrest, fuel queues, high cost of delivery of products and unquantifiable wastage of national productivity.

“The oil and gas industry is yearning for good governance, competitiveness, transparency, indigenous participation and accountability,” Mr. Saraki said.

He assured that the bill would be passed in record time.

The Chairman of the joint committee, Omotayo Alasoadura, said if Nigeria must get out of the present recession, the petroleum industry must be made efficient and more profit-oriented.

He said it was therefore expedient to pass the bill to reposition the industry.

Mr. Alasoadura said: “It is in this spirit that we are beginning today the journey of consultation with stakeholders in the match towards passing the bill.”

The public hearing ends on Friday.

Oil hits $55.33 high in buying rush after OPEC agreement

Crude rose above $55 a barrel as rising prospects of a tightening market after last week’s OPEC landmark deal to cut production has given speculators impetus to increase bets on higher prices.

Monday’s gains took the rally since the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ agreement was struck on Wednesday to 19 per cent for Brent and 16 percent for U.S. crude.

Last week’s 12.2 per cent increase was the largest one-week rise since February 2011.

“OPEC sentiment continues to support oil markets,” said Hans van Cleef, senior energy economist at ABN Amro in Amsterdam. “Speculative short positions are still at elevated levels and as more traders unwind these positions they could trigger more support for oil prices.”

Brent crude rose to hit 55.33 dollars, its highest since July 2015.

U.S. crude West Texas Intermediate (WTI) traded at a peak point for the day of 52.42 dollars, also the highest since July 2015.

About 380,483 lots of the front-month contract were traded some 57 per cent of the previous session’s volume.

Weekly data from the InterContinental Exchange on Monday showed investors had raised net long positions on Brent to the highest level in four weeks.

After OPEC agreed to curb production by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) from January, eyes have now turned to a meeting this weekend between OPEC and non-OPEC producers to expand the deal.

Non-OPEC producers are expected to agree to add an output cut of 600,000 bpd in Vienna on Dec. 10.

Iran, which was granted an output rise as part of the OPEC deal as it recovers production curbed by sanctions, will also attend the meeting, media said.

Bourgeoning Cabals In The Oil Downstream Sector: Why President Buhari Must Act Now By Dayo Williams

Since agriculture was advertently or inadvertently side-lined by successive Nigerian governments, most especially when the commercial production of crude oil started in the 1950s, the petroleum sector has been the mainstay of the nation’s economy till today.

In spite of the claims of diversification of the economy by various governments at one time or the other, crude oil remains the main generator of the country’s revenue.

Regrettably, this all-important sector of the economy has been dominated and hijacked by some inglorious cabals who have been feeding large on the weak institutions in the sector from time immemorial.

From the information available to this writer, successive governments have tried to checkmate the nefarious activities of these cabals, but it appears each time the government tries, the cabals always map out new strategies to beat the government. In summary, they are always ahead of the government.

The cabals in the downstream sector could be likened to the proverbial cat with nine lives. The downstream sector has always been in coma even though government always strives to ‘’inject life into a sector that is being dragged back,’’ an independent marketer, who pleaded anonymity for fear of being attacked by the cabals, confided in this writer in the course of gathering information for this piece.

He said: ‘’The efforts of the current government of President Muhammadu Buhari must be applauded, but there is an urgent need to intimate the government on the new way the cabals are thwarting and frustrating the genuine efforts of government at restoring sanity to the hitherto derelict downstream sector that is notoriously known for its corruption, and less popular for playing its expected role of making quality petroleum products available to all Nigerians.”

Still, he asserted: “Although, whenever there is fuel scarcity in Nigeria, members of the public tend to blame the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN). It is true that we control about 85 per cent of petroleum outlets across the country; it is always our desire to make petroleum products available because that is the only time we make profit. We do not make profit when the products are not available.’’

He said that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), in collaboration with some cabals in the industry, always wants to create artificial scarcity because ‘’the more the product is scarce, the more the kickback accruable to them.”

Another independent oil marketer, who has been a key player in the downstream sector for decades, said that inasmuch as members of IPMAN are ready to cooperate and support the anti-corruption efforts of the federal government, the government should not be oblivious of certain realities in the sector.

He decried the spate of corruption in the sector and predicted looming scarcity of petroleum products by December this year, if government did not take adequate measures. According to him, “we have to be fair to the government of President Buhari; he has brought relative sanity to the sector. However, the government needs to know that there are some ‘big boys’ in the sector that are still working tirelessly to sabotage the efforts of the government.”

Continuing, he said: “sometime in March, 2016, the NNPC unilaterally and for unfathomable reasons, abruptly withdrew the status of some independent oil marketers through an internal circular but, however, reserved the status for only major marketers and few independent credit oil marketers.”

Based on my findings, in the past, government used to provide credit facilities to independent petroleum marketers with stringent conditions, but the NNPC, through its internal memorandum, has abolished these arrangements and replaced it with a draconian arrangement which favours only the few but powerful oil cabals.

The independent marketer said the decision by the management of NNPC was such that the major marketers and the other few independent marketers, who are beneficiaries of the new draconian policy of the NNPC,  are given monopolistic right over petroleum products marketing in the country, saying ‘’the cabals are re-strategizing, in flagrant connivance with some bad eggs in the NNPC.’’

“There is imminent scarcity of petroleum products. Christmas is around the corner and the cabals are working hard to create artificial scarcity in order to give this government a bad name. The sufferings and the pains of the masses are their gains. The cabals in the downstream sector are used to free lunch and the day subsidy was removed was the day this free lunch was taken away from them.”

“Ironically, the NNPC claims that it wants to open-up the market but this market is only open to few cabals. How can the NNPC open-up the market by according credit right to few major marketers? I have over 40 distribution outlets across the country and about 1000 Nigerians make their livelihood from my chain of distribution. For over 20 years, we have never defaulted our credit status. One of my distribution outlets in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, requires a full tank on a daily basis to service our customers. A tank is over 30,000 litres. In all, we require 7 tanks to meet up with the weekly demands of our customers. And for weeks, we have not had supply and this is what the cabals really want. They want queues to return to our filling station, the independent marketer said.

“For weeks, my distribution outlets that service thousands of Nigerians do not have petroleum products. The era of scarcity is gradually returning. Christmas season is fast approaching. The government must act fast,” an independent marketer warned, in a phone exchange with me.

“Although the NNPC claims that it has withdrawn credit sales to all oil marketers across the country, but there are strong indications that the corporation has hand-picked major marketers and few independent oil marketers and accorded them the right to access credits from the government. By according credit right to few oil marketers, the NNPC is perpetrating the monopoly it claims to have curtailed,” he said resignedly.

How Nigeria can benefit from OPEC’s 1.2 million barrels oil cut

Following OPEC’s decision on Wednesday, Nigeria can, in the next one year starting January 1, 2017, pursue programmes aimed at increasing its crude oil production capacity and growing national reserves and exports.

Although pipeline vandalism reduced daily production, sometimes to as low as 1.4 million barrels, Nigeria’s daily production averages about 2.1 million barrels. The country’s aspiration has been to raise that level to about 2.3 million barrels and build national reserves of about 30 billion barrels.

These are some of the benefits the country stands to gain as one of the three countries – out of the 14-member Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC – granted special concessions from the group’s decision on Wednesday to cut crude oil production by about 1.2 million barrels per day, effective January 1, 2017.

OPEC President, Mohammed Al-Sada, explained that the output cut resolution, which would be binding for the first six months, was subject to a review for another six months, based on the recommendation of the special ministerial committee constituted to monitor compliance by members.

By virtue of the special concession granted during the 171st conference of the group in Vienna, Austria on Wednesday, Nigeria and Libya were completely exempted based on the peculiar circumstances in their countries, while Iran was given partial exemption of the cut.

The gesture, Mr. Al-Sada explained, would enable Nigeria recover from the negative impact of incessant attacks on its oil facilities by armed militant groups in the Niger Delta region, which resulted in a massive cut in its production and exports capacities.

He said Libya was equally granted the special concession following series of attacks on its oil facilities by terrorists groups operating in that region in recent months.

Iran was granted limited concession to allow settle down and recover, after serving years of U.S.-imposed sanctions, including restrictions on its oil production and exports.

The other country not affected by the cut, the first in about eight attempts since 2008, would be Indonesia, which recently opted to suspend its membership of the group till further notice.

Details of the impact of the cut, according to OPEC Secretariat figures, showed that Nigeria and Libya would maintain their pre-October production levels of 2.1 million barrels per day and about 670,000 barrels per day respectively prior to Wednesday’s meeting.

Iran is to cut about 90,000 barrels from its daily reference output of 3.975 million barrels; Algeria, 50,000 BPD from 1.089 barrels; Angola, 80,000 barrels from 1,753 barrels; Ecuador, 26,000 barrels from 548,000 barrels; Gabon, 9,000 barrels from 202,000 barrels and Iraq, 210,000 barrels from 4.561 million barrels.

Other adjustments include Kuwait, 131,000 barrels from 2.838 million barrels; Qatar, 30,000 barrels from 648,000 barrels; United Arab Emirate, 139,000 barrels from 3.013 million barrels and Venezuela, 95,000 barrels from 2.067 million barrels.

The biggest adjustment was to Saudi Arabia, whose 10.544 million barrels daily output would be cut by about 486,000 barrels.

With this arrangement, analysts say Nigeria, which has, for several months, been devastated by a combination of an economy in recession as a result of decline in global oil prices and low oil export earnings following disruptions to oil export facilities, would takes advantage of the concession to recover.

Hours after OPEC announced its resolution on Wednesday, the price of Brent crude, Nigeria’s crude oil blend, jumped by about 8.26 percent, from $46.38 per barrel to about $50.21.

Close followers of the Nigerian situation say the rise in crude oil prices on the heels of OPEC decision was welcome news, particularly to the government in dire need of more revenue to pursue its ambitious infrastructure development programme to provide a solid foundation for economic growth.

Under the ‘seven-big wins’ initiative launched recently, the federal government outlined plans to swiftly increase the country’s daily crude oil production capacity to about 2.3 million barrels and grow national reserves to about 30 billion barrels.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, recently announced the signing of an agreement on behalf of the federal government for a $15 billion oil and gas investment package with India to bolster Nigeria’s oil crude production.



Nigeria, two others get special concessions as OPEC agrees to cut oil output.

Nigeria, Iran and Libya got special concessions Wednesday, as the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, reached the much-sought consensus to cut oil production by 1.2 million barrels per day, effective January 1, 2017.

The cut, which is the first after eight previous attempts since 2008, is considered a massive boost to efforts by the global oil cartel to shore up oil prices and end a record glut that has paralyzed economies.

It is also seen as a major achievement by OPEC’s Secretary General, Nigeria’s Mohammad Barkindo, whose diplomatic shuttles since assumption of office in August, led to the “Algiers Accord” that sought to stabilize the market and boost price.

OPEC President, Mohammed Al-Sada, who announced the resolution on Wednesday at the end of the body’s 171st meeting in Vienna, Austria, said the adjustment in output would be shared among all members of the group, to bring their ceiling to 52.5 million barrels per day.

The cut is subject to a review after six months, with a possible rollover for another six months on the recommendation of a ministerial monitoring committee of three OPEC counties, namely Kuwait, Venezuela and Algeria. The countries are to closely monitor the implementation and compliance with the agreement.

Mr. Al-Sada, who is also Qatar’s Minister of Energy and Industry, said the latest output cut was subject to another 600,000 barrels expected to be cut by non-OPEC oil producers who have agreed to support the effort to re-balance the market and restore stability.

The OPEC president said the Russian Federation has agreed to take responsibility for about 300,000 barrels per day out of the non-OPEC volume, with final decision expected during a December 9 meeting in Dorha.

The 1.2 million BPD cut followed an agreement by members to implement a deal proposed during the last September meeting in Algiers to reduce crude oil production by at least one million barrels by November.

During the September resolution, three countries, namely Nigeria, Iran and Libya were proposed as candidates for exemptions in consideration of their peculiar circumstances.

Nigeria was recommended for exemption to enable it recover from the negative impact of incessant attacks on its oil facilities by armed militant groups in the Niger Delta region, which resulted in a massive cut in its production and exports capacities.

Libya was equally proposed for special consideration on similar grounds, following series of attacks on its oil facilities by terrorists groups operating in that region in recent months.

But, Iran was to be excluded to allow the country settle down and recover, after serving years of U.S.-imposed sanctions, including restrictions on its oil production and exports.

Although details of each country’s output adjustments were yet to be released by the OPEC secretariat, Mr. Al-Sada said Saudi Arabia, the group’s biggest producer, agreed to the biggest slice of about 486,000 BPD.

At the opening session, OPEC President, Mohammed Al-Sada, said the current situation in the global oil market required urgency in “bringing forward the re-balancing of the fundamentals and returning sustainable stability to the market.”

He said members considered all factors and processes in arriving at the decision, which he said would ultimately help revive the industry and boost reinvestment efforts to raise oil production capacity to secure the mid to long term security of supply

“We knew re-balancing the market will need courageous decisions from OPEC, with the support of some key non-OPEC countries. We agreed to share the reduction among OPEC countries, taking into consideration that some countries needed to be given special considerations because of their peculiar circumstances,” he explained.

The monitoring committee is expected to submit a report to the next meeting of the group scheduled for May 25, 2017.

“This a major step forward to re-balance the market and reduce the stock overhang, will be fair to both consumers and suppliers and ensure that the economy is moved to a healthier level of inflation and growth,” Mr. Al-Sada said.

Oil resumes rise after OPEC cut.

Oil prices resumed their rise Thursday and held above the $50 barrier following OPEC’s decision to carry out its first output cut in eight years.


The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries at a meeting in Vienna on Wednesday agreed on specific targets to enact a preliminary deal struck in September designed to ease a global crude supply glut and boost prices.


Many analysts had expected the producers’ cartel to fail to reach a deal as major players like Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia remained divided ahead of the meeting.


Crude futures prices surged more than 10 percent immediately after the OPEC deal.


At 0630 GMT Thursday, after a brief dip in early Asian trade, US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for January delivery was up 70 cents or 1.42 percent at $50.14, while Brent crude for February was 81 cents or 1.6 percent higher at $52.65.


“Not only had hopes of higher prices been realised, the reputation of the OPEC has also been salvaged, prompting the surge,” said Jingyi Pan, market strategist at IG in Singapore.


“Sceptics have now placed their focus on the implementation of the OPEC deal where Saudi Arabia will be shouldering the bulk of the cut.”


The 14-member OPEC agreed to lower its monthly output by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) to 32.5 million bpd from January 1.


Qatar’s Energy Minister Mohammed Bin Saleh Al-Sada said non-member Russia committed to reducing its output by 300,000 bpd, half of a hoped-for 600,000 bpd reduction from outside the organisation.


Prices had fallen to near 13-year lows of below $30 a barrel in February from peaks of more than $100 in June 2014 largely due to an oversupplied market outpacing demand.

REVEALED: Pastor Oritsejafor linked to sponsorship of Niger Delta Avengers [NAIJ]

