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Gas marketers commends FG on liquefied petroleum gas VAT removal

By NewsDesk,

The Nigerian Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers (NALPGAM) has commended Federal Government on removal of Value-Added Tax (VAT) placed on locally sourced Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).

It said that clamor for the VAT removal from domestically produced LPG, otherwise known as cooking gas, has been of perennial concern to members of the association and that the government had yield to cry of stakeholders.

The President, NALPGAM, Nosa Ogieva-Okunbor, confirmed that the Federal Government had approved the removal of VAT on LPG and gazetted the same and that the action would yield positive result.

Speaking on the development through a statement issued on Thursday, Ogieve-Okunbor indicated that the FG’s move was a prove that both government and relevant agencies had work on raised concerned by the body.

“We express our profound gratitude to the Federal Government and all relevant government agencies for listening to our plea to remove VAT from LPG products sourced locally.

“We also want to use this opportunity to thank and appreciate the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) for its timely directive stopping the inappropriate and indiscriminate installation of skid plants in petrol stations,’’ Ogieva-Okunbor said in a statement.

However, the association’s president said that the directive that all skid plants in filling stations be dismantled and removed was apt, considering the huge danger they constitute to the public in the operations.

He appealed for a proper and thorough implementation of the directive across the country, just as he urged government to create a more conducive and enabling environment for investors in the industry, particularly now that deepening the consumption of LPG in the country had become one of its major interest.

Ogieva-Okunbor mentioned that the marketers were also geared toward ensuring the success of the programme by complementing government’s efforts.

“We appeal for a reduction on the import duty on LPG equipment and accessories.

“The increased awareness of LPG usage has seen consumption in Nigeria growing from 50,000MT in 2007 to over 600,000MT in 2018 with more indigenous investments in LPG bottling plants.

“This will further ensure that majority of Nigerians enjoyed the convenience of the proximity of LPG refill or exchange points.

“We implore the federal and state governments to initiate a well-funded social welfare programme to expand the usage of LPG,’’ the NALPGAM boss said.

NNPC records $1.6bn from arbitration, 91.5% savings against IPCO demand

By NewsDesk,

As part of prove that Nigerian economy is regaining stability, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has declared recording of $1.6bn it saved from its arbitration of upstream subsidiary, Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Nigeria Limited.

It said that the corporation succeeded in making a lot of savings from companies that had litigations with her.

The Group Managing Director, NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, disclosed that declared $1.6 billion was recorded through the arbitration and that in his management’s determination to fight corruption, NNPC had only paid $37.5 million of $400 million initially demanded by International Petroleum Corporation (IPCO) in a litigation, amounting to 91.5 per cent savings.

He added that NNPC team to had follow through with cases without compromise, considering the humongous amount involved.

Speaking during his conferment with an Honorary Fellowship Award by the Chartered Institute of Forensic and Investigative Professionals of Nigeria (CIFIPN) at the NNPC Towers in Abuja on Tuesday, Baru said that most of the cases were brought to the fore through fraud and forensic investigation which helped the corporation to get value for money.

Commending CIFIPN on its effort in fighting corruption, the NNPC’s boss indicated that the Institute’s intention was laudable and the conferment of fellowship on him would make him more determined to support the body activities.

He stated that the collaboration with the institute would create an enabling environment for many people to be trained in-country, saying this would go a long way to stem fraud, corruption and cybercrime in the society.

Baru averred that the most important thing for any economy and any business was to make sure that fraud did not occur, stressing that the prevention aspect was key to achieving the desired result of a corruption-free Nigeria.

The GMD noted with nostalgia that as the second Chairman of the NNPC Anti-Corruption Committee in 2004, he ensured that all staff of the corporation and its various stakeholders were educated about NNPC’s corporate policies and the various anti-corruption acts in the country in order to avoid fraudulent transactions.

He applauded President Muhammadu Buhari for the support extended to the NNPC to ensure sanity in the system, amphasizing that the anti-corruption stance of the Federal Government had added a lot of value to the nation’s hydrocarbon operations.

Earlier, the Pro tem President of CIFIPN, Dr. Victoria Enape, said Baru was conferred with the award because he was a champion of anti-corruption in NNPC, stressing that the partnership with the corporation would ensure effective prevention of fraud, corruption and cybercrimes in Nigeria.

Highpoint of the event was the conferment and presentation of plaque and anti-corruption books to Dr. Baru as Fellow and Patron for the Institute in recognition of his contributions to the anti-fraud crusade in Nigeria.