TaShawn, a wife to Bolaino Akwenuke (a warlord/close associate of Tompolo) visited Warri, Delta state, last December with intentions to do mission work in villages affected by the spills. TaShawn spent four months there and was unable to do anything due to high crime in the areas. Recently, she speaks with Bolaino Akwenuke on the current situation in the oil-rich region, which has been constantly suffering from the attacks of the militants.
Mr Akwenuke denied that former Niger Delta warlord Chief Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, is supporting the activities of the militants. Instead, he claimed that the sponsor of the Niger Delta Avengers is Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor. Akwenuke also speaks about the role of Pastor Ayo in the Dasukigate and government of Muhammadu Buhari.
In life, you never know who you will meet. I say this while reflecting upon my decision to visit Nigeria last December 2015. I would have never imagined I would stumble into a man who is part of a situation that can impact so many lives in a negative or positive way depending on how this story plays out. When I arrived at the airport In Lagos last year I was escorted by the kindest man I had ever met. My travel itinerary contained plans of travel to Warri and then to visit rivers area of Delta state to help victims affected by the oil spills.
We made it Warri but we never reached the rivers area due to high crime, military action and oil pipeline and facility bombings. At the time the incidents were being blamed on Tompolo; I know this because while there I became interested in Nigerian news and we would read the local papers daily. What I did not know is the extent of involvement my host played in the situation. Nor did I know that his involvement would lead to my own.
Fast forwarding to today and here we are: bombings still occurring in the Delta region, Tompolo still being framed, and me assisting Akwenuke Bolaino Marho, the nice man who met me at the airport in Lagos December 2015, to tell his story of involvement; not only how he is involved but also to disclose the real culprit behind the Shell and Chevron Texaco oil facility bombings. In one of the most recent conversations that I and Bolaino have had he mentioned that tribal tension had been on the rise and if things continued than his tribe the Urhobo and the Ijaw tribe, for which Tompolo belongs to may fight each other. As I asked him why the conversation proceeded and this is what ensued:
TaShawn: So why will your tribe (Urhobo) fight the Ijaws?
Bolaino: They are trying to frame me up, I will not fold my hands and allow people kill Americans and blame it on my organization. The only thing that will solve all this is if that pastor is arrested. Ijaw and Urhobo people are killing each other more each day in the villages, and the man who is responsible for this is going out to party.  Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, immediate past CAN president Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, immediate past CAN president
TaShawn: Who is this man you speak of?
Bolaino: The man is the devil incarnate himself. He succeeded in making the Itsekiri and Ijaw fight endlessly in Delta state many years ago. He succeeded then and he is succeeding again. This time around the death rate from a tribal war between Urhobo and Ijaw going the way it is already will be devastating. My parents’ house will be burnt to ashes and all houses in the area. As it is now, there is already a refugee crises as Ijaw people are moving out of my area in Udu which is an Urhobo community. Some are being harassed and assaulted, and Tompolo has told me that if all this should continue we will fight each other.
TaShawn: Do you want to fight Tompolo ?
Bolaino: No I do not want to fight, I want peace.
TaShawn: Have you told anyone else about this?
Bolaino: I have been telling everyone for the past few weeks how they want to give me a name that is not my own. From the FBI, CIA, to the State Department. My country, my Senator, my ministers, etc. but they are acting like imbecilas, as if they don’t know A from B. They are forcing my hands. I have called the Nigerian Army. DSS. All of them. I have called the minsters I know. They pick the call and pretend to listen, and tell me they will do something about it but all the while, things are escalating.
TaShawn: How has the situation escalated and you never mentioned the Pastor’s name?
Bolaino: His name is Ayo Oristsejafor. He is now moving his guns and weapons from his church to Urhobo communities to fuel tribal war. They plan on blowing up a Chevron facility and putting the blame on me and my movement (MFPND). That is why I had to go to the creeks this period to plan for this. I have written about this man, there are a lot of things he has done if there is a Satan that is who he is.
TaShawn: So why are you telling me and how do you expect these agencies to help?
Bolaino: I want you to expose this man. It is the only way to end this situation. There is evidence to put him in prison, but Nigerian people are scared of him, because he is a pastor. If you can help to expose him everything will be over.. the militancy in the region, etc.
TaShawn: What kind of evidence do you have and are you sure it will stick to him?
Bolaino: I can tell you everything if you agree to help and are willing to listen. You will need to write all of this down.
TaShawn: Alright I will do what I can to help and am ready to listen…
Bolaino: Ok, firstly, Pastor Ayo is the Chief sponsor of the militant group The Niger Delta Avengers (NDA)
TaShawn: Are you are saying that Tompolo is not the one giving the NDA orders?
Bolaino: That is exactly what am saying. He (Pastor Ayo) sponsors them by giving weapons and ammunition. He gives them targets to bomb in the Niger Delta.
TaShawn: Now Bolaino how can you allege that a Pastor is the sponsor of such a deadly group. What proof do you have of this allegation?
Bolaino: Yes we have very strong proof of his involvement in the bombings of the Niger Delta. But we will only show the evidence to incorruptible government lawyers and we are ready to stand in a competent court of law to defend our allegations. I assure you we have corroborative evidence against this man and the media can attest to its truthfulness. I want to discuss this evidence with men and women of the press.
TaShawn: Ok, what exact evidence do you have on the Pastor?
Bolaino: First and foremost the pastor uses his private aeroplane to ferry drugs and guns from America and other parts of Europe to Nigeria. He has been caught once by the Authorities, but the corrupt government of the former president of Nigeria swept it under the rug.
TaShawn: Why did the former president not apprehend the Pastor at that time he was caught?
Bolaino: The plane was purchased with money from the Government scams involving the Nigerian Army. At the time the pastor was helping with corrupt Government officials in Nigeria to launder money with his bank Eagle Flight Micro Finance Bank . They were stealing money meant for fighting insurgency in the North Eastern part of Nigeria. At the time Colonel Sambo Dasuki was in charge of ripping the army off from the inside, since he was in government at the time.
TaShawn: Please explain more in depth how these men, Dasuki and Ayo operated inside the scandal?
Bolaino: They were supposed to buy aeroplanes, weapons, and ammunition for the Nigerian Army fighting Boko Haram, but these monies were never spent on the things that were needed to be purchased.
TaShawn: Is this a factor of why Boko Haram is still at large in Northern/ Northeast Nigeria presently?
Bolaino: Yes, as a result, Boko Haram invaded the Northeast and Nigerian army men were running away from the battle field because they were not well equipped enough and they became mutinous.
TaShawn: Is that the only evidence you have?
Bolaino: No, we have more, We have evidence that he was caught once more working with Hezbollah organisation in Nigeria. They were helping him to buy weapons in South Africa when his plane was caught with over 9 million dollars. When they questioned him as to what he intended to do with that large sum of money the response was that he wanted to buy arms and ammunition from a South African defence contraction company. After the claims were investigated they were found to be false. This lead us to believe that he was preparing for secession in Nigeria if the ruling party at the time lost. Prior to that time he and others at large had tried to assassinate Mr Muhamadu Buhari, in a twin car bomb attack in Kaduna. Fortunately, Buhari survived.
TaShawn: Bolaino how did you come to learn all this information?
Bolaino: The pastor told us in an informal gathering of warlords that period that they did it because they did not want Buhari to survive; they knew that if they allowed him to contest in the election they would loose and he would win. Afterwards, the pastor came up with the “BuhariBokoHaramOp”. See at the time he was the leader of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) so he had a cult following and he still does to this day.
TaShawn: What do you mean by “he had a cult following” and exactly how did the pastor use his following to further his agenda?
Bolaino: I mean he had a mass following of pastors and their members that would do as he said with no questions asked. He started telling his pastors and their members in churches all over Nigeria that Buhari is a terrorist. That Buhari planned to Islamize Nigeria if he won. Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Tompolo Former Niger Delta warlord Tompolo
TaShawn: Since you say “we” a lot I am assuming there are witnesses other than yourself that can attest to this information you are sharing with me today?
Bolaino: Yes, we have numerous witnesses to this scandal. Myself being one of course. But Pastor Ayo and his followers did this for long, even until this day that propaganda still thrives on, hence the current disposition of my fellow warlords to Buhari. As they still honestly believe that Buhari is the sponsor of the Boko Haram. They don’t know any better otherwise. But as God would have it everything they did in trying to kill Buhari or spoil his image was in vein. At the time of the past election, it has to be mentioned that the pastor was campaigning for PDP which is the party of the former president.
TaShawn: Ok, so to back track a little you mentioned you are a warlord, but that you currently want peace; are you saying that some warlords in Nigeria are fighting for peace?
Bolaino: Yes, I am a warlord, and once again yes I and other warlords want peace to reign throughout Nigeria, as there is no reason to fight. The problem is corruption and greed. To add to my earlier information, we received word of Ayo’s involvement in the assassination attempt on Buhari in 2014 by a former Hezbollah operative we caught at sea after the act. He confessed to it before he died. That was when we started to connect the dots between him and the Hezbollah network in Delta state. After his candidate lost he sent a mole into the APC (opposing political party) in the person of Chief Ayiri Emami.
TaShawn: Who is this Chief Ayiri, what is his background and why did Pastor Ayo choose him as a mole?
Bolaino: Ayiri is known in Warri as a popular assassin and ritualist, so he was welcomed into the APC. Ayiri made sure to enter the APC two days after it was announced that his former party the PDP had lost the election. The APC being a party of Northern extraction did not fully understand the workings of the Niger Delta Politicians/ warlords. So it was from here on that the Niger Delta agitation was hijacked by Pastor Ayo and his cohorts. This is where everything started, this is where the story is today.
TaShawn: And what of Tompolo and how are you so deeply involved and knowledgable of all this information that no one else will speak of ?
Bolaino: Tompolo is a good man, a man that I owe immense gratitude to. He is the one that inspired me to join the Niger Delta struggle for resource control. He was always helping the poor and making them millionaires over night. It was strange because no one else in the region had ever done anything like it before. Although he was an outlaw when I first met him, he was given amnesty and I was not, so I began working with pastor Ayo and Ayiri.
TaShawn: Ayiri, Ayo, Tompolo and You are Warlords? Any other names I should know of that pertain to this story?
Bolaino: Ayiri is a warlord for all the Itsekiri people of Delta state. You have to also know that Pastor Ayo is also of the Itsekiri tribe, with the former Governors of the Delta state. Chief Ibori who was the first democratic governor of Delta state is half Urhobo and half Itsekiri. It was through his cousin Governor Uduaghan who is the immediate past governor of Delta state; he is also Itsekiri, and he is also the brains behind the whole NDA operation. He does the planning, strategizing etc. He is a brilliant man but he only uses his brilliance for evil. He is the evil genius behind all this and he is also the one who set Ibori up. Ibori is currently serving jail time in the UK. Ibori, his wife Nkoyo, and his sisters and lawyers are all serving time in the UK. They were all set up by the same people who are about to set me and Tompollo up. So I started working with Pastor Ayo.
TaShawn: Why is Ibori in jail?
Bolaino: There are newspaper articles to corroborate what I am saying. These things are public knowledge, well not all but some. They are deceiving the Deltans. Did you not hear of the Monseca law firm scandal? That indicted many prominent men and women of the world for tax evasion and financial crimes. Ibori is highly implicated in that scandal, as his name was released in the leaks. Google it. The British government intends on levelling new fresh charges against him.
TaShawn: Alright, now please tell me what you want the media and press to do? Especially the American press…
Bolaino: I have gone to British Media many times. They know all this but are afraid to do anything. Many people only hear my name but they do no know my face. I need to put a face to my name for the sake of peace to reign. I want you and others to take this issue very seriously, please. We want these things to be published everywhere in news in the US because what is happening now concerns them a lot. It is common knowledge that American and British companies like Shell and Texaco operate in Delta state. The Niger Delta Avengers have been blowing up Shell facilities, but they have not been blowing up much of Texaco facilities.
TaShawn: Do you know why it’s mostly the Shell facilities being bombed?
Bolaino: Good question, yes I do. Shell operates in the Ijaw part of the Delta state, namely the Shell oil exporting tank at Forcados, In Ogulagha Kingdom. While Chevron Texaco is located in the Itsekiri part of Delta state. Texaco has an oil exporting tank farm at Ugboroda in Warri Southwest Escravos of Delta state. TaShawn: Are you going to get to how this all escalates into Tribal conflict and future war?
Bolaino: Yes, that is where I am going to. You have to know that for many decades the Ijaws and Itsekiris have been fighting tribal war in the Delta state for long. The fight is usually on and off, and when they fight they burn down everywhere in Warri. The reason we moved to the area (my family and I) we are currently staying is because of the tribal fighting in that part of Warri we used to stay. They were always burning down houses and the house we were staying in Ogborikoko at the time was owned by an Ijaw man. So we were at risk of our house being burnt by the Itsekiris at any time. So after the former president lost the election and Ayiri switched into the APC just two days after his former party lost the election it was assumed that Ayiri had betrayed them at the federal government level of the PDP.
TaShawn: So who are the Urhobo/ Isoko preparing to fight presently?
Bolaino: Currently the Ijaws. Pastor Ayo is giving us all the weapons we need to fight.
TaShawn: So why aren’t you happy about this, why tell me to expose the man who is helping you?
Bolaino: He is a bad man. The reason I am angry is because he tried to kill me when I refused. If not that I am a strong man, a man of the spirits then I would be dead by now and my son would be fatherless for sure, but God Disgraced him.
TaShawn: Why are they fighting?
Bolaino: They are fighting because the pastor set us up to fight and gave the order. TaShawn: So in Nigeria, one must fight when a Pastor gives the order because he is a warlord who hands them out weapons ?
Bolaino: Yes Jesus is God in Nigeria, anything church if you oppose it they will kill you. Do you know how many thousands of people pastors have killed in Delta State? You don’t. They sent people to my house. My father and mother have relocated to other regions. Right now he is distributing Guns out to people under his boy Ayiri and others at large. He is the one (The pastor Ayo) who told the King of Aladja and Urhobo Community that God revealed to him that if he does not tell his fellow Urhobo Kings to drive out Ijaws from Urhobo land that the Ijaws will take over all of Urhobo land in the next year 2017 with the Biafrans. The Biafrans have vowed to tear Nigeria apart by January next year to fulfil America’s prediction of Nigeria breaking into pieces in 2017.
TaShawn: Do you know why he (Pastor Ayo) is doing all this?
Bolaino: He is doing all this to escape prison. Many of the people he shared federal government money with meant to fight Boko Haram, are currently in prison. They are mentioning his name in statements, and soon he will be indicted. So he is doing this in order to escape being arrested. This is what he told me before trying to kill me. He tried to kill me in his church, this is where we hold meetings and that is also where he stores the weapons for the NDA. Tompolo and I were preparing to submit all our weapons to the government, but our hands are being forced to fight one another; if this pastor is caught the bloodshed will cease.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the editorial policy of Omojuwa.Com

Frustrated by pipeline vandals, Buhari seeks crude oil supply from Niger Republic

The Nigeria Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, is exploring the possibilities of piping crude oil from Niger Republic for refining in Kaduna, NNPC Group Managing Director, GMD, Maikanti Baru, said on Friday.

Mr. Baru who visited on Gov. Nasiru El-Rufa’i in Kaduna, said President Muhammadu Buhari was personally committed to the project.

He said it was important to explore alternative crude supply to Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company, which has been affected by vandalism of pipelines and age.

“Due to challenges with the aged refinery and crude oil pipelines that had been breached severally, the operations of the refinery has been epileptic.

“This we are determined to resolve through various intervention methods including evaluation of alternative crude oil supply from Niger Republic through building of a pipelines of over 1, 000 kilometers from Agadem to Kaduna.

“That efforts is being championed by Mr. President himself.

“We have already started engagements with the Nigerien Minister of Petroleum and the Chinese that are operating the field at Agadem.”

Mr. Baru also pledged to sustain efforts at enhancing energy supply to power industries in Kaduna through the development of Ajaokuta-Abuja-Kaduna-Kano gas pipeline, as well as development of power plants in Kaduna and Abuja.

“These projects will be given special attention during my tenure,” he said.

The GMD disclosed that the College of Petroleum Resources in Kaduna would start operation on January 1, 2017, and thanked the state government for undertaking to construct internal roads in the school.

He urged the governor to sensitise residents of Kaduna against sabotage of the nation’s oil assets due to its adverse effect on the community, environment and national economy.

Responding, Mr. El-Rufa’i said the corporation has assumed a new toga since Mr. Baru took over, adding that prompt remittances by the corporation to the Federation Account has remained consistent.

“We are very interested in the NNPC because how well you do affects our lives as states and as a country.

“This is why many of us are quite gratified you are in charge, and already results are beginning to show as remittances to the Federation Account are higher, state governors are happier than before,” he said.

The governor pledged to support the gas pipeline project because of its tremendous potentials to the social and economic stability of the state.

He expressed confidence that ongoing reforms of the NNPC would strengthen the corporation to serve Nigeria better.

Mr. El-Rufa’i assured that the government would tackle issues of water supply to KRPC and pipeline security through massive enlightenment and treating those engaged in illegal activities as criminals.

Shell In Court Over Niger Delta Oil Spills.

Royal Dutch Shell was brought to court on Tuesday, as Nigerians demand the company take responsibility for its oil spills that have environmentally devastated the Niger Delta region.

Oil spills coming from Shell pipelines and facilities have polluted the oil-rich region, threatening the livelihoods of thousands of Niger Deltans. Lawyers representing over 40,000 Nigerians in the affected areas brought two legal suits against the Anglo-Dutch company at the High Court in London.

In 2011, the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) exposed the devastating effects oil spills have had on the Ogoniland region, one of the many Niger Delta communities ravaged by oil pollution. Its report revealed poor air quality, dangerously high levels of hydrocarbons in the water, and mangroves polluted with bitumen. The UNEP offered assistance to the Nigerian government to clean up the area, but said it would take 30 years or more to complete.

Today, Nigerians are hoping that Shell will be mandated to accept responsibility assist in the cleanup.

“There are strange diseases in my community – skin diseases, people are dying sudden deaths, some people are impotent,” King Emere Godwin Okpabi, traditional ruler of Ogale community, told AFP. The monarch flew to London to attend the hearing, hoping that justice will be served for his people.

Speaking with AFP, Mr. Okpabi held up a clear plastic water bottle showing contaminated water from his community. “My people are drinking this water,” he said. “I can afford to buy water. But can I afford to buy for everyone? No.”

Mr. Okpabi believes that the people of the Niger Delta have a better chance of justice being served in the United Kingdom rather than in Nigeria, where the judicial system is afflicted by corruption.

“Shell is Nigeria and Nigeria is Shell. You can never, never defeat Shell in a Nigerian court. The truth is that the Nigerian legal system is corrupt,” the traditional ruler said.

But Shell has argued that the case should be heard in Nigeria, as its Nigerian subsidiary, SPDC, is responsible for the oil spills. The oil giant will therefore challenge the jurisdiction of the British courts throughout the four-day hearing.

Shell has also pointed its finger to oil thieves and pipeline saboteurs, such as the Niger Delta Avengers, saying that these groups should be held responsible for oil pollution.

“Both Bille and Ogale are areas heavily impacted by crude oil theft, pipeline sabotage, and illegal refining which remain the main sources of pollution across the Niger Delta,” a Shell spokesperson said. She added that SPDC has not produced oil or gas in Ogoniland since 1993, and that the SPDC is supporting the cleanup process in the region.

But the plaintiffs’ attorneys have argued that Shell’s leaky pipes continue to pollute the area and therefore the company must be held responsible.

It would be recalled that Shell agreed to pay over $80 million to the Bodo community in January 2015 due to two oil spills that occurred in the region in 2008. This case was similarly heard in a London court

Oil Era Will Soon Be Over- Osinbajo

Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo warns that the nation’s reliance on oil as a means of sustenance will soon be over with the development of technology. Osinbajo spoke today at the E-Nigeria summit, organised by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) with the theme “leveraging i.T. Innovation for economic diversification”.

His speech reads:

 It is my pleasure to be with you today at this 9th edition of the e-Nigeria summit. I don’t think there is any subject of greater importance in Nigeria today than the theme of this summit which is Leveraging IT Innovation for Economic Diversification. The Director General of NITDA, Mr Musa Ali Ibrahim and his team truly deserved to be commended for this excellent and innovative idea. Their choice of subject and task that they’ve set for themselves are entirely spot on.

Every once in several centuries comes an innovation that completely redefines every aspect of human life and experience. The printing press for example is described as the turning point at which knowledge began freely replicating, and quickly assumed a life of its own. The invention of the telegraph was so revolutionary that a notable commentator said that before it “information was moving only as quickly as a man on a horseback.”

Read More:

Search for oil in north, right step – experts.

In spite of the huge sum and decades of years invested in prospecting for oil in the North of Nigeria, some petroleum experts have argued that the government is taking the right step in not relenting in its search for oil in that region.


To them, the quest to get crude oil is usually not achieved overnight.


They, however, did not agree on the format government should adopt in the search for crude oil. While some agree that government should lead the way in terms of investing directly, others believe government should have had an arrangement with the private sector players.

While the Director, Emerald Energy Institute, University of Port Harcourt, Professor Wumi Iledare, said there is nothing wrong in the search, but urged government to explore private sector funding, Professor of Applied Geophysics, University of Ibadan, Olayinka, Abel Idowu, said finding crude oil in commercial quantity couldn’t be ruled out, as oil has also been found in the Chad basins.


On his part, Professor Joseph Ajienka, a former Vice Chancellor of the University of Port Harcourt, noted that by the time oil was discovered in Oloibiri in the early 50s, exploration had gone on all over the country for 50 years, right from a German company to Shell Darcy.


Ajienka stated that the issue is not whether they should continue to explore there, noting that areas people thought had no oil on the continent, oil and gas had been found there.