NNPC’s boss places energy security, sustainability on petroleum engineers

By NewsDesk,

The Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru, has tied responsibility of energy security and sustainability in Nigeria on members of Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), by coming up with a blueprint that could assist in nation in managing well the sector.

Dr. Baru, after recounting the huge national energy deficit, informed the members that in Nigeria demand for energy was growing at a very rapid rate and that players in sector need to wake up to their respective responsibilities.

Speaking at 2019 annual Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Oloibiri Lecture Series and Energy Forum in Abuja on Thursday, NNPC’s boss lamented that despite abundant Oil and Gas reserves, Nigeria experiences shortages in electric power.

He said that Nigeria’s Energy consumption, basing it current forecast, showed an increase from 6 GW in 2015 to 30 GW by 2025 with the primary source of the current power supply being from hydro and gas.

He also said that the future consumption, expected to drive growth by 2025, would need aggressive development of gas and renewable projects to meet the exponential demand.

However, the GMD listed efforts by the corporation to bridge the energy supply-demand gap to include accelerated development of gas resources and facilities, rehabilitation of existing refineries, investments in renewable energy projects, and focus on exploration of the frontier basins to boost reserves.

The NNPC helmsman noted that Nigeria was facing a new challenge in the form of competition from new oil production centres across the globe, particularly Africa, adding that there was need to “unlock new barrels as quickly as possible to stay relevant in the new emerging world”.

He, therefore, called on the SPE and its member to “proffer an industry road map to guarantee energy security and sustainability for the nation”.

Meanwhile, Oloibiri Lecture Series which is organized by SPE, Nigerian Council, is an annual event focused on contributing to oil and gas policy development for Nigeria.

PDP must explain how $592bn Oil wealth was spent-Buhari

By News desk

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) still owes Nigerians explanation on how it expended the humongous resources that accrued to the country from oil sales between 1999 and 2014, President Muhammadu Buhari has said.

An estimate by NEITI put the total amount earned during the period at $592 billion, with nothing to show for it.

Buhari raised the issue at a meeting with the leadership of organised labour in Abuja on Thursday when they came to felicitate with him on his victory at the poll.

The President said his administration met a country with dilapidated infrastructure all round in 2015, and it calls to serious question what the party that was in power for 16 years did with the country’s earnings from oil, which reached a peak during the period.

According to Buhari, PDP has not successfully explained to the country what they did with the money.

“There were no roads, no rail, no power. They said they spent $16 billion on power, but where is the power? The irresponsible expenditure of that period has not been explained, and Nigerians deserve an answer on that terrible mismanagement of the country.”

The President thanked organized labour “for the support and patriotism you have shown during the presidential election, especially after the unexpected postponement. You and your members stepped in to support willing Nigerians to exercise their civic and patriotic rights to vote. You intervened as patriots, and not for political, religious or tribal purposes. You simply did the right thing during a difficult period for many of us.”

On what Nigerians can look forward to in the next lap of the journey, President Buhari said he would continue pushing the Change Agenda, “and remain focused on our core pillars of security, economy, and fight against corruption.”

He urged organized labour to partner with the government to make the country peaceful, prosperous, and corruption free.

In his remarks, President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, lauded the President for being worker-friendly, as exemplified in the granting of bailout funds to state governments to pay backlog of salaries and pensions.

“We all remember the special bailout and budget support you introduced to support state governments during the recession. Your directive during this intervention was that state governments must offset accumulated arrears of salaries and pension liabilities. I remember you publicly asked state governors, ‘how do you manage to sleep at night when the salaries of workers in your state are not paid?’

“For us, that was one of the finest moments we have had with any President in this country…I can stand here today and say your intervention was the difference between life and death for many workers.”

The labour leader appealed to the National Assembly to earnestly pass the National Minimum Wage Act, while also asking the President to thereafter sign it into law within the shortest possible time.

Organized labour pledged to remain “veritable partner in progress with government,” counseling the President to continue to “make the Nigerian people, especially the poor, the centre-piece of your policy initiatives and actions.”

FG installs tracker to ascertain petrol consumption

By News desk

Following disparity in statistics of Premium Motor Spirit  (PMS) also known as fuel consumed in Nigeria, the Federal Government has said that its new installed Sensor Monitoring Project will end the challenge facing the country.