Dangote’s refinery will make Nigeria’s worthless – Kachikwu

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, has said Nigeria’s four refineries my become worthless once the refinery being built by the Dangote group begins operation in 2019.


Kachikwu said this at a stakeholders’ consultative forum on the draft National Gas Policy and National Oil Policy in Abuja on Thursday.


The minister said the country’s refineries must be revamped within the shortest possible time to avoid such occurrence.


He said, “Refineries will have to work. It is really not an option anymore. And not only should they work, they have to work very quickly. The reality is that if we do not privatise and we do not concede them, which is not what we are doing now, then we have a responsibility to find private capital to get them to where they should be.


“This is because if we do not get them to work, in 2019, I can assure you that if the Dangote system works well, we will have scrap, we won’t have refineries, because by then it will be too late to do anything.”


Kachikwu also spoke on the deregulation of the downstream oil sector.


He said, “At every given time in the history of every country, you will always have partial deregulation. The reason being that you have to catch up each time and make an amendment, and even if it is just one day, you may have some level of subsidy for that one or two days before it is removed.


“What is important is the goal post, where are we headed? Where we are headed is to try and free the industry so that it can do its own rules and set its own prices. There are few mechanics that we still need to get in place properly. We can’t forget the fact that we still have foreign exchange challenges and that income to the government is still very tight.”

How we foiled kidnapping of Femi Otedola – Police

Operatives of Nigeria Police Force have foiled an attempt to kidnap a Nigerian oil magnate, Femi Otedola.


The IGP’s Intelligence Response Team (IRT) accomplished this task when it arrested a three-man notorious kidnap gang on the 23rd June, 2016.


According to Force PRO, Don Awunah, the arrest was achieved through coordinated intelligence gathering and deployment of technical investigative tools that spanned several weeks.


“The Principal suspect, one Ikechukwu Daniel, a 28 year old indigene of Imo State, who is the mastermind of the gang, was rusticated from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria due to his cult related activities on campus in 2009/2010.


He also doubles as the IT guru of the kidnap gang with mastery of Computer applications. He made damning revelations of their criminal exploits in the South West of the Country.


‘Another member of the gang, 29 year old Adeyemi Kayode, a serving officer of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence corps and a native of Ojoo in Ibadan, Oyo State serves as a Personal Assistant to the Commandant, NSCDC Oyo State Command. The suspect took undue advantage of his office to obtain the GSM number and location of their would be victim. He hatched the plan on how to kidnap the business magnate to make a demand of one billion naira ransom.


“The third suspect, Ayodele Temitayo, a native of Oyo in Ibadan, Oyo State who is the marksman and armourer of the gang, claimed to have been dismissed from 213 Battalion Maiduguri of Nigeria Army as a Private in 2015.


“All the suspects made confessional statements revealing that they had successfully carried out several high-profile kidnappings and two AK47 rifles loaded with live ammunition were recovered from them.


“While efforts are currently being intensified to apprehend other members of the gang and extend investigation to their other criminal enterprise, the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim K. Idris, wishes to restate the commitment of the Nigeria Police Force to clamp down on all criminal activities across the country and reassures law abiding citizens that criminal elements would be eventually apprehended and charged to court.


“The IGP urges Nigerians to avail the Police with relevant information that will help in the crusade against crime; as such information would be treated with utmost confidentiality,” Awunah stated.

We need oil to get out of oil, says Osinbajo.

Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo says Nigeria needs oil to get out of oil.


Osinbajo made the remark on Monday at the presentation of three books written by Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu in Abuja.


The books are, Compendium of Oil and Gas Cases in NigeriaLegal issues in the Nigerian Petroleum Industry and the Petroleum Industry Bill: Getting to the Yes.


Speaking at the presentation Osinbajo said Kachikwu is an expert in the oil industry with over 30 years experience.


The Vice President who spoke on the nation’s need to diversify the economy said, “we need oil to get out of oil”.


He said, “I think it might be important to say that the federal government has had to deal frontally with the critical issues bedeviling the sector: the deregulation of the downstream sector and its continuing challenges, vandalism of pipelines and export facilities and the critical drop in production, gas to power issues, the urgent imperatives of local refining, cash call problems and the plans to exit that regime and empowering indigenous operators.


“As we move to diversify our economy we are acutely aware that we need oil to get out of oil. Yet our window of opportunity to benefit maximally from the petroleum industry is narrowing.


“The development in shale oil which the author spends considerable time on, the increasing breakthroughs in renewable energy use, the incredible speed of the expansion of the use of electric vehicles, Japan now has more electric charging stations than gas stations- all point inexorably to the fact that the party might be over sooner than we expected,” he said.

Host communities ask Chevron to quit.

The host communities to multinational oil corporation, Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) have given the company a 14-day ultimatum to address issues of alleged marginalisation.


The communities under the aegis of Host Community Graduates comprising people from Ijaw, Itsekiri in Delta State and Ilaje in Ondo State, handed down the ultimatum during a press conference at the secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Warri Correspondents Chapel, Delta State, yesterday.


They alleged that after being successful in the Chevron intensive training programme they were not given jobs as promised by the oil firm.


The statement signed on behalf of the communities by representatives of the Ijaw, Itsekiri and Ilaje graduates, Yabrade Moses, Edema Collins Oritsetimeyin and Ikuesan Ademola Kelly, said: “Since Chevron Nigeria Limited acquired Gulf Corporation over 20 years ago, our graduates have had to literarily beg or embark on mass protest before being employed by the oil firm. This is despite the fact we have produced thousands of first class graduates in various fields of human studies.”


They later presented some demands before the oil company, which include the reinstatement of all indigenes sacked without due process, direct all sub-contractors to employ host community workers, review the undergraduate scholarship scheme and reserve the position of operations manager for host communities.


They also asked the firm to develop infrastructure in their communities.


Meanwhile, the Nigeria Navy (NN) has issue an alert to Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK) users in the country of poorly refined substandard products in circulation.


A statement yesterday in Abuja by the Director of Information, Commodore Christian Ezekobe, said the crackdown on illegal refining of other petroleum products has sent desperate criminals to change course, due to this, “the NN wishes to warn the public particularly local consumers on the dangers of patronising adulterated kerosene and to further state that the product is not good for domestic use.”


He said: “Illegal refinery operators in the Niger Delta now refine Dual Purpose Kerosene against the popular Automotive Gas Oil (AGO).’’

Ahmadu Bello University builds 1-barrel-per-day oil refinery

The Department of Chemical Engineering of the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, has established a refinery with capacity to process one barrel of crude oil per day.
The team leader of the project, Professor Ibrahim Ali Muhammad Dabo told our correspondent who visited the refinery site that at present the refinery would be used mainly for the training of students, although the department had the manpower to build a refinery that would be bigger than that of Kaduna if it had government support.
“The initial idea was to construct a 1,000 barrel-capacity refinery, but lack of funding limited us to this one, where we would now be refining one barrel per day,” Dabo said, adding that more than 80 per cent of the materials used for the construction of the refinery were sourced locally.
“Only the controls were sourced from Hong Kong. No expatriate was hired from abroad. All those that were engaged in this project are Nigerians. Therefore, this mini refinery is a product of Nigerian brains. If government can come in, we have the ability to do wonderful things, not only refinery.
This is our training and it is what our department is meant for,” he said.
He explained that beside the land and fencing that ABU provided, the project cost only about N20 million.
Professor Dabo further stated that the idea of the mini refinery was conceived about 15 years back, but work commenced fully in the year 2011.

NEITI: We made N70tr from oil in 15 years. How did we end in recession?

Waziri Adio, executive secretary of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), says the country had no business going into recession with the huge revenue from oil from 1999 to 2014.


He said while the three tiers of government earned and shared N70 trillion oil and gas revenue during the period, there was no provision for savings.


He was speaking on Monday when he played host to members of the senate committee on federal character and inter-governmental affairs who were on an oversight visit to his office in Abuja.


Adio said it would be necessary for Nigeria to develop prudent spending to avoid lapsing into recession again.


Year Oil Revenue
1999 N724.42 billion
2000 1,591.68 trillion
2001 N1,707.56 trillion
2002 N1,230.85 trillion
2003 N2,074.28 trillion
2004 N3,354.80 trillion
2005 N4,762.40 trillion
2006 N5,287.57 trillion
2007 N4,462.91 trillion
2008 N6,530.60 trillion
2009 N3,191.94 trillion
2010 N5,396.09 trillion
2011 N8,878.97 trillion
2012 N8,025.97 trillion
2013 N6,809.23 trillion
2014 N6,793.72 trillion


Adio said: “Let me inform the committee that we discovered that between 1999 and 2014, the country spent over N70 trillion it received from oil and gas alone. That is a whole lot of money. What is sad is that it was spent without the country being able to show anything for it. I think it is quite unfortunate.


For the sake of emphasis, however, I think if previous administrations had developed a culture for prudent management of resources, Nigeria ought to have over $100 billion saved in the excess crude account. So, going forward, it is necessary for government to think about saving a lot more, and do all it can as well to cut down on wasteful spending if the nation must make progress.”

Bayelsa communities clash over oil-rich land

Ibou, Eminama and Dorgu-Ewoama communities, all in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State are spoiling for war over the ownership of Ibou Forest and Iyallakiri Creek oil location following claims by some families in Eminama and Dorgu-Ewoama that they own the contentious portion of land.

Meanwhile, the people of Ibou community have called on the Bayelsa state government to intervene and restrain Eminama and Dorgu-Ewoama communities from the said land to avoid a breakdown of law and order, stressing that the ownership claim was capable of igniting communal crisis in the area.

The Ibou community in a petition to the Special Adviser (Oil and Gas) to Governor Seriake Dickson, signed by Chief Ipogolanyo Daw-Feghawari and others, stated that the land in question has been in existence for over 120 years and never in dispute or disputed by anybody, except for the latest claims by Eminama and Dorgu-Ewoama.

Describing the claims of the two families as “ignorance and greed”, the Ibou community said as a peace- loving people, they were ready to defend their ancestral heritage through a peaceful and law- abiding process and advised the Bayelsa State government not to be misled by a few self-seeking persons.”

It added: “The Ibou community, therefore, advises the Bayelsa state government and the public to disregard the purported claims as they want to reap where they did not sow.”

JUST IN: Militants bomb oil pipeline in Warri.

Nigerian militants on Tuesday bombed a state-run oil pipeline near the southern port city of Warri, the second attack within a week, a community leader and army officer said.

“The line which was undergoing repair after the previous attack … was billed for commissioning either today or tomorrow,” before the latest attack, chairman of Batan community Dickson Ogugu told AFP.

He said four surveillance guards deployed to protect the Trans Forcados export line narrowly escaped death after the militants opened fire on them.

“The hoodlums after chasing them from the spot came down from their speedboat, planted dynamite on swamp boogie, barge, crane and on the line,” he said.

“Unfortunately, only the dynamite on the barge exploded and immediately sank into the water. As I speak to you, the military are at the scene of the incident trying to dismantle the other dynamites.”

An army officer, who did not want to be named, confirmed the incident.

“We heard the shots in the middle of the night, but as you know, we do not patrol the area at night, so there was nothing we could do,” he said.

The line has been previously targeted by rebels.

Last week, the line was bombed just hours after President Muhammadu Buhari met with representatives of militant groups in the Niger delta to discuss how to end the unrest wracking the region.

The state-owned Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC) operates the pipeline which receives crude from the Batan flowstation and feeds the Forcados export terminal.

Since the start of the year, several militant groups have attacked oil facilities, slashing the nation’s output and hammering revenues.

The militants claim to be seeking a fair share of the nation’s oil wealth for local residents as well as political autonomy for the region.

The government has launched peace talks with the rebels to end the violence.

Nigeria’s oil production boosts OPEC’s October output to 33.54mbpd

Oil production from the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) rose to another record, hitting 33.54 million barrels per day (b/d) in October.

The figure was significantly boosted by recoveries in Nigeria and Libya and more than offset field maintenance in Angola.

The gains, which total 300,000 b/d from September and marks the fifth consecutive month of increased production, further complicate the path for OPEC to freeze production between 32.5 million to 33 million b/d in order to support prices and accelerate the drawdown of inventories.

“OPEC’s freeze math has gotten more complicated as its countries keep pumping more,” said Herman Wang, senior writer for S&P Global Platts.

“With OPEC having self-imposed a November 30 deadline to finalise the freeze, the pressure will be on it to deliver a deal that the market views as credible. Progress towards that goal has been slow, and a fifth straight month of record high production won’t help.”

Nigeria and Libya are exempt from the freeze, according to the plan announced in Algiers five weeks ago, but increases in Iraq and the expected return of Angolan production once the Dalia field maintenance is complete will make it harder.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia, which is expected to bear the brunt of any cuts that the producer group implements, saw its output decline to 10.53 million b/d for October, with reduced crude consumption for power generation as the peak summer air conditioning season ended.

Nigeria, which resumed loadings of key export grades, Qua Iboe and Forcados, in late September, saw its production recover to 1.68 million b/d in October, as the exports of all of its key exports grades have resumed.

But the volatile Niger Delta remains unstable and sensitive, with chances of more militant attacks high, which means production is still at risk.

Forcados production, which only resumed a month ago, is expected to be affected this month after militants bombed the Trans-Forcados pipeline last Wednesday.

Libya’s production rose to an average of 530,000 b/d in October, as it continues to ramp up after exports from some if its eastern ports have resumed.

Libya’s output has more than doubled since August, as production recovered sharply following news in September that Libya’s state-owned National Oil Corporation (NOC) had lifted force majeure at the 360,000 b/d Es Sider terminal and also the 220,000 b/d Ras Lanuf and 70,000 b/d Zueitina terminals.

NOC chairman, Mustafa Sanalla, told S&P Global Platts that Libyan oil production was now 585,000 b/d, and also that the Es Sider terminal, which has been down since December 2014, was ready to begin loadings “within days.”

Production in fields operated by the Waha Oil Company, Harouge Oil Operations and Arabian Gulf Oil Company have also increased in the past few months.

Angola production declined to 1.47 million b/d, as the key Dalia field which produces around 200,000-250,000 b/d was down for maintenance the entire month. Output is expected to come back online this month.

Final details of OPEC’s freeze including individual country allocations and which production estimates are used to verify compliance are to be decided by the organisation’s next formal meeting, November 30, in Vienna.

OPEC ministers on September 28 agreed to a preliminary deal to freeze production between 32.5 million and 33 million b/d.

The organisation had been operating without any official output ceiling since December 4, 2015 when it scrapped the 30 million b/d ceiling that it had in place since January 2012.

OPEC will hold its next ministerial meeting on November 30 in Vienna, when details of the freeze agreement are supposed to be finalised.

Gabon officially rejoined OPEC on July 1 while Indonesia reactivated its membership at the December 2015 meeting.

The estimate for Iraq includes volumes from semi-autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan.

Iraq, the cartel’s second largest producer, had output of 4.56 million b/d in the month, on increased exports. Its oil exports in October were boosted by higher loadings from the southern terminals along with a rise in pipeline exports from the Turkish port of Ceyhan.

The country, which has disputed secondary source estimates – including from Platts used by OPEC to determine each country’s monthly output – invited several media organisations to Baghdad last month to detail its field-by-field production.

Iraqi oil officials have been adamant that Iraq will “not back down” and will continue to produce at current levels, regardless of whatever freeze agreement is reached. Its official production figure of 4.774 million b/d for September is higher than independent estimates, as it appears to be double-counting some production in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government.

Iraqi officials have complained that the lower estimates could put the country at a disadvantage when OPEC decides the quotas under the freeze.

Iran’s production rose slightly in October to 3.67 million b/d, according to the Platts survey, as exports reached a post-sanctions high on increased interest from Europe on top of strong demand in Asia.

The country, which has also complained about secondary source estimates of its output being too low, has said it intends to regain its pre-sanctions production level of about four million b/d before it agrees to any freeze plan.

Analysts have, however, said Iran is unlikely to be able to raise its production much further without significant investment.

“Why we bombed Forcados pipeline.” – Militants

A militant group, Niger Delta Defence Corps (NDDC) has threatened to continue the bombing of oil pipelines unless its members were represented in the on-going peace meeting between the Pan Niger Delta group, headed by Chief Edwin Clark and the Federal Government.

NDDC, led by one General John Egbe, had threatened to blow up two pipelines in Delta and Rivers states, noting that the failure to invite the group would have dire consequences as the group would carry out attacks on oil pipelines.

A few hours after the first meeting between the Niger Delta leaders and the Federal Government, a major oil pipeline was blown up in Delta.

NDDC in a statement claimed responsibility and served notice that more oil pipelines would be attacked until representatives of the group were invited to join in the meeting between the Niger Delta stakeholders and the Federal Government. According to Egbe, more attacks on the oil pipelines would demonstrate to the Federal Government that the Pan Niger Delta group cannot halt the bombings of pipelines in the region.

He accused the Niger Delta elders of refusing to include representatives of militant groups in the Pan Niger Delta group and giving the Federal Government the impression that they can influence militants in the region.

He said the Federal Government should hold the Pan Niger Delta group responsibile for allowing the attacks as it did not ensure a proper representation, especially of militants in the meeting.

He said Chief Clark, King Diete-Spiff and some unnamed Niger Delta leaders from Delta masquerading as peace makers do not have the capacity to call militant leaders in the region to order.

“We, the Niger Delta Defence Corps (NDDC), are responsible for Trans-Forcados Export Trunk Line at Batan community in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State. As we promised the Federal Government on Monday, October 31, 2016, more attacks will soon be launched. Let the Federal Government hold Pan-Niger Delta Forum responsible for the attacks. They have not contacted us. The Federal Government should go to the media and contact all the groups and send us invitation and we will send our representatives. The Niger Delta leaders are aware that they cannot stop the bombing of oil pipelines. What they can do is to appeal which we can chose to ignore,” it said.

Following the festering militants activities in the region, President Muhammadu Buhari last Tuesday met with leaders from the region in Abuja.

The stakeholders tabled a 16-point demand.

The shopping list which bordered on the socio-economic development, security and restoration of peace in the region, included the need to fast-track interventions on some of the region infrastructure, award of oil bloc to Niger Delta indigenes, presidential amnesty programme, law and justice issues and the effect of increased military presence in the region

The forum is one of the strategies by the Federal Government to resolve the crisis.

Power: FG signs $112m gas supply agreement with Seven Energy.

Efforts to bridge gas supply gap to power generation companies has led to the inking of gas supply agreement between the federal government and Seven Energy International Ltd.

The $112 million Partial Risk Guarantee (PRG) agreement is expected to enhance supply of natural gas to the Calabar NIPP.

The gas, under the agreement, would be delivered by Seven Energy’s subsidiary Accugas, to the 560 MW Nigerian Integrated Power Project (NIPP), Calabar, Cross River State.

The Partial Risk Guarantee is a financial instrument that will secure the supply of up to 130 million cubic feet per day (“MMcfpd”) of natural gas to NIPP Calabar, thereby enabling the consistent generation of an additional 560 MW of electricity to the national grid, approximately 20 percent of current power generation in Nigeria.

This arrangement, which guarantees payments to Accugas for gas supply, is backed by the Federal Government of Nigeria and the World Bank.

It will be the first of its kind for gas supply in Nigeria and is a demonstration of the Federal Government’s commitment to increasing power supply in the country and stabilising the ‘gas to power’ value chain.

Commenting on the agreement, Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo said “I must say that this is a very significant event for us and as we all know this is the first PRG for gas that we are signing. We know that it will encourage investment in gas infrastructure and we are certainly looking forward to the multipliers that will come from it”.

The Vice President commended Seven Energy for completing the 69 km, Uquo to Creek Town pipeline which will provide a continuous flow of natural gas from the Uquo Field in Akwa Ibom state to NIPP Calabar in Cross River state and add up to 560 MW to the national grid.

BREAKING: Earthquake hits major US oil city; Oklahoma.

A sharp earthquake centred near one of the world’s key oil hubs Sunday night triggered fears that the magnitude 5.0 tremor might have damaged key infrastructure in addition to causing what police described as “quite a bit of damage” in the Oklahoma prairie town of Cushing.

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission said it and the Oklahoma Geological Survey were investigating after the quake, which struck at 7:44 p.m. and was felt as far away as Iowa, Illinois and Texas.

“The OCC’s Pipeline Safety Department has been in contact with pipeline operators in the Cushing oil storage terminal under state jurisdiction and there have been no immediate reports of any problems,” the commission’s spokesman, Matt Skinner, said in a statement. “The assessment of the infrastructure continues.”

The oil storage terminal is one of the world’s largest.

The Cushing Police Department reported “quite a bit of damage” from the earthquake but details were not immediately available. Photos posted to social media show piles of debris at the base of commercial buildings in the city.

The Cushing Public School District has cancelled classes Monday in order to assess the earthquake damage.

Cushing, which has a population of about 7,900, bills itself as the “Pipeline Crossroads of the World.”

Oklahoma has had thousands of earthquakes in recent years, with nearly all traced to the underground injection of wastewater left over from oil and gas production. Sunday’s quake was centred one mile west of Cushing — and about 25 miles south of where a magnitude 4.3 quake forced a shutdown of several wells last week, reports The Associated Press.

The U.S. Geological Survey said initially that Sunday’s quake was of magnitude 5.3 but later lowered the reading to 5.0.

According to USGS data, there have been 19 earthquakes in Oklahoma in the past week. When particularly strong quakes hit, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission directs well operators to seize wastewater injections or reduce volume.

A 5.8 earthquake — a record for Oklahoma — hit Pawnee on September 3. Shortly afterward, geologists speculated on whether the tremor occurred on a previously unknown fault.

NNPC to Refine Crude in Niger Republic

A technical team to see the possibility of refining crude oil in Niger Republic by the Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company (KRPC) may be underway by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), it was learnt yesterday.

NNPC’s Group Managing Director Dr. Maikanti Baru stated this after a bilateral discussion with Republic of Niger’s Minister of Energy and Oil Foumakoye Gado in Abuja.

A statement by the corporation quoted the NNPC helmsman as saying: “We plan to set up the technical team to review the possibilities of how crude oil will be supplied to the Kaduna Refinery. Being bilateral, there are going to be two teams as discussed by the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources and the Minister of Energy and Oil of Niger.

“There will be steering committee comprising some Ministers and a technical committee which will involve the NNPC and the Nigerien Ministry of Energy and Oil and their operators.”

According to the statement, Nigeria is to collaborate with its Republic of Niger neighbour in the area of sharing of geological data to further boost the ongoing exploratory activities in the Chad Basin and Benue Trough.

He noted that there is an understanding between the NNPC and the Republic of Niger to share data on the exploratory activities in the Chad Basin and the Benue Trough and to tap into that country’s experience.

The NNPC chief has described the Amnesty Programme as critical towards a lasting peace in the Niger Delta region.

Baru made this known while hosting the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Brig.-Gen. Paul Boroh in his office at the NNPC Towers, Abuja, yesterday.

The GMD told Boroh: “The Amnesty Programme is key in restoring peace to the Niger Delta.”

He restated the Corporation’s commitment to collaboration with relevant stakeholders towards developing the Niger Delta region.

Baru, who observed that insecurity has affected NNPC’s operations especially in the region, stressed further that with relative peace now coming back to the region, the NNPC will ramp up its oil and gas production to be able to deliver on its mandate to the nation.

Responding, the Nigerien Energy Minister said his mission in Nigeria was to discuss issues of interest especially in the area of the oil sector with the NNPC, adding that the procurement of crude oil for Kaduna refinery and its practicability is being worked out.

Gado said: “One of the aims of this visit is to share geological information for us to draw the best profit out of the exploratory efforts.

Speaking earlier, Boroh said they were in NNPC to share some of the success stories of the programme especially in terms of human capital development of the various beneficiaries of the Amnesty Programme.

According to Boroh, the Programme has trained over fifteen thousand ex-agitators in various skills and trades, adding that about 14 of them graduated with First Class from various universities both in Nigeria and abroad.

Pipeline vandalism dropped by 28 per cent in August – NNPC

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) says pipeline vandalism across the country reduced by 28 per cent in August.

The corporation made this known in its 13th publication of Monthly Financial and Operations Report released on its website on Thursday.

According to the report, the spate of pipeline vandalism has reduced following the Federal Government and NNPC’s sustained engagements with Niger Delta militants.

“In August, 2016, there was 28.94 per cent drop in the number of pipelines vandalised points relative to July, 2016 which had up to 311 vandalised points,’’ the report stated.

On natural gas supply to power plants, the report stated that it edged up to 469 million standard cubic feet per day (mmscfd) which equalled about 2,083 megawatts of electricity generation in August, 2016.

On refineries’ operations, it report said that the combined value of output by the three refineries “at import parity price’’ for August, 2016 was N50.19 billion.

“Associated crude plus freight cost was N39.77 billion, giving a surplus of N709.21 million after an overhead of N9.71 billion,’’ it said.

The report said that this was made possible in spite of the challenges of irregular crude supply and pipeline vandalism to the refineries.

On naira payments to the Federation Account, NNPC said it transferred N35.05 billion into the account in September from the net domestic crude oil receipt and another N1.80 billion from gas receipts.

It added that its instalment repayment of debt to the Federation Account was also done with N6.33 billion remitted as the 25th instance in the process.

“The domestic crude oil and gas receipt during the month amounted to N96.15 billion, consisting of N1.80 billion from domestic gas and the sum of N88.01 billion from domestic crude oil.

“Of the N88.01 billion receipt from crude oil, the sum of N52.96 billion (about 268.83 million dollars) was transferred to Joint Venture Cash Call (JVCC) being a first line charge.

“It also guarantees a continuous flow of revenue stream to Federation Account,” the report said.

PIB finally passes second reading at senate.

The petroleum industry bill (PIB), which seeks to split the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) into two independent entities, has passed second reading at the senate.

The bill passed the stage, and was referred to the committee on petroleum (upstream and downstream) for more legislative work after a brief debate on it.

Leading the debate on the bill, Tayo  Alasoadura, a senator from Ondo central and chairman senate committee on petroleum (upstream), said the PIB was first introduced in 2008, but that it was not passed in previous administrations of the national assembly.

He said the objective of the bill was to create efficient institutions, and to promote transparency in the administration of petroleum resources in the country?.

Alasoadura said the bill was the first in a series of its kind to reform the petroleum industry, adding that it would cure some? of the ills in the sector.

?”This bill provides for the unbundling of the NNPC into two independent entities, which are the National Petroleum Company (NPC) and National Asset Management Company,” he said.

“It also provides for the establishment of a single petroleum regulatory commission which will focus mainly on regulating the industry.

“The poor performance of the NNPC is a major concern. The commercialisation of the corporation and its splitting into two entities is for more efficiency and to enhance performance.”?

On April 26, the upper legislative chamber ended debate on the bill abruptly, and its consideration was subsequently delayed until Wednesday.

This is the first in a line of bills on the petroleum industry.

Senate President Bukola Saraki said the next part of the bill would focus on the petroleum producing communities.

Nigeria Lost N2.1trn to Militancy – NNPC boss

Nigeria has lost over N2 trillion to militancy and pipeline vandalism since the beginning of the year, Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Maikanti Baru has said.

He said: “Over 7000kpd of crude oil has been lost due to vandalism this year. A bulk of the loss is from JV assets.

“This implies that 60 percent of oil production lost is NNPC-FGN equity. At an estimated price of $45 per barrel, the total 2016 revenue loss to the Federation Account translates to about $7 billion.

“This loss is equivalent to a new 7,000mw power plant; new 350kpd refinery; over 30 per cent of national budget; and a new 1,700- kilometre pipeline,’’ he was quoted as saying by online newspaper Premium Times

To resolve this, Baru said the NNPC planned to increase the security of oil and gas assets, improve its community social responsibility and the amnesty programme.

He added that the NNPC planned “to renegotiate terms of Production Sharing Contracts with deep offshore operating companies because, with the current agreement, only 17.7 per cent of total revenue comes to government”.

Why oil economies will remain pressured – IMF

Despite the relative stability in the international price of crude oil in recent times, oil exporting countries’ revenue will not break even soon, as the commodity’s prices will continue to face headwinds.

Besides, the turmoil in financial markets, secular drop in petroleum consumption in advanced countries, plus a strong dollar, have put downward pressure on oil prices and the persistence only points to a “lower for longer” scenario for oil prices.

At the weekend, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Global Economy Forum, noted that the price of the commodity will not return to the high levels that preceded their historic collapse two years ago.

While reduced investment in the sector has been projected this year, even resulting to lower production by non-member countries of the oil cartel, production will still exceed consumption.

The report said many experts have also projected that oil markets will balance in 2017, albeit with high level of inventory, a development that will not improve the earnings of the oil economies.

According to it, shale oil production has permanently added to supply at lower prices, while demand will be curtailed by slower growth in emerging markets and global efforts to cut down on carbon emissions.

The report said: “it all adds up to a ‘new normal’ for oil.”

“Shale has been a game changer. Unexpectedly strong shale-oil production of five million barrels per day contributed to the global supply glut. That, along with the surprising decision by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to keep production unchanged, contributed to the oil price collapse that started in June 2014.

“Although the price collapse led to a massive cut in oil investments, production was slow to respond, keeping supply in excess. Shale drillers have significantly cut costs by improving efficiency, allowing major players to avoid bankruptcy,” the reported noted.

It also pointed out that there is uncertainty regarding supply, especially regarding the cost associated with extraction, as well as production from so-called shale “fracklog”- drilled but uncompleted wells.

Indeed, while the anticipation of an OPEC production cut in cooperation with other exporters has boosted prices to the current level, the success of Shale and the challenging global growth, particularly that of the emerging markets are threatening oil price rise.

The uncompleted wells, the report noted, can add to production flows in a matter of weeks and hence considerably change the dynamics of production compared to conventional oil—that features long lead times between investment and production.

While OPEC members have recently agreed to cut production, that agreement is yet to be finalized and emerging data, according to IMF, suggest that shale-oil production may be once again more resilient than expected.

IMF said that falling prices spurred demand to a record high of 1.8 million barrels per day in 2015, but now expected to slow to the trend level of 1.2 million barrels per day in 2016 and 2017.

The global institution said that a sizable share of oil demand is attributable to the price drop rather than income gains, hence with limited scope for further declines in prices in dollar terms, increases in oil demand will depend largely on prospects for global economic growth.

“The outlook for demand growth isn’t encouraging. In the past couple of years, oil demand has been driven by China and other emerging-market and developing countries.

“While China accounts for just 15 percent of world oil consumption, its contribution to oil demand growth is significant because its economy is growing much faster than those of advanced nations. Further slowdowns in emerging and advanced economies can change the demand picture significantly,” the report added.

ExxonMobil Discovers One Billion Barrels Of Oil In Nigeria

Barely a week after it sold its downstream subsidiary in Nigeria, United States’ oil giant, ExxonMobil Corporation, has announced the discovery of up to one billion barrels of oil reserves in the Owowo field, offshore Nigeria.

The development is a boost to Nigeria’s efforts to increase her crude oil reserves from the current 36 billion barrels to 40 billion barrels target, which was set for 2010 but could not be achieved as a result of lack of investment in exploratory activities.
The Owowo field spans portions of the contract areas of Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 223 and Oil Mining License (OML) 139.

In a statement posted yesterday on its website, the Texas-based oil and gas company said the huge discovery has a potential recoverable resource of between 500 million and one billion barrels of oil.

The world’s largest publicly traded international oil and gas company stated that the Owowo-3 well, which was spud on September 23, 2016, encountered about 460 feet (140 metres) of oil-bearing sandstone reservoir.
According to the statement, the Owowo-3 extends the resource discovered by the Owowo-2 well, which encountered about 515 feet (157 meters) of oil-bearing sandstone reservoir.

Commenting on the discovery, the President of ExxonMobil Exploration Company, Stephen Greenlee, said: “We are encouraged by the results and will work with our partners and the government on future development plans.”
The company further added that the Owowo-3 was safely drilled to 10,410 feet (3,173 metres) in 1,890 feet (576 metres) of water.

The well was drilled by ExxonMobil affiliate Esso Exploration and Production Nigeria (Deepwater Ventures) Limited and proved additional resource in deeper reservoirs.

ExxonMobil holds 27 per cent interest and is the operator for OPL 223 and OML 139.
Joint venture partners include Chevron Nigeria Deepwater G Limited (27 per cent interest), Total E&P Nigeria Limited (18 per cent interest), Nexen Petroleum Deepwater Nigeria Limited (18 per cent interest), and the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) Limited, a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) (10 per cent interest).

ExxonMobil had recently announced the sale of its 60 per cent stake in Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc to NIPCO Plc, thus exiting from the Nigeria’s downstream oil and gas sub-sector.
Before the sale of its downstream subsidiary, the company had three affiliates operating in Nigeria: Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (MPN); Esso Exploration and Production Nigeria Ltd. (EEPNL); and Mobil Oil Nigeria (MON).

Credit: thisdaylive

Corruption In Oil Industry Exaggerated – Kachikwu

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, said corruption in the oil and gas industry was overblown.

Kachikwu said this in Abuja on Thursday at a news briefing shortly after the launch of the new roadmap tagged “The 7 Big Wins”.

He said, “I think sometimes the corruption indices in Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation are overblown, because sometimes people do not understand the technicalities of what is going on and the short answer is corruption.

“I do agree that there were all kinds of sleaze stories in the past, but if you look at the last one year and in the last 13 months, those have dramatically disappeared.
“The TSA definitely helped, being able to suck in all our funds in one pond, being able to look at long term focus.

“The fact that we have saved over a billion dollars through the Direct Sale Direct Purchase programme, it is something. Otherwise, it would have gone into private pockets.

“There are good people in the NNPC.”

Kachikwu said that in spite of doom stories that abound in the country, the petroleum industry was one sector that had said “there is hope, we can find solutions; we can solve problems.

He said, “The only thing that we must hold high is commitment and collegiality in trying to fix things. I believe if the petroleum ministry works, the rest of the country will work.”

On the issue of refineries, he said that the fact that they were working today was because there were local engineers who were able to resuscitate them.

He said, “The feeling of the Federal Executive Council and the President is that we should first get the refineries to be efficient before we talk about privatisation, otherwise, we will be selling scraps.

“In their present state, nobody is going to offer you serious money. A huge amount of investment is going into this.

“Secondly, there are union issues; we do not just take decisions, not recognizing that people work there.

“If you privatise in a hurry and are sucked into union issues, that closes the place and it does not function for years.”

The 7 Big Wins is a roadmap the petroleum ministry has embarked on to focus on short and medium term priorities to grow Nigeria’s oil and gas industry between 2015 and 2019.

The focus of the roadmap is Niger Delta and Security, Policy and Regulation, Business Environment and Investment Drive and Transparency and Efficiency.

It also includes Stakeholder Management and International Coordination, Gas Revolution and Refineries and Local Production Capacity.


Shadow War in the Sahara: A look at US/French Military Activities in Africa.

Africa remains a key territory on the global chessboard of the 21st century. Rich in oil and natural resources, the continent holds a strategic position.
Whoever controls Mali, controls West Africa, if not the whole of Africa.

Doulaye Konate, Association of African Historians,

Sub-Saharan Africa is home to six of the world’s 10 fastest growing economies. North Africa counts with vast oil and natural gas deposits, the Sahara holds the most strategic nuclear ore, and resources such as coltan, gold, and copper, among many others, are abundant in the continent.

But despite its position and resources, conflict and chaos have spread throughout the continent. At the heart of this turmoil is a strategic territory: the Sahel.

The region that straddles the Sahara to the north and the savannas in the south has become an important new front in the so-called war against terrorism.

But is the official narrative, the fight against terrorism, masking a larger battle? Have the resource wars of the 21st century already begun?

“What we are currently experiencing can be described as ‘a new scramble for Africa’,” says Jean Batou, Professor of History at Lausanne University.

‘Whoever controls Mali, controls West Africa’

At the centre of the troubled region of the Sahel is the nation of Mali, which is among the world’s poorest. Unemployment is rampant and most people survive hand to mouth.

Yet, back in the 13th century, the Mali empire extended over much of West Africa and was extraordinarily wealthy and powerful. Ivory and gold made it a major crossroads for global trade at the time. But inevitably, these resources lead to conquests.

“We are the transition between North Africa and Africa that reaches the ocean and the forests. This gives us an important strategic position: whoever controls Mali, controls West Africa – if not the whole of Africa … That’s why this region became so coveted,” says Doulaye Konate from the Association of African Historians.

The imperial European powers unveiled their plans to colonise Mali and the rest of Africa at the Berlin Conference in 1885. Britain, Belgium, Portugal, Spain, Germany, Italy and France, each got their share.

“The arrival of colonisation tore us apart. It felt like a cut, almost like a surgical operation,” Konate says.

The French colonial empire extended over much of western and northern Africa, but in the late 1950s the winds of freedom started blowing across Africa, and France was to lose all its colonies.

However, the euphoria of independence was short. France retained troops, bases and political influence over its former colonies: the policy of “France-Afrique” was born.

“France was Africa’s watchdog, defending the West in the region,” says Antoine Glaser, author of France-Afrique.

Colonisation of Algeria: the French landing in Algeria in the coastal town of Sidi Ferruch in 1830. [Liebig series: L’origine de diverses colonies/The origin of various colonies, 1922, No 1). (Photo by Culture Club/Getty Images]

The US and the threat of ‘terrorism’

In the 1960s, the discovery of huge oil reserves in the Gulf of Guinea attracted a new player: the United States.

The US made military as well as economic investments on the African continent and Africa became a battleground in the Cold War.

In 1992, the US launched a so-called humanitarian intervention in the strategic Horn of Africa. The US sent 28,000 soldiers to Somalia to help to put an end to a civil war. The operation ended in disaster two years later after American soldiers were captured and killed, images of their mutilated bodies broadcast around the world. They decided to withdraw.

In 2001, the attack on the World Trade Center reconfigured the geopolitics of the world. The US launched a war in Afghanistan – a war that would soon spread far beyond.

A few months after September 11, the US military returned to the Horn of Africa with plans to stay. They established their first military base in Djibouti.

“The Sahel played a key role in looking at the movement of weapons, the movement of potential foreign fighters, and organised crime …,” says Rudolph Atallah, the former Director of Africa Counter-Terrorism, US Department of Defense.

American President George Bush visits US soldiers in Somalia [Larry Downing/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images]

The US Africa Command (AFRICOM)

The United States is the only country to have divided the world into separate military sectors to monitor and patrol, NORTHCOM, PACOM, SOUTHCOM, EUCOM, CENTCOM and now AFRICOM.

Under the stated goals of fighting terrorism and providing humanitarian assistance, AFRICOM implanted itself on the continent, conducting military exercises with a growing number of African countries.

The establishment of AFRICOM was key for the consolidation of US interests in Africa.

The Americans sought to establish the headquarters of AFRICOM as well as a headquarters for the CIA in Mali. The problem was that the Africans had a common position of refusing the establishment of new military bases.

This opposition forced the US to set up the command of AFRICOM thousands of miles away, in Stuttgart, Germany.

Muammar Gaddafi: The ‘mad dog of the Middle East’

Nelson Mandela’s view was almost identical to Gaddafi’s that there would be no African forces commanded by foreign military officials, and there would be no foreign militaries occupying any part of Africa or operating within Africa.

Maximilian Forte, author

African resistance to AFRICOM was spearheaded by Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader.

President Ronald Reagan had labelled him the “mad dog of the Middle East” and had tried to assassinate him in 1986 by bombing his palace.

The Libyan leader’s independence and influence flowed from the vast petroleum reserves, the largest in Africa, which he had nationalised when he took power.

Gaddafi wanted to demonstrate that Africa could develop without depending on the Western banking system or the International Monetary Fund.

“From the beginning of his political career as a leader, Muammar Gaddafi was opposed to a foreign military presence in Africa. One of the first things he did after coming to power in 1969 was to expel the British and US military bases in Libya itself,” Maximilian Forte, the author of Slouching Towards Sirte: Nato’s war on Libya and Africa, explains.

But in March 2011, as the Arab’s Spring spread through North Africa, France and the United States decided to act. This was AFRICOM’S first war and its commander-in-chief was the first African-­American president.

NUPENG, PENGASSAN threaten strike over sack of 3,000 members.

Two leading unions in the oil industry, Nigeria Union of Petroleum and National Gas (NUPENG) and Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) have raised the alarm over the sacking of 3, 000 of its members and subsequently issued a 21-day ultimatum to the federal government to put a stop to it.

The National President of NUPENG, Igwe Achese, who addressed the media at the end of the Central Working Committee (CWC), meeting of the union in Effurun, Delta state, said government must do something urgently to stop the mass retrenchment of its members to avoid grounding the industry.

Achese disclosed that most of the companies, like Chevron Nigeria Limited, ExxonMobil, Pan Ocean, Sapiem, and Hercules oil and gas limited, among others, have terminated the appointment of over 3,000 of their workers apparently over the current economic recession in the country.

“More than 3,000 of our members are affected,” Achese said, adding that “Chevron alone is about 1,500, Mobil is about 1,000 and the entire workers of Hercules Oil & Gas are being asked to go home, Pan Ocean have since closed shop and are gone. Industry-wide everybody is being asked to go.

“We are now asking ourselves where we are heading to with the industry. We have lost so much of Nigerian personnel working in the oil and gas industry. What is happening in Nigeria cannot be compared to what is happening in other African countries. We want government to wake up and address some of these issues.”

Achese said if government failed to act and direct the oil companies to stop this ongoing retrenchment of their members, they would be compelled to act to protect their interest.

We’ll continue to protect Nigeria’s oil assets – Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has restated the determination of his administration to continue to protect the country’s oil assets and installations.

Speaking at a meeting on Tuesday with the Director of Global Upstream of Shell Oil Company at the State House, Abuja, President Buhari said he will leave a legacy of improved infrastructure, particularly in the power sector, and also ensure better security in the Niger Delta.

“It is only by doing this that investor morale and confidence will return, and the economy will be positioned on the path of growth,” He said.

According to a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, President Buhari commended Shell for their faith in the economy and staying power.

The president also gave assurances on some issues of concern raised by the company especially the protracted issue of cash calls.

The minister of Budget and Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma, some weeks ago, revealed that the Federal Government has not been able to fund its counterpart Joint Ventures Companies, JVCs, and cash calls totaling $6 billion for several months due to revenue shortfalls.

The President assured other oil firms that the Federal Executive Council will soon consider a proposal for the easing of unpaid arrears owed by the government.

President Buhari said the security of oil infrastructure will continue to be priority of his administration which will include the dialogue with the stakeholder-communities in the Niger Delta.

He, however, urged oil companies to take more responsibility in the protection of oil installations to complement the efforts of Nigerian Navy in the region.

The Shell director, Andrew Brown, revealed that the company has resumed oil exportation through the Forcados terminal following its restoration.

He also commended the anti-corruption stance of President Buhari’s administration as well as the efforts to streamline and stabilize the economy for long term projects.

FAAC: See what States got in September.

Breakdown of N516bn Allocations shared by the 36 States, Osun got N868.9m in September, 2016

The breakdown in a report obtained from a source at the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation in Abuja on Sunday.

The Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting in September, federal, states and local governments shared N516 billion as against the N530 billion that was shared in August. The breakdown after some deductions l which included bailout funds were made is as follow:

Abia : N3.01 billion
Adamawa : N3.14 billion
Anambra : N3.43 billion,
Bayelsa: N7.6 billion,
Bauchi: N3.52 billion,
Benue : N3.37 billion,
Borno : N3.9 billion,
Cross River: N2.04 billion,
Delta: N7.39 billion,
Ekiti: N2.16 billion,
Edo: N2.54 billion,
Ebonyi: N2.99 billion,
Enugu : N3.34 billion,
Gombe : N2.61 billion,
Imo : N2.97 billion
Jigawa: N3.82 billion,
Kaduna: N4.23 billion,
Kano: N5.2 billion,
Katsina: N4 billion,
Kebbi : N3.36 billion
Kogi : N3.39 billion.
Kwara : N2.77 billion.
Lagos N7.92 billion,
Nassarawa : N2.92 billion,
Niger : N3.49 billion
Ogun : N2.16 billion,
Ondo : N4.18 billion,
Osun : N868.9 million,
Oyo : N3.53 billion,
Plateau : N2.31 billion,
Rivers: N9.05 billion
Sokoto: N3.62 billion,
Taraba: N2.89 billion
Yobe : N3.29 billion,
Zamfara: N2.58 billion.

The amount distributed included the Gross Statutory revenue, Value Added Tax, exchange gain, N35 billion excess Petroleum Profit Tax and 13 percent derivation to oil producing states.

The oil producing states are Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rivers.

The report also revealed that the Federal Capital Territory got N4.7 billion from the Federal Government’s share of the distributable revenue in September.

Attacks on oil installations, vandalism crash monthly allocation by N90.2bn

Despite increase in average price of crude oil at global market from $46.0 per barrel in May to $48.43 in June, sustained attacks on oil installations and pipeline vandalism have reduced total allocation available for sharing to the three tiers of government by N90.2 billion.

The picture was made clearer yesterday as the sum of N420 billion was approved for September for sharing as against N510.270 billion disbursed among the three tiers of government in August.

Militant attacks on oil installation led to a decrease in volume of crude oil export by 1.15 million barrels in the month of June alone.

Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Finance, Dr. Mahmoud Isa- Dutse, confirmed the figures and the adverse effect the attacks are having on the oil-rich region when he presided over Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting in Abuja. The decrease in revenue cuts across statutory revenue, Value Added Tax (VAT) and Nigeria Customs Service’s duty.

For instance, while net statutory allocation was N315.045 billion in the previous month, it came down to N250.947 billion in September, VAT was N75.962 billion in previous month but came down to N64.265 billion in September.

On statutory allocation, Federal Government got the highest sum of N120.351 billion, states, N61.044 billion, while local governments got N 47.062 billion.

The sum of N13.729 billion went to oil producing states as their share of 13 per cent derivation. Balance in Excess Crude Account stood at $2.454 billion.

World Bank raises 2017 crude oil prices’ forecast to $55 per barrel.

The World Bank yesterday revised upwards its 2017 forecast for crude oil prices, raising it from $53 per barrel to $55 per barrel as members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) prepare to cut output after a long period of unrestrained output.

The Bank, in its latest Commodity Markets Outlook, projected that energy prices, which include oil, natural gas and coal, will jump almost 25 percent overall next year, a larger increase than anticipated in July, while oil prices are expected to average $43 per barrel this year, unchanged from the July report.

The Senior Economist and lead author of the Commodity Markets Outlook, John Baffes said: “We expect a solid rise in energy prices, led by oil, next year.

However, there is considerable uncertainty around the outlook as we await the details and the implementation of the OPEC agreement, which, if carried through, will undoubtedly impact oil markets.”

The Breton Woods institution also projected modest recovery for most commodities next year as demand is expected to strengthen while supplies will be tight.

On metals and minerals prices, the World Bank forecasts that these are expected to rise 4.1 percent next year, a 0.5 percentage point upward revision due to increasing supply tightness.

“Zinc prices are forecast to rise more than 20 percent following the closure of some large zinc mines and production cuts in earlier years.

Gold is projected to decline slightly next year to $1,219 per ounce as interest rates are likely to rise and safe haven buying ebbs”, it projected.

It would be recalled that over the past months of prolonged lull in the international oil market, prices have ebbed so low that commodity-dependent exporting countries, including Nigeria, have continued to contend the negative fiscal implications for their economies.

NNPC Offers Its Oil At A Discount To Regain Market Share

Nigeria has cut the price of every type of crude it sells in an effort to regain the share of the global oil market at a time when there’s a “huge” glut of cargoes.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) lowered by at least $1 a barrel its official selling prices (OSPs) for 20 out of 26 oil grades monitored by Bloomberg, according to pricing lists.

Qua Iboe, Nigeria’s largest export crude under normal circumstances, was reduced by the most since 2014.
The price reductions are due to a “huge cargo overhang” as the country attempts to regain market share, Mele Kyari, Group General Manager for the Oil Marketing Division at NNPC, said by phone.

Like every other producer country, Nigeria is grappling with prices that are less than half what they were in July 2014. What makes the African nation’s situation more acute is a militant campaign that resulted in export flows falling to the lowest in at least nine years earlier this year.
Shipments are gradually resuming, and lower prices are a sign Nigeria is seeking to become more competitive in an already oversupplied global market.

“It is a bearish signal for the light, sweet market,” Eshan Ul-Haq, principal consultant at KBC Process Technology Ltd., said in an e-mail, referencing the types of crude Nigeria mostly pumps. “In order to capture a higher share of the market, OSPs have to come down.”

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Exxon Mobil to commence drilling in Liberia.

Liberia’s hope of being an oil producing nation has been renewed with the announcement of plans to commence drilling by the Texas headquartered Exxon Mobil.

The company said on October 19 it would start drilling its first exploratory well off the coast of Liberia in November, report said.

“ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Liberia Limited, an affiliate of ExxonMobil, plans to drill a deepwater exploration well on the Liberia-13 Block, located about 50 miles offshore Liberia, beginning in November 2016,” a spokeswoman of the company was quoted saying.

The world’s largest publicly-traded oil company, Exxon Mobil Corp shares the Block LB-13 situated offshore Liberia With a junior partner, the Canadian Overseas Petroleum (COPL).


The oil block, which was first acquired in 2013 has long been tipped as the first to fulfill Liberia’s dream of being an oil producing nation, a promise that has been dashed severally by a mixture of disappointing exploration results and allegations of mismanagement of the country’s petroleum sector.

Exxon is one of eight exploration companies Liberia has issued licenses to since 2010.

The others include Chevron, Anadarko Petroleum, Kosmos, and the Nigerian owned company Oranto, all of whom have remained laid back for various reasons.

Despite Wednesday’s announcement, however, Exxon Mobile was cautious about the prospect of the block.

It said it was “too soon to tell if any finds will be oil or gas.”

Expectations were based on similar finds off neighbouring Ivory Coast and Ghana to the east.

Otedola no longer a billionaire – Forbes

Nigerian businessman Femi Otedola has fallen off the billionaire cadre of entrepreneurs.

According to Forbes, Otedola who is the Chairman of Forte Oil, suffered the plunge as he lost $1.3bn following a fall in the stock price of the company.

Forbes said, “As at the close of trading on Friday, Forte Oil’s share price plunged to a one-year low of N145 ($0.44) per share, down from an all-time high of N342 ($1.1) in March this year when FORBES published its annual ranking of the world’s richest people.

“Apart from the tumble in Forte Oil’s stock price, Otedola’s fortune has also been adversely affected by a central bank devaluation of the Naira in June. In dollar terms, the devaluation in addition to Forte’s floundering share price has knocked about $1.3 billion off the value of Otedola’s fortune which was pegged at $1.8 billion in March.

Otedola is now worth only $550 million according to the FORBES’ billionaires’ database.

Nemesis? Judge who sentenced Ken Saro Wiwa to death fingered in bribery scandal

Tope Tomekun wrote:

The day was Friday, November 10, 1995! It was a black Friday in Ogoni land and in Nigeria among good men.

It took five attempts to hang Ken Saro-Wiwa before the Nigerian writer spoke his last words and his body went limp. “Lord take my soul, but the struggle continues,” were his last words that Friday morning, blindfolded and dangling from a rope. And he died!

“In my innocence of the false charges I face Here, in my utter conviction, I call upon the Ogoni people, the peoples of the Niger delta, and the oppressed ethnic minorities of Nigeria to stand up now and fight fearlessly and peacefully for their rights. History is on their side. God is on their side. For the Holy Quran says in Sura 42, verse 41: ‘All those that fight when oppressed incur no guilt, but Allah shall punish the oppressor’. The day cometh.” Kenule Beeson Saro-Wiwa, looking into the two eyes of Justice Auta, sitting on some filthy bench up there, wielding the transient powers of life and death, uttered these prophetic words before being led away from court/tribunal room, into his death by hanging after Justice Ibrahim Auta pronounced him and his Ogoni compatriots guilty as charged, of framed-up charges.

Justice Ibrahim Auta, the judge who was handpicked by the Abacha regime to head the kangaroo tribunal that sentenced renowned environmentalist and minority rights activist Ken Saro-Wiwa and his eight compatriots to death by hanging, today is the same Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, who is now facing corruption mess in the hands of the DSS.

Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court in Abuja, in whose home over $550,000 was allegedly found during the raid, has reportedly confessed to a deal between him and Justice Ibrahim Auta, the Chief Justice of the Federal High Court of Nigeria, by which $300,000 of the physical cash found in his bedroom was to have been shared between the two men.

The said Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court in Abuja, had reportedly confessed that the bribery for Justice Ibrahim Auta, the Chief Justice of the Federal High Court is that several High Court judges are assigned lucrative cases by the CJ, who then requests them to collect the bribes in dollars and transfer to him physically at home.

He revealed that the CJ has received monies from him several times after matching him with high profile cases that are then settled in favor of the highest bidders.

Now it is clear that Saro Wiwa’s death sentence was a product of corruption in the judiciary. Meaning that without corrupt judges, Saro Wiwa and many more would still have been alive today. Ah! We must kill this monster, corruption in the bench; it has killed many innocent souls.

A corrupt judge is a killer, a murderer, an assassin without bullet; sometimes he murders justice, sometimes he murders men.

A great lesson here is that if falsehood has travelled for twenty years, within one day the truth will catch up with it. Justice Ibrahim Auta after sentencing Saro Wiwa to death has been rising rapidly in his career and he became the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court in Nigeria and now the pandora box split opened. Evil doer might rise in his evil doing but the day Nemesis arrives his doorstep, his fall shall be concluded speedily!

Saro Wiwa rests in peace but his killers shall not, never find peace!

It’s justice time for the unjust Justices and the nemesis has just arrived Nigeria!

Ghana Begins Fuel Exports To Nigeria

Ghana has started exporting fuel and gas oil to the landlocked countries of West Africa.The state-owned Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company (BOST) Limited, is also supplying petroleum products from the same depot to Benin Republic and Nigeria. Ghana’s Minister of Petroleum, Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, who made this known at the meet-the-press series in Accra, said there were plans to extend the exports to Liberia in the coming months.


The minister said the vision of the government was to make Ghana the hub for the distribution of petroleum products in the West African sub-region.The Bolgatanga Petroleum Depot, with a capacity of 46 million litres of refined gasoline and gas oil, was re-inaugurated in August 2015.


Buah said Ghana had been ushered into a new gas era that would guarantee its energy security for the next two decades. “Despite the global downturn in the oil industry, we have managed to increase production“, Buah said. Ghana’s strategic stock was at an all-time high, with about one million metric tonnes of petroleum products IMPORTED from January to June 2016.


Ghana is planing to become the major marketer of refined petroleum product inWest Africa and we here in Nigeria are the giant of Africa with Nothing to show for it.Imagine Ghana achieving this feet with IMPORTED petroleum product and I wonder what is wrong with Nigeria before you export anything out of a country that means you have enough to give out.


We have more than four refineries in Nigeria and we can’t even produce enough product for our daily consumption.

MOSOP to generate database of contractors, others for Ogoni cleanup

The Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) has commenced the process of generating comprehensive database of graduates, contractors and artisans in Ogoniland ahead of the full implementation of the Ogoni cleanup.

MOSOP Publicity Secretary, Fegalo Nsuke disclosed this in a statement made available to the News of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja yesterday.

Nsuke said MOSOP President, Legborsi Pyagbara made the announcement after a meeting between the organisation and representatives of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in Port Harcourt.

Pyagbara explained that compiling the database of Ogoni professionals, graduates, skilled and unskilled personnel was necessary to access their capacity and the level of training required for the engagement of the Ogoni people for the cleanup.

“As part of our preparations, we will launch database of Ogoni graduates and contractors to enable us to have good understanding of our capacity as a people ahead of the full implementation of the clean-up.

“We also need data of artisans, skilled and unskilled personnel to enable us to determine our training requirements,” he said.

Oil Prices Surge 6% After OPEC Cuts Production For First Time Since 2008

The world’s leading oil nations – known as Opec – have struck a landmark deal at talks in Algeria that sees the countries agree to cut output and lift prices.

Oversupply has been dogging the world’s oil markets and hopes are that the first deal between the nations since 2008 will mark the end of the ‘dumping’ strategy previously favoured by the organisation’s members.

Immediately after the deal was agreed oil prices rose, with Brent Crude – the international benchmark – rising almost 6 per cent to nearly $49 a barrel last night.

Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said: ‘Opec made an exceptional decision today. After two and a half years, OPEC reached consensus to manage the market.’

He added: ‘We have decided to decrease the production around 700,000 barrels per day.’

Oil ministers said full details of the agreement would be finalised at a formal Opec meeting in November when an invitation to join cuts could also be extended to non-OPEC countries.

Markets now have to wait and see whether non-OPEC producers such as Russia, the United States and Canada will make cuts of their own.

The agreement sees output fall by about 700,000 barrels a day, although the cuts will not be distributed evenly across the cartel, with Iran being allowed to increase production.

The deal is even more remarkable given that disagreements between Iran and its regional rival Saudi Arabia had thwarted earlier attempts to reach any agreement.

Analysts said the deal shows Opec – whose members account for around 40 per cent of global supply – has finally woken up to the reality of oversupply and the damage its policies has caused the oil industry.

OPEC approves first oil output cut deal since 2008

Members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agreed yesterday, to cut oil output for the first time since 2008, with Saudi Arabia softening its stance on arch-rival, Iran, amid mounting pressure from low oil prices.

A report which quoted two sources in the organisation said the group would reduce output to 32.5 million barrels per day from current production of 33.24 million bpd.

The sources however could not tell how much each country will produce, saying that is to be decided at the next formal meeting of OPEC in November, when an invitation to join cuts could also be extended to non-OPEC countries such as Russia, sources said.

Oil prices jumped more than five per cent to trade above $48 per barrel after the outcome of OPEC’s informal meeting in Algeria took traders by surprise. Still, many said they wanted to see the details of the deal.

“We don’t know yet who’s going to produce what. I want to hear from the mouth of the Iranian oil minister that he’s not going to go back to pre-sanction levels. For the Saudis, it just goes against the conventional wisdom of what they’ve been saying,” said Jeff Quigley, director of energy markets at Houston-based Stratas Advisors.

Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Tuesday that Iran, Nigeria and Libya would be allowed to produce “at maximum levels that make sense” as part of any output limits which could be set as early as the next OPEC meeting in November.

That represents a strategy shift for Riyadh, which has said it would reduce output to ease a global glut only if every other OPEC and non-OPEC producer followed suit. Iran has argued it should be exempt from such limits as its production recovers after the lifting of EU sanctions earlier this year.

The Saudi and Iranian economies depend heavily on oil but in a post-sanctions environment, Iran is suffering less pressure from the halving in crude prices since 2014 and its economy could expand by almost 4 per cent this year, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Riyadh, on the other hand, faces a second year of budget deficits after a record gap of $98 billion last year, a stagnating economy and is being forced to cut the salaries of government employees.

Nigeria Loses N61trn To Non-passage Of PIB

The country has lost $200 billion, translating to N61.1 trillion, for failing to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), a Bill expected to provide the enabling law for the petroleum industry.

The Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), which revealed this yesterday, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to take urgent steps to halt the unending delay in the passage of the Bill.

This was contained in NEITI’s latest policy brief, titled: ‘The Urgency of a New Petroleum Sector Law.”

NEITI attributed some of the losses to projected investments, which it put at $120 billion ($15 billion yearly), that had been deferred due to regulatory uncertainty.

Economically, NEITI stated that the losses incurred due to the non-passage of the Bill had been huge, stressing that it had caused a haemorrhage on Nigeria’s foreign reserves and the value of the Naira as the country imported refined petroleum products worth over $26.4 billion.

According to the report, the Nigerian petroleum industry has continued to deteriorate due to the fact that the laws governing the industry are not sufficient for effective regulation and, in some instances, too outdated to be relevant in today’s global energy environment.

“Though eight years in the National Assembly, the motion around the PIB has been on for all of 16 years. Sadly, there is little about what is going on at the moment to suggest real movement or adequate learning from the past. The PIB ship should be rescued from a start-stop, unhurried and uncoordinated mode and brought swiftly ashore,” the report stated.

It then recommended that, “There is need for President Muhammadu Buhari to take the lead by investing his presidential capital on this all-important legislation, putting in place a mechanism for rallying the stakeholders to a consensus, and using this law as one of the pillars of the bridge to a much needed economic recovery.”

Comparing the situation to that in Ghana, NEITI asked Nigeria to learn from that country.

“The fact that Ghana passed the law for its petroleum sector two years after commencing the process should be a lesson for Nigeria.”

NEITI, however, lamented that there is no evidence that Nigeria has learnt from its past experiences to guarantee that the present journey will be any different.

It noted that the current efforts at reviving the process of enacting the law are already exhibiting disturbingly familiar patterns and have added a new dimension on whether the bill should be taken en bloc or passed piece-meal.

“The process of enacting a new law for Nigeria’s petroleum sector has gone on for far too long, and at enormous costs to the country. More urgency and better coordination are needed on the passage of this very important bill.

“The PIB is one of the most important bills ever to be contemplated in Nigeria’s history, yet the one that has taken the most time and generated the most activity without legislation.”

NEITI asserted that as an agency set up to enthrone transparency and accountability in the extractive industries, it had legitimate interest in a petroleum law for the country.

NEITI, therefore, recommended that an inclusive task team be urgently empanelled, with the president in the lead, and charged with building consensus among stakeholders.

“This task team should draw up a clear and well-communicated roadmap and fast-track the passage of the law in piece-meal rather than an omnibus approach,” it said.

Nigerian Student Wins British Petroleum Prize Award For Best Project

Ignatius Akpabio, an Indigene of Akwa Ibom state, has won the British Petroleum Prize for the best project on the course at the School of Computing Science and Digital Media’s 2016 Annual Awards Ceremony of the Robert Gordon University, UK.

A Nigerian Masters student who has graduated with distinction from Robert Gordon University (RGU) in Aberdeen is also celebrating picking up an industry prize for his academic performance.

Ignatius Akpabio (23),graduated with an MSc in IT for the Oil and Gas Industry in July, and was awarded the BP prize for the best project on the course at the School of Computing Science and Digital Media’s annual awards ceremony.

Ignatius said:

“I feel very excited to have won this prize as I didn’t expect it and I’m very grateful to the best project supervisor anyone can have, Dr Iain Pirie, for been very supportive of me during the implementation of my MSc project.”

Ignatius decided to embark on the course due to its unique nature in the higher education sector, as well as the growing importance of the oil and gas industry in his home country.

“Oil and gas being the major source of GDP in Nigeria means that the future of the country might well depend on the sector,” he said. “I’m a strong proponent of the ‘Nigeria of Tomorrow’ and therefore, in every possible way I want to contribute my own quota to the development of my country.

“Coming from an IT background, I would like to use IT to develop and improve the oil and gas sector.”

Ignatius developed an inventory management system for an oil and gas servicing company as part of his MSc project, which was able to monitor and ensure effective management of goods to and from the warehouses and also record sales and purchases of goods while automatically updating stock levels with each transaction.

He said: “Implementing the system was very challenging as it consists of a lot of functionalities. It was developed as a web application to aid authorised access from anywhere around the world as long as there is connection to the internet.”

Ignatius added: “The MSc course content itself is a very rich one which encompasses modules from core oil and gas engineering, petroleum geoscience and information technology.

“I have found my time at RGU very rewarding and the School, alongside dedication on my part, has helped me improve on my software development skills.

“Thanks to lecturers like Dr David Lonie and Dr Angela Siegel, I found software development very interesting and this enabled me to excel exceedingly well in both modules.”

Despite offers to stay back abroad, Akpabio has resolved to return home to pursue the Nigerian dream!

Oil Edges Higher Ahead Of OPEC Meeting

Oil prices rose modestly in Asia on Monday ahead of a producers’ meeting this week that might agree to cap supplies.

But analysts warned that optimism should be tempered by experience of two years of gluts and disagreement among members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

OPEC and Russia are slated to begin meeting later Monday on the sidelines of the International Energy Forum in Algiers, looking for ways to stabilise prices that have been depressed since 2014.Pre-forum talks last week between OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia and member Iran were bleak, with neither willing to commit to freezing production, sending prices plunging more than 3.0 percent on Friday.

However, both major contracts rebounded on Monday after Algeria’s energy minister said all options were still on the table, said OANDA market analyst Jeffrey Halley.

“With OPEC meeting on the sidelines of International Energy Forum for the next three days, and with the first (US) presidential debate happening tomorrow morning Asia time, expect oil to move on comments that range from hope to reality,” he said.

At about 0740 GMT US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for November delivery was up 29 cents at $44.77 while Brent crude gained 23 cents to $46.12.

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Recession: Those demanding asset sale are economic predators – Sani

A Nigerian senator, Shehu Sani, has described proponents of sale of the country’s national asset as “economic predators and profiteers who want to take advantage of the situation in the country.”

Mr. Sani, who is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign and Local Debts, said in a statement on Friday that “Nigeria’s capitalist forces raped Nigeria to recession and now they want to kill and bury it.”

Nigeria is currently going through one of the worst recessions in its history, due to the crash in oil prices.

Nigeria’s business mogul and Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, recently suggested that it makes more economic sense to sell off the country’s remaining asset like the multi-billion dollar Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited, and the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation Joint Ventures, and use the proceeds to help the economy out of recession.

Mr. Dangote’s suggestion, backed by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and the Governor of Central Bank, Godwin Emefiele, has sparked off intense debate among Nigerians.

Mr. Sani, from Kaduna State, condemned the suggestion as being against the interest of the nation.

He said privatization in Nigeria has not delivered the much anticipated efficiency and services other than enrich a few fronts and their masters.

“There is currently nothing to show for the sale of government houses, (and) firms. The advocates of sale of our collective national asset simply want to dispossess Nigerians and expand their business empire.

“They call themselves private sector and business men; they refused to invest in agriculture, solid minerals or science and technology, they simply want to buy off profitable public asset.

“There are no captains of industry in Nigeria other than crony businessmen, rent seekers, commission agents who depend on patronage from government.

Mr. Sani said the country’s businessmen prefer to buy off “ready-made” oil wells and gas from the Niger Delta, instead of investing funds to find oil and gas in Lake Chad and Benue trough.

He called on Nigerians to rise up against any attempt to sell the country’s asset, arguing that, “Selling our national asset to stem recession is like selling ones lungs to buy food.

“Recession should excite innovation and ideas and not justify roguery. …. Nigeria’s poor have always lived under systemic recession and depression and on the edge of extinction,” he said.

Oil Discovery In Lagos Excites Dangote

The recent discovery of oil in Lagos State in commercial quantity has been described as a good omen for the development of the oil and gas industry, which Dangote refinery will benefit from.

Speaking in his office in Lagos on Monday during a visit by the leaders of the League of African Development Students, the Group Executive Director, Dangote Industries Limited Mr. Devakumar Edwin, said it was a good development that Lagos was now an oil producing state, adding that this would further strengthen the country’s oil output.

He stated that Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical would be more than willing to work with the state and the Federal Government in ensuring that oil production from Lagos would add value to the economy of the state and the nation at large.

Edwin was quoted to have said in a statement issued by the firm, “We are very happy at the discovery of oil in Lagos. It is indeed a good and welcome development for us as a company. It will accelerate the growth level of the state and also be of immense benefit to the residents and the country at large.

“Not only will Lagos be regarded as an oil producing state and share out of the derivation fund, but Lagos will continue to be an invaluable partner to the Dangote Group with the Dangote refinery in Ibeju-Lekki.”

He pointed out that though crude oil prices might be unattractive at the moment, a situation that had made major International Oil Companies to slow down, “it did not mean that the oil and gas industry is devoid of development.”

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BREAKING: Militants destroy oil facility in Delta

A militant group, Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate have destroyed a major crude oil delivery line belonging to the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company.


According to reports, the pipeline was attacked at about 11:30pm on Sunday around Ughelli North Local Government Area of the state.


The spokesperson of the group, Aldo Agbalaja claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement on Monday.

Details later…

Shehu Sani urges support for militarisation of Niger Delta

Disturbed by the unenviable oil receipts following renewed militancy in the Niger Delta, human rights activist and representative of Kaduna Central in the Senate, Shehu Sani, has urged Nigerians to back the ongoing militarisation of the area.

“As a state, we have a duty to apply force on anyone who picks up arms against our country. By that action, you have crossed the line of civility. And we cannot fold our arms and say that because you have grievances, you should be allowed to blow pipelines and kill people,” he remarked.

Sani, who spoke in Kaduna, blamed the Federal Government for the delay in the release of the Chibok girls held since April 14, 2014.

“What we need to understand is that even if we are going to opt for dialogue, a message needs to be sent clearly to the militants who pick up arms against the state that you cannot win militarily. If you allow armed insurgency to go uncountered, it is simply going to be a recipe for lawlessness,” he stated.

“A lot have been pumped in to pacify the militants but little into addressing the problems of the people of Niger Delta.

“What Jonathan did was to buy peace by pumping in money, thus created a new rich elitist bourgeoisie from the region.

“Elements who picked up arms against the state were enriched to have enough money to play around with. But, it does not amount to addressing the problems of infrastructural decay of the area. If you pay militants stipends every month for them not to bomb, if you take some of them to study abroad, if you give them money to buy houses and cars, you are not addressing the basic problems of infrastructure, under-development and poverty in the region,” Sani added.

Pipeline fire erupts in Delta community

Barely three months after a pipeline caught fire in Idheze community, a similar incident has been recorded in Oleh, another Isoko settlement.

Oleh is the headquarters of Isoko South Local Council of Delta State.

The President-General of Oleh Community, Chief James Obeuwou, told newsmen that the facility belongs to the Agip (Eni-NAOC) group, disclosing that a reasonable quantity of crops were lost to the incident.

He said the fire broke out about 1:00 a.m. yesterday, noting that: “A glow lit the sky as if a volcano was erupting in a distance. There was a sound like high-pressured water fall almost like a siren. People living around the area started running for their lives because it was frightening. It was like the world was coming to an end. We have not witnessed anything like this in the community.”

Obeuwou alleged that representatives of the oil company, after entering a mutual agreement with the host community to cordon off the area, later connived with security agents to continue operations.

The council chairman, Sir Ithiako Constantine Ikpokpo, while confirming the inferno, said: The council secretary and Divisional Police Officer (DPO) called me at about 1.30 a.m. that a pipeline had erupted.”

He called on the people to be calm, just as he advised the management of Agip to put its equipment in good shape.

NSCDC Destroys 15 Illegal Refineries, Gears Up For “Ember” Months

The Commandant General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Abdullahi Gana Muhammadu, said the corps has destroyed 15 illegal refineries and illegal dumps, in the creeks.

In a statement, Thursday, from the corps spokesman, Emmanuel Okeh, Gana commended the effort of the personnel as well as the Commandant of Rivers State command, Mrs. Helen Amakiri, “for a successful operation in the creek leading to the destruction of 15 illegal refineries and illegal dumps.”

Gana also appreciated the effort of the personnel across the Nation for providing security during the Eid-el-Kabir celebration.

He said ”I am happy with the pro activeness and doggedness of all of you in tackling insecurity in this year’s Eid-el-Kabir celebration, and I pray that you keep it up at all times to justify the mandate of the Corps ”.

The Corps helmsman reiterated that in this ”ember” season, the Corps has a lot to do especially in protecting Critical Infrastructure.

Gana noted that, the-get-rich-quick syndrome of the youths during this period is usually high considering the fact that “instead of celebrating Christmas festival in line with the Christian doctrine, youths usually take to crime and criminalities, in trying to grab at all cost what do not belong to them”.

He therefore urged the security operatives, “to re-strategies the modus operandi in order to nip in the bud such vices.”

He however debunked the speculations there is rift among the Management Team and urged the sectional heads to brief their Staff adequately against peddling false information on issues they are not clarified about.

Death Of Tompolo’s Father Threatens Ceasefire In Niger Delta

The death, last week of Chief Thomas Ekpemupolo, father of ex-militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo (Tompolo), is threatening the fragile peace in the Niger Delta, Reuters reported on Monday, saying militants were becoming restive over the circumstances of the death.

The militants massed in the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), that had dealt heavy blows to oil and gas installations in the region, had entered into an unofficial ceasefire with the federal government, pending formal negotiations of their grievances last month.

But the death of the father of the militant leader, the report said, might reverse the little gains of the peace process and lead to the resumption of hostilities as the militants were said to be holding the military vicariously liable for the incident.

The octogenarian had fallen while fleeing an army raid on his hometown in May and injured his leg, which had to be amputated two months later, said a spokesman for his son, Tompolo.

The old man died last week from complications arising from the amputation. And the NDA militants were said to be agitated by this.

Although security sources said Tompolo had links to the NDA, which had claimed responsibilities for the attacks on oil and gas installations, which incidentally began shortly after corruption charges were brought against him, he had persistently denied any involvement in the acts.

“In a nutshell, [the] government caused the death of my father,” Frank Ekpemupolo, another son, said at a gathering of 400 mourners at his father’s compound in Warri, the largest city in Delta State.

Mourners including community chiefs, politicians and villagers accused troops of harassing people in the fishing communities dotted along the region’s waterways.

An Avengers spokesman told Reuters the military was “harassing poor people of the Niger Delta”. The military denies it, saying troops are merely searching for militants and criminals.

Several new militant groups have sprung up in the last few weeks, each with its own demands, and some have vowed to launch a new wave of attacks.

Community leaders say they are concerned that the government has not contacted militants or unveiled a negotiation team, three weeks after the Avengers said they were ready for the promised talks.

“We haven’t been contacted, but we are not worried,” said the Avengers spokesman.
Captain Mark Anthony, a spokesman for the Niger Delta Liberation Force, a defunct militant group, said the “government’s muteness” since the Avengers announced a ceasefire was creating “a security concern for everybody”.

“They have only stopped bombing temporarily. It doesn’t mean they are tired of bombing,” he said.
An army offensive was launched in late August against militant camps which led to the deaths of five people and the arrests of 23 others.

Eric Omare, spokesman for the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), which represents one of the region’s largest ethnic groups, said statements by President Muhammadu Buhari that militants would be treated like Boko Haram jihadists prompted fears that the offer of talks was a ruse to prepare for a military onslaught.

Tensions in Warri are concentrated along its murky brown waterways — used by fishermen, commuters and thieves stealing crude oil — where fleeting encounters with strangers can end in bloodshed.

Boats slow down and their occupants raise their arms when they encounter naval patrol boats fitted with machine guns.

Fishermen say they fear being mistaken for militants and shot. Gunmen disguised as priests killed three soldiers last month.

An official who did not want to be named said “arrangements” were being made to resume dialogue with the militants.

He said the government wanted each militant group to send representatives, rather than acting through intermediaries as in the past.

Malabu oil deal: EFCC to grill ex-minister, others over $1.092bn cash

Former Petroleum Resources Minister Dan Etete is set to visit the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to answer questions on the controversial Malabu Oil Block (OPL 245).

The EFCC is searching for $1,092,040 billion paid by Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Nigeria Limited (SNEPCO) and Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited (NAE) into an escrow account.

The anti-graft agency has raised a team to grill the ex-minister and all those implicated in the deal.

Those implicated are six former ministers in the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, a former Permanent Secretary, a former Head of State, a former Senate President, a former National Security Adviser (NSA), some senators, and some serving and former members of the House of Representatives.

The EFCC may also interact with Mohammed Abacha, who has raised issues on the oil block.

Etete, who was central to the auctioning of the oil block, has notified he EFCC of his readiness to explain his own side of the deal.

A source, who spoke in confidence, said: “We have made significant headway on the ongoing probe of the oil block. The former oil minister is set to state his own side.

“Etete sent his lawyer to inform the agency of his plans to return to Nigeria for interaction with our team.

“This is a good development because Etete is central to the auctioning of the oil block and he is a stakeholder in Malabu Oil Limited.”

The source, who pleaded not to be named so as not to jeopardise the probe, added: “This leg of investigation will enable us to track and address how to recover the $85 million in a NatWest Bank account.

“The cash is said to be part of the $1,092,040 billion remitted into an escrow account by Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Nigeria Limited (SNEPCO) and Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited (NAE).

“The Federal Government is interested in recovering the $85 million but we must follow the due process. The UK government a few weeks ago, expressed its willingness to return funds but we have to submit substantial proof, beyond reasonable doubt, that such money is ours.”

Etete’s coming may lead to the invitation of Mohammed Abacha.

The source added: “We may invite Mohammed Abacha for interaction if Etete lives up to his pledge to meet our team. He is one of those who have raised issues on the Oil Block (OPL 245).

“The Abachas said they have a lot of documents relating to the deal. You will also recall that OPL 245 was allocated to Malabu on behalf of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources by Mr. Dan Etete in his capacity as the then Presidential Advisor on Petroleum and Energy.”

The Abacha family-owned firm, Pecos Energy Limited, and Mohammed Sani (aka Mohammed Sani Abacha) had vide a letter dated 20th January 2010 from A.A Umar & Co., claimed that they had bought OPL 245 from Malabu Oil and Gas Limited for US$ 1.3 billion and that Malabu had without their knowledge, disposed of their interests in OPL 245 to Shell Nigeria Ultra Deep Limited (SNUD).

It was gathered that the ruling of a judge in London last December had created new grounds for investigation.

Justice Edis of the Southwark Crown Court, London, on December 14, 2015 stopped the payment of N17 billion to Malabu Oil and Company.

The judge said he was “not sure that the Goodluck Jonathan administration acted in the interest of Nigeria by approving the transfer of the money to Malabu.

He said: “I cannot simply assume that the FGN which was in power in 2011 and subsequently until 2015 rigorously defended the public interest of the people of Nigeria in all respects.”

By the terms of Block 245 Resolution Agreement, Shell agreed to the release of the outstanding Signature Bonus and to appoint an escrow agent for the purpose of paying $1,092,040 billion to the Federal Government.

It was learnt that $982,040,000 was the total contribution of NAE to the settlement but SNEPCO contributed $110,000,000 to make up the required $1,092,040 billion for the Federal Government to settle all claims and or issues over OPL 245 in accordance with the agreement.

There are fears that the $1,092,040 billion in an Escrow Account was “used for the settlement of the FGN-Malabu Oil Limited agreement on OPL 245”.

The EFCC has been trying to unravel whether or not the cash was paid to the government or if the appointed escrow agent managed the $1,092,040 billion and shared it to some beneficiaries for the settlement of disputes between the government and Malabu Oil Limited.

A memo submitted to International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes by SNUD gave further details. Shell said: “In 1998, during the President Abacha military regime, OPL 245 had been allocated to Malabu on behalf of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources by Mr. Dan Etete in his capacity as the then Presidential Advisor on Petroleum and Energy. Malabu was an indigenous Nigerian company, incorporated on 24 April 1999, with Nigerian shareholders, apparently for the purpose of petroleum prospecting.

“In March 2000, Malabu approached Shell within a farm-in proposal. Malabu was looking for an international oil company to take a 40 per cent equity stake in the OPL 245 licence itself and ‘carry’ Malabu in developing the block i.e. the international oil company would take all the exploration and development risk by funding Malabu’s share of the costs (including the acquisition, exploration and development costs of the block) as well as its own.

“Those costs would then be recovered by the international oil company from Malabu’s share oil production.”

Operation Crocodile Smile: Army destroys bunkering site, tanker in Delta

As part of the exercise to free the Niger-Delta region of the menace of militancy, bunkering, kidnapping and other related vices, the men of the Nigeria Army, 19 Battalion, Koko, Warri North Local Government Area of Delta State have destroyed an illegal bunkering site and a tanker.


The exercise, which the military said is still ongoing in the region, is meant to send a red alert to the militants to retreat and desist from their nefarious act or be ready to face the wrought of the Nigeria military.

The 19 Battalion, under Lt. Col. Anthony Ozemhoya, has assured residents of the area of relative peace, adding that the purpose for the ‘Operation Crocodile Smile’ is to provide adequate security for the residents and government facilities, mostly in the Niger Delta region.


Ozemhoya stressed the need to keep the country and its people safe and ensure that its economy is protected from miscreants that are bent on destroying and bombing of pipelines, thus sabotaging the economy of the nation.

FG targets 70% petroleum products export

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, has restated government’s commitment to increase petroleum products exports by 70 per cent as a measure to earn more foreign exchange.

Kachikwu, who made this commitment during his maiden visit to the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), said government is preparing a robust policy document that is focused on repositioning the sector to achieve higher goals.

He therefore, emphasised the need for DPR, as the foremost regulatory institution, to position itself in assisting the government in achieving its targets for the oil and gas sector.

Kachikwu also challenged the workers to improve their skills to enable them rise up to the challenges that lie ahead, in view of the changing dynamics in the oil and gas sector and the economy at large.

He promised to assist its management to put in place a sustainable pension scheme and other benefits as a means of incentivising workers for optimal performance.

He advised the senior members of staff to mentor their subordinates and also recommend appropriate training programmes to help breach any identified gaps.

He further advised that older officers should consciously prepare for effective transition by grooming their successors, while still in service for the system not to suffer shortage of knowledgeable personnel whenever they retire.

The Minister, who commended the DPR management on the ongoing infrastructure transformation of the headquarters building into an edifice befitting of its status as a key regulator, recalled the sterling role played by DPR in mitigating the adverse effects of the fuel scarcity on the population.

He enthused that it was largely owing to this critical effort that we are experiencing stability in the downstream sector.

The Director of DPR, Mordecai Danteni Baba Ladan, recalled that the minister’s visit to DPR should have been in August, but was shelved due to exigencies of duty, expressing gratitude that the visit eventually held, since the Department and staff were eager to showcase their value to the industry.

He also affirmed that the Minister was quite well informed on the role the DPR plays in the oil and gas industry as its foremost regulator.

Group asks FG to withdraw JTF from Imo oil communities

A pressure group, Imo Mass Movement, IMM, has called on the Federal Government, to quickly withdraw the men of the Joint Military Task Force, deployed to the Awarra Court Area in Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State, to avoid truncating the ongoing conflict resolution process in the area.

This was stated in a release yesterday in Owerri and signed by the Publicity Secretary of IMM, Comrade Marcellinus Enyia.

The group said the peace building process has already been threatened by the deployment of the military in the affected areas adding that, the use of military, which has opted for the use of “force” as alternative to peace would further displace the people in the oil rich communities as well as cripple their social lives and economic activities. They also expressed disappointment that at a point of recording commendable strides in restoring peace in the troubled areas, the military entered.

They also alleged that some disgruntled elements from the affected communities and government officials are bent on destroying the peace process which they said had long been initiated by the Conflict Prevention Committee, CPC, of Partners for Peace in the Niger Delta, (P4P), Imo State Network.

“The violent conflict in Awarra Court Area is cause by long period of neglect by the multinational oil companies operating in the court area.”

“The Imo Mass Movement (IMM) note with dismay the recent deployment of the joint military taskforce to Awarra Court Area in Ohaji-Egbema Local Government Area (L.G.A) Imo State by the Imo State Government in connivance with some elites of Awarra Court Area of Ohaji-Egbema L.G.A.”

“Since July 2, 2016 after the Peace Building Consultative meeting of members of Conflict Prevent Committee (CPC) of Partners for Peace in the Niger Delta (P4P) Imo State Network with the leaderships and commanding hierarchy of the two armed militant groups – Niger Delta Rescue Force (NDRF) and Niger Delta Red Squad (NDRS) met in Ochia and Awarra Autonomous Communities respectively to agree on temporary cease fire. We note that the meeting was very fruitful because since after the meeting and cease fire agreement, members of the communities who were taking refuge in neighbouring communities started returning to the communities to commence their economic and social life.”

“IMM call on Imo State and the Federal government of Nigeria not to use military option to crush the upsurge of militancy in the Awarra Court Area which has crippled economic and social activities in the area since over three years the violent conflict got escalated.”

“On the foregoing, we call on the Imo State and Federal Government of Nigeria to compel the multinational oil companies operating in the area – Waltersmith Petroman Oil Ltd, Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) to stop the ongoing policy of divide and rule.”

“Finally, we call on the Imo State and Federal Government of Nigeria to immediately withdraw the joint military taskforce recently deployed to Awarra Court Area and to engage the services of the Peace building and mediation experts to continue the ongoing peace building process in the area. Violent cannot be a solution to violent – Awarra Court Area need peace.” they stated.

‘Lagos more valuable than Niger Delta’ – Sanusi

Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi has said that Nigeria is better off with Lagos than with the Niger Delta despite the oil deposits in the latter.

Sanusi also condemned Nigeria’s long dependence on oil as a sole source of income and the determination of some persons to divide the nation over the oil.

The Lagos story is a story of what Nigeria can do with itself – transparency, consistency, regulations.
That’s why today Lagos state is 30% Nigerian non-oil GDP, and Lagos can do without oil. This country is better off with Lagos than with the Niger Delta. Let’s not make that mistake. We should be together as a country,” the Emir wrote via Instagram on Monday, September 5, 2016.

Every part of the country is important. But, let us not be so obsessed by a resource, because we have had the commodity driven model, and we are blind to the potentials of an alternative model.

Lagos doesn’t need oil. What is oil anyway? It is a raw material. You don’t drink it. You need it to move your vehicles. Now, you have electricity. You need it to fill your generator. Now you have solar power, and biomass.

The future of oil is not there. So, those few people who are trying to break up this country over oil, after sometime that oil will be worthless,” he added.

The Niger Delta has been the centre of crisis due to the activities of militant groups, many of whom seek to stake a superior claim to the oil in the region.

Court Orders Evacuation Of Petroleum Products From Seized Tank Farm

Acquiescing to the prayers of an indigenous oil firm, Zone 4 Energy Limited, a Federal High Court, Lagos has ordered First Bank’s receiver manager, Emmanuel Oyebanji, to allow an oil marketing company, Chukelad Nigeria Limited, to evacuate its 2,804,735 litres of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) and 1,927,727 litres of Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK) stored in a tank farm belonging to Zone 4.

The tank farm, which is within the Calabar Free Trade Zone (CFTZ), is under the control of Oyebanji, who was appointed receiver/manager by First Bank of Nigeria Limited, pursuant to courts order made on July 1, 2016.

Ruling on an application by counsel to Zone 4, Mr. Lanre Ogunlesi (SAN), Justice Abudulazeez Anka held that the products should be evacuated with immediate effect.

Another judge of the court, Justice Saliu Saidu, had on July 1, empowered the bank’s receiver manager to take over the entire assets of Zone 4 Energy at the CFTZ, over an alleged debt owed the bank. But, Zone 4 Energy said it had a prior agreement with Chukelad Nigeria in a supporting affidavit, to use the tank farm to store its AGO and DPK, before Justice Saidu made the order.

Zone 4 Energy said Chukelad Nigeria also paid to use the tank farm, adding that the bank’s receiver manager took over the assets, while Chukelad Nigeria was loading its trucks at the depot.

“The situation is that Chukelad Nigeria limited is the owner of the property and not liable to any of the parties before the court. Rather, it sees same as his belongings, which unfortunately comes into the hands of a receiver manager, while performing his functions.

“I further implore the learned counsel for the plaintiff to take his pound of flesh without a drop of blood. The application is proper before the court…hence the application succeeds, the objection is accordingly over-ruled. The products lying in the tank farm, is accordingly ordered to be evacuated in presence of the registrar, monitoring same with immediate effect,” Justice Anka held.

The court also heard the motion to discharge the order granted by Justice Saidu, which was filed on behalf of Zone 4 by Ogunlesi, on the ground that condition precedent to confer jurisdiction to the court was not fulfilled.

Ogunlesi also argued that there were misrepresentation and suppression of material facts by the plaintiff, which formed the basis of the order granted. But Oyebanji vehemently opposed the application to vacate the order. Justice Anka adjourned till September 8, to rule on the application to set aside the order.

Lagos To Wait For Crude Export To Get 13% Derivation

In spite of the commencement of production from its newly discovered oil wells, Lagos State may have to wait until crude oil export commences before it joins the league of states benefitting from the 13 per cent derivation principle.

This clarification was made yesterday at Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting.

This emerged just as allocation available for sharing by three tiers of government for the month of July dipped by N115.369 billion to N443.663 billion as against June’s allocation of N559.032 billion.

The reduction was caused by sustained attacks on oil installations by Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) leading to disruptions both in oil production and sales.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Dr. Mahmoud Dutse-Isa, who spoke with journalists after the FAAC meeting, said Lagos would begin to enjoy 13 per cent derivation when crude export commence from its oil wells.

“Lagos state is yet to start enjoying from derivation principle. When crude oil export commences from the wells, the revenue realised from such wells will be allocated to them,” he said.

For the month of August, the gross statutory revenue stood at N287.819 billion, an amount lower than N538.788 billion received in previous month by N250.970 billion.

“Crude oil export volume decreased by 2.8 million barrels in April 2016 partly because of a subsisting force manjeur declared at Forcados terminals. Also, shut-in and shut down of pipelines at other terminals due to the activities of vandals and for maintenance impacted negatively on production. There was a revenue decrease of $102.17 million in federation export revenue despite the increase in average price of crude oil from $38.64 in March to $42.21 per barrel in April, 2016”, the permanent secretary explained.

From the statutory revenue of N258.151 billion shared, federal government got highest amount N129.212billion, states got N65.538 billion, local government N50.527 billion while oil producing states got N 12.874 billion as 13 per cent derivation.

The balance in Excess Crude Account stood at $3.03 billion.

Again, Buhari Orders NNPC To Search For Oil In North

For the second time in three weeks, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has received an express order from President Muhammadu Buhari to explore for oil in the North.

This time, the President directed the national oil firm to commence exploration activities in the Benue Trough. The Benue Trough is a major geological formation underlying a large part of Nigeria, extending about 1,000km North-East from the Bight of Benin to Lake Chad.

The Group Managing Director, NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, disclosed the President’s directive on the oil exploration in the North while receiving a delegation from the Benue State Government at the corporation’s headquarters in Abuja.

About three weeks ago, the President had directed the corporation to speed up its prospect for oil in the region, specifically in the Chad Basin and Kolmani River, following the reported discovery of hydrocarbons by Shell in the area.

The 19 northern state governors are also fired up about the prospect of oil production in their domain as they have hired a British firm through the Northern Nigeria Development Company, which they jointly own, to carry out the exploration activities.

But energy analysts and several socio-cultural and other interest groups on Tuesday expressed divergent views on the pressure by the President on the NNPC as regards oil exploration in the North.

The NNPC GMD, in a statement from the corporation on Tuesday, said the new directive was in line with the current efforts to guarantee energy security of the country.

Read More:

“If Buhari Finds Oil In the North Nigeria Will Breakup” – Femi Fani-Kayode

The President, Muhammadu Buhari has in recent times stepped up efforts to find oil in the North of the country, a development that former Aviation minister Femi Fani-Kayode finds interesting.


Fani-Kayode believes that if this is to happen and Buhari is successful in finding oil in the North then he and those in the North will call for a breakup of the country.


The lawyer took to his Twitter page to react to the news of the step up in efforts to find oil in the region, particularly in the core North. His hope, according to his tweets, is that Oil is indeed found and that there’s a call for the breakup of the nation which it seems he’d be fine with as he believes a peaceful separation might be best for the nation.


With calls for secession from the Niger Delta and parts of the East, this seems to show that Fani-Kayode is of the opinion that the nation is unsustainable as it is.


He said that without Southern oil the North is nothing.


The President, according to Fani-Kayode, is desperate to find oil in the North and this can only be a good thing.


You can check out Femi Fani-Kayode’s tweets below.


Femi Fani-Kayode

Femi Fani-Kayode1

Femi Fani-Kayode2

Femi Fani-Kayode3

Oil Drops In Cautious Trade Ahead Of OPEC

Oil prices dropped Wednesday, as traders trod cautiously before this week’s OPEC meeting in Vienna, and set aside upbeat Chinese data. The market has however rebounded strongly from January lows of under $30 per barrel, and last week topped $50 for the first time this year on production outages in Canada and Nigeria.

But oil has since retreated and remain at less than half of their 2014 peaks of over $100 because of chronic global oversupply. At about 1145 GMT, US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for delivery in July weakened 64 cents to $48.46 per barrel.

Brent North Sea crude for August delivery, a new contract, also fell 64 cents to $49.25 a barrel compared with Tuesday’s close. “Brent crude continues to be constrained by the $50 per barrel level ahead of tomorrow’s bi-annual OPEC meeting,” noted Inenco analyst Dorian Lucas.

The 13-member Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meets on Thursday for its first meeting with Saudi Arabia’s new oil minister — a close ally of Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has been outspoken about not reducing oil production. The recent recovery in prices has eased pressure on the group to turn down the taps at this week’s gathering, analysts say. “This week’s OPEC meeting could be quite interesting, although with oil prices where they are, I would be very surprised if any plans to cut or freeze production are announced,” noted Oanda analyst Craig Erlam.

OPEC, which pumps around a third of the world’s oil or some 30 million barrels every day, has historically responded to a fall in prices by cutting production. But in the current cycle producers led by kingpin Saudi Arabia have changed strategy, maintaining output even with lower prices in order to pressure US shale producers.

Credit: vanguardngr

Ijaw Youths Want ‘Unfair Allocation’ Of Oil Blocks Probed

The Ijaw Youth Council Worldwide on Monday warned that there would be more hostilities in the Niger Delta region unless President Muhammadu Buhari probes unfair allocation of oil blocks in the country.

The IYC President, Mr. Udengs Eradiri, gave the warning at a news conference at the Ijaw House, Yenagoa, as part of activities to celebrate this year’s Isaac Boro Day.

Many shops in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, were shut on Monday following a directive by the IYC that shop owners should not open for business as a mark of honour for Boro.

Eradiri’s warning came barely five days after the Niger Delta Avengers listed some oil blocks allegedly owned by former Vice-President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar; a former Minister of Defence, Gen. Theophilus Danjuma; ex-Minister of Petroleum, Alhaji Riwalnu Lukman; and other northerners and south-westerners in the region.

The NDA had among others issued them a two-week ultimatum to shut down operations at the oil blocks and evacuate their workers from the locations or have them attacked.

Eradiri said that the indiscriminate sharing of oil blocks were allegedly carried out when Buhari served as Petroleum minister or Head of State.

He accused the President of denying Niger Delta people ownership of oil blocks at the time while allegedly allocating same to his kinsmen and their cronies like a bazaar.

He said, “One of the most salient issues that if not addressed will lead to more crisis is the issue of the oil blocks.

“President Buhari was a one-time Petroleum minister and Head of State in this country. Let us go and do an assessment of that time. The time when criminally they shared our oil blocks was under his watch either as Petroleum minister or as Head of State. It is in one of those times.

“Oil blocks were shared to one group. Look at it, either the person (owner of oil bloc) was a former military president or a relative of the military president or an in-law to a military president.”

Eradiri insisted that the allocation of the oil blocks did not follow due process as outlined by the government.

He called for a review of the oil blocks to redress injustice that such a manipulated process had brought against oil-producing communities of the Niger Delta.

“And that is one of the biggest issues that if not addressed, there will be more Niger Delta Avengers, you will see groups and groups that will spring up until the issue is addressed,” he warned.


Credit: Punch

Nigeria Loses 400,000bpd As Shell Declares Force Majeure

With the declaration of force majeure on Bonny Light exports by Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, about 400,000 barrels per day of Nigeria’s production has now been shut in.

Force majeure is a legal clause that allows an oil firm to stop shipments without breaching contracts.

The oil major said in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Mr. Bamidele Odugbesan, on Wednesday that the force majeure took effect from Tuesday, May 10, 2016.

It said the decision came as a result of a leak that led to the closure of the Nembe Creek Trunk line for repairs by the operator, Aiteo Eastern E & P Company Limited.

The SPDC did not disclose the cause of the leak in the statement.

Shell had in February declared force majeure on liftings from the Forcados export terminal following the disruption in production caused by the spill on its subsea crude export pipeline.

A group named Niger Delta Avengers claimed responsibility for the attack on the Shell oil pipeline, which shut down the 250,000bpd export terminal.

Commissioned in 2010, the 100-km NCT feeds the Bonny export terminal, and the disruption will affect the loading of seven cargoes, representing a combined volume 217,000 bpd. It has a capacity of 600,000 bpd, according to Shell’s website.

The halt in Bonny Light loadings comes less than a week after Chevron said 35,000 bpd of its Nigerian net crude production had been halted by an attack on its offshore Okan facility, and three months after Shell suspended production at Forcados.

If all Bonny Light production is cut, it will bring output to below 1.5 million bpd for the first time since September 1994, according to Energy Information Administration data. Nigeria exports almost all its production.


Credit : Punch

South Africa To Stop Buying Crude Oil From Nigeria, Opens Talks With Iran

Nigeria’s woes in the area of dwindling revenue from crude oil sales is expected to heighten in the next couple of days, as the South African Petroleum Industry Association, SAPIA, yesterday, stated that South Africa would likely stop importing crude oil from Nigeria following the lifting of the sanctions on Iran.

fuel-pump Executive Director of the SAPIA, Avhapfani Tshifularo, told journalists that the potential return of Iranian oil exports to South Africa threaten to displace barrels from Saudi Arabia and Nigeria that plugged the supply gap when sanctions were imposed on Iran, which is OPEC’s fifth biggest producer.

He said: “The re-emergence of Iranian crude oil provides options for those willing to buy from Iran.
Iranian imports are likely to displace the Nigerian and Saudi Arabian crudes, since they seem to have filled the gap since South Africa stopped importing Iranian crude oil.”

Furthermore, data compiled by SAPIA from refiners showed that South Africa stopped importing crude oil from Iran in 2013, following which its oil imports from Nigeria rose significantly, with Saudi Arabia emerging the highest exporter of crude to the country.

Recent data released by the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, had showed that a sharp decline was recorded in revenue accruable to the Federal Government from the petroleum sector, as the country’s earnings from crude oil export dropped to N5.271 trillion for the nine month period, January to September 2015.

The NBS, in its Foreign Trade Statistics for the Third Quarter of 2015, had noted that the value of Nigeria’s crude oil export for the nine month period 2015, represented a decline of 45.39 per cent or N4.381 trillion when compared to crude oil export of N9.652 trillion recorded in the same period in 2014.

It also represented a decline of 55.67 per cent or N6.62 trillion when compared to total crude oil earnings of N11.891 trillion recorded in 2014.

Giving a breakdown of Nigeria’s crude oil earnings in nine-month 2015, the NBS data revealed that the country earned N1.675 trillion from crude oil export in the first quarter of 2015, N1.984 trillion and N1.611 trillion in the second and third quarters respectively.

This was in contrast to crude oil export earnings of N3.234 trillion, N3.269 trillion and N3.149 trillion for the first, second and third quarters respectively, while in the fourth quarter of 2014, the country earned N2.239 trillion from the export of the commodity in the fourth quarter of 2015.

Further breakdown of the 2015 figures showed that the country earned N505.898 billion, N591.964 billion, N577.361 billion, N698.387 billion and N668.526 billion in January, February, March, April and May respectively.

In the months of June, July, August and September, Nigeria’s crude oil export stood at N617.364 billion, N572.813 billion, N512.823 billion and N525.857 billion respectively.

Source: Vanguard

Fear Grips OPEC Over Iran’s Threat To Increase Production By 500,000bpd

Members of Organisation for Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, are beginning to panic after Iran declared on Saturday that it would increase its oil export production by 500,000 barrels per day.

Since the sanction was lifted, oil prices hit their lowest since 2003 on Monday.

The United States and European Union on Saturday revoked sanctions that had cut Iran’s oil exports by about 2 million barrels per day (bpd) since their pre-sanctions 2011 peak to little more than 1 million bpd.

Despite repeated warnings and pleadings by OPEC, Iran, also a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), insisted on Sunday that it would go ahead with export increase.

Worries about Iran’s return to an already oversupplied oil market drove down Brent crude LCOc1 to $27.67 a barrel early on Monday, its lowest since 2003. The benchmark was at $28.59 by 0921 GMT, down 38 cents from its settlement on Friday.

As at Friday, January 15, OPEC’s daily basket price stood at $24.74 a barrel, and analysts still predict a drop to $10 as Iran starts pumping more oil into the market.

U.S. crude CLc1 was down 38 cents at $29.04 a barrel, not far from a 2003 low of $28.36 hit earlier in the session.
“Iranian export is coming at a very bad time,” analysts at Barclays said.

The ban cut the country off with nearly 80 million population from the global financial system, drastically reduced the exports of a major oil producer and imposed severe economic hardship on ordinary Iranians.

In retaliation, Iran wants the world to feel the hardship it suffered through the years of denial, as the country sees its recent freedom as a means of making more money and boosting the economic standard of its people through increased export.

What this means for OPEC members, is untold hardship as it is presently being experienced, with members countries already cutting down on developmental projects and continuous fall in the value of their currencies. For, instance the official value of the naira, Nigeria’s currency is presently N196.5k to one dollar but it traded at about N297 to the dollar in the parallel market.



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We Will Focus On Price Modulation, Not Subsidy Removal – Kachikwu

The Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, said the Federal Government would focus on price modulation of petroleum products to ensure efficiency and provision of the products.


Kachikwu said this while addressing newsmen on Thursday in Abuja.


He said the price modulation had nothing to do with the removal or existence of subsidy.


“There is too much emotion around subsidy issue, but our focus is that the Federal Government should not spend as much as it spends every year on subsidy.

First, it is an issue of irresponsibility; this year we have spent about one trillion and given the state of the finances, we have to save money from every means.

What I am trying to do is to make sure that whatever we do, the poor people will not be affected. So whatever we are going to do will be intellectual,’’ he said.


On the way forward, the minister said that the NNPC would review the template of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) and achieve reduction in the cost for clearing goods.


According to him, foreign exchange provisions will be looked into, to ensure stability in the system.


He added that efforts were being made to ensure more allocation to the oil industry to ensure certainty in the system.


He said that Nigeria consumed below 40 million litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) per day, adding that a reduction in smuggled products would put the level of consumption between 35 and 36 million per day.


“If we take this analysis, we can deliver products today with the price of oil where it is and also sell close to the prices we have today.

It is not that we have removed subsidy but the application of market forces will enable you to sell products as close to the prices we have today.

Is it going to be between N87 and N90; we will have to get PPPRA to do those templates and at 35 million (litres) we may sell products at N87; by the time we consume 36, we may be selling at N90 or N91,’’ he said.


He said a band had been approved between N87 and N97 to look at price modulation, adding that it would look at price at every given time of crude.


The minister said that the price would no longer be fixed, noting that the price of crude would continue to determine what the price of product would be.


Kaichukwu said that the report that pump price would go back to N97 in 2016 was not true, adding that a band of N87 and N97might be adopted.


“Today the prices are largely close to N87; there might be no need to change the price by January, and it might go up or come down slightly by April.


It is all the dynamics of what the crude is; so, I have not put a static figure, myself and PPPRA will sit down and do the calculations and be able to announce what price PMS will sell in January,’’ he said.


The Minister added that there was no anticipation of any major shift in regards to the price of crude.


On the state of the refinery, he said that as at October, the four refineries performed at zero level but noted that in a few days, the Port Harcourt and Kaduna refineries might be able to bring up some production.


He said that the refineries would not be relied on until the state of their maintenance was completed, adding that Federal Government had agreed that it would not sell them at their present state.


“We are going to try and repair them; we are going to find external funding to be able to repair them, and my preference is to find somebody who is a technical partner to invest,’’ he said.


He expressed hope that two of the nation’s refineries would be at the level of completion in 2016, adding that if Port Harcourt reached 60 per cent completion, it would produce an average of five million barrels.


He blamed fall in global oil price, poor contracting, lack of efficiency, funding and even focus to losses in production in the year.


Commenting on the Petroleum Industry Bill, he said it would be split into segments to enable passage by the National Assembly.


He said that the two segments were fiscal and non fiscal segment, adding that a draft on the non fiscal had been received.




Average National Oil Production Stands At 2.1m Barrels Per Day – Kachikwu

Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe kachikwu, said the average national oil production stood at 2.1 million barrels per day as at July.


This is contained in a statement signed by Ohi Alegbe, Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, NNPC, on Wednesday in Abuja.


He said the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) equity production was 99,000 barrels per day.


He added that the declining Joint Venture reserves were due to inadequate and low investment in the oil assets.


The minister noted that issue of funding which had been identified as a major challenge to the sector would be addressed with adequate collaboration with the private and international investors.


Kacikwu said the average gas to power generation was about 3,000 megawatts and domestic gas supply of one billion standard cubic feet (scf) with the contribution of 600 million standard cubic feet from NPDC.


On the current state of the refineries, he said that two of the refineries might be re-streamed before the end of December.


“Efforts are on to engage private investors to build new refineries within the old ones to enable the refineries share power, pipelines and other resources,” he said.


He added that the new agenda for the Oil and Gas Industry would be centered on having the right people, doing the right things, at the right time.


This, he said, would be for the right purpose to yield the right results.


Kachikwu said the petroleum sector, under his watch, would ensure that the Nigeria Content policy would transform the Oil and Gas industry into the economic engine for job creation and national growth.


He said he was obliged to cancel the Offshore Processing Agreements (OPAs), crude-for-products-exchange arrangement (popularly known swap) and other unprofitable product and crude arrangements, all in a bid to avoid rent seekers.


He said the cancellation would help to add value to the Nigerian hydrocarbon resources.


On the downstream sector, the minister advocated for the introduction of a private sector model that would reinvigorate the efficient supply and distribution of petroleum products, especially in the area of pipeline assets.


“The menace of pipeline vandalism has led to huge losses of crude and petroleum products; 27,967 incidents of pipeline vandalism were recorded in the last few years.” he said.


He noted that unutilised pipelines and poor pipeline integrity also led to high cost of trucking and impact on the roads.




Turkey Will ‘More Than Once’ Regret Shooting Down Russian Plane – Putin

Delivering his annual state of the nation address today, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia will not ignore what he described as Turkey’s “aiding of terrorists”, adding that the November shooting down of the Sukhoi Su-24 plane was a “treacherous war crime”.
He said Turkey will ‘more than once’ regret shooting down the Russian jet near the Syrian-Turkey border.

Putin also called for a broad international front against terrorism, an end to what he called double standards and halting any backing of what he called “terror groups”.
Russia have already banned importation of fruits  and vegetables from Turkey and already deported several Turkish business men.

“We are not planning to engage in military sabre-rattling [with Turkey],” Putin said. “If somebody thought that after committing a treacherous war crime — the killing of our people — it would be possible to get away with mere restrictions on the trade of tomatoes, or some other restrictions … then they are grossly mistaken,” Putin said.
“We shall remind them many times about what they’ve done, and they will regret what they’ve done for a long time,” he said. “We know what needs to be done.”
It appears that Allah decided to punish the ruling clique of Turkey by depriving them of wisdom and judgment,” Putin said.
He criticised Turkey, accusing it of buying oil from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.

“We are fighting for justice, happiness and the entire future of our civilisation. We have to be prepared and we have to defeat them [terrorists] before they get here that’s why we launched this operation in Syria.”

Turkish President ‘Erdogan’ Says Turkey Has Proof Of Russian Involvement In IS Oil Trade

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday said Turkey had proof Russia was involved in illegal oil trade with the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria, countering “immoral” Russian allegations that his own family was importing oil from the jihadists. “We have the proof in our hands. We will reveal it to the world,” Erdogan said in a televised address in Ankara.

The Russian defence ministry on Wednesday accused Erdogan and his family of involvement in the illegal oil trade with IS jihadists after Ankara’s downing of one of Moscow’s warplanes last month which plunged the two countries’ relations into a crisis. “In recent days a fashion led by Russia has emerged. Actually, Russia does not believe this either,” said Erdogan, referring to the alleged oil trade with IS group.

“Look, Russia has to prove that the Turkish republic buys oil from Daesh, otherwise this is a slander,” he added, using an Arabic acronym for IS extremists. “The immoral side of this issue is involving my family in the affair,” Erdogan added.  Erdogan repeated that he would resign if Moscow proved the allegation and said it was actually Russians who were involved in oil dealings.

“Who is buying oil (from IS)? Let me say it. George Haswani, holder of a Russian passport and a Syrian national, is one of the biggest merchants in this business,” Erdogan said.   In November, the US Treasury imposed sanctions on Haswani, who was also placed on an European Union sanctions list, for serving as a middleman for oil purchases by the Syrian regime from the IS group.

Erdogan said Thursday “a famous Russian chess player” was also involved in the oil business with IS, without giving a name. “He’s also in this race,” he said.  The new US sanctions also apply to Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, a wealthy Russian businessman and long-standing president of the World Chess Federation (FIDE) who was formerly president of the southern Russian region of Kalmykia.

Over-dependence On Oil Cause Of Corruption, Dwindling Economy- Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said Nigeria’s over-dependence on oil resources is responsible for the high level of corruption, dwindling economy and the redundant human resource base in the country.

He also traced restiveness and agitation for resource control, especially in the South-south geo-political region, to over-reliance on oil.

Osinbajo spoke on Monday in Port Harcourt at the inauguration of the Partners for Sustainable Development (PSD) Forum organised by the Niger Delta Development Commission.

The vice president, who was represented by the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidency, Mr. Adeola Ipaye, said the theme of the forum; ‘Restrategising Development Concepts in the Niger Delta Region to Provide for Post-Oil Wealth Socio-economic Sustainability’, was strategic and apt because of the current global decline in oil revenue.

Credit: ThisDay