According to Petroleum Equalisation Fund  (PEF), the sensor will help to track the exact quantity of the product consumed within the country.

The PEF Executive Secretary, Ahmed Bobboi, who disclosed this while addressing newsmen, on Tuesday in Abuja, said that the adoption of the monitoring mechanism was the outcome of the project embarked upon after a study to determine the technology gap assessment of its operations.

Bobboi added that PEF did the project in collaboration with other agencies in the petroleum industry.

According to him, the Sensor Monitoring project will address the diversion of petroleum products and provide consumption data to critical agencies of government to help in economic planning.

“Up to today, it is difficult to determine the actual quantity of fuel consumed in this country. Different agencies give you different figures and I think it is not tidy.  With the introduction of the Sensor Monitoring project, we believe it would serve to answer all the questions.

“The project for the Sensor Monitoring which was approved by the Federal Executive Council was supposed to last for three years, but work has already started.

“Work has started, some of the equipment we are going to use,  such as the ICT equipment are being produced now; the contractor has already mobilised on site, work has started already.

“The question is when do we begin to see the effect?  By six months, we would begin to feel something, at the end of one year, we would begin to see something. Maybe before the end of this year, we would begin to see some of the landmarks of this project.” he said

He further noted that the Fund had planned to commence equalisation of petroleum products through the railway  but was suspended due to the proposed policies of the Federal Government.

He said that PEF was waiting to determine the direction of the government as regards the rail system, so that it could enter into discussions with the eventual managers of the railway on the modalities for the transportation of PMS  and Liquefied Petroleum Gas,(LPG) through the railways.

“We planned to introduce the railway equalisation programme last year, but certain developments delayed it.  One of the development is the government policy of divesting from that area, because government is considering the concessioning the management of the railway system.

“We want to wait and see who will end up managing the railway, whether it is governments or the private sector, so that we would discuss with them and agree on the modalities.” he added

Bobboi said that  PEF was also considering transportation of petroleum products through the waterways, adding that the introduction of alternative means of transportation of the products would reduce the pressures on the roads and create employment opportunities for Nigerians.

“We are also thinking about marine transportation in the near future.  This is because we believe that if we introduce alternative means of transporting the products, it would reduce the pressure on our roads, reduce the wear and tear of the roads.

“It  will also create job opportunities for people who want to work in those areas,” Bobboi noted.

Commenting on Aquila 2 project , he said that the project had not been abandoned but had been subsumed inside the Network Sensor Monitoring project

‘Aquila 2’ project, was expected to monitor products movement from receiving depot up to the retail outlet of the oil marketers.

Three years after, Switzerland investigates Nigerians behind $1.1bn Malabu oil deal

By News desk

Barely three years after Swiss authorities impounded a suitcase linked to the $1.1billion Malabu oil deal; prosecutors in the country have started reviewing the materials contained in it, to possibly unravel Nigerians behind deal.

Investigation commenced after Shell and ENI insisted that $1.1billion was paid to the Federal Government for the purchase of OPL 245 from Malabu Oil.

The prosecutors, after investigation, will decide what could be shared with Italian authorities, where some trials have started in the monumental bribery scandal.

The prosecutor received the green light after Switzerland’s top court, the Federal Tribunal, rejected an appeal by Nigerian defendant, Emeka Obi, to prevent his bag from being unsealed.

It would be recalled that a Lausanne court had last month ruled that the confiscated material, including documents, an external hard drive, British and African passports, and USB keys, could have “potential pertinence” in the criminal investigation and the sealing could be lifted without violating Swiss law.

“The Geneva prosecutor now has access to all the material in conformity with the Federal Tribunal ruling,” it said.

He will select the material to be handed over, it said. Under Swiss law, privileged information cannot be shared in international judicial assistance in criminal matters and the prosecutor’s choice of documents can be appealed.

Obi’s Geneva lawyers Paul Gully-Hart and Charles Goumaz told Reuters that they were cooperating with the prosecutor’s office.

“With respect to the ongoing proceedings in Switzerland, regarding the suitcase of our client, we can confirm that no decision has yet been taken in respect of the transmission of any of its contents to the Italian authorities,” they said in a statement.

“Our client has maintained his innocence in regards to the various allegations made by the Milan prosecutors and is confident that the final evaluation of the contents of his bag will confirm this.

“Our position remains, as it has always been from the beginning, that the only material that should even be considered for transmission to the Italians must be strictly limited to non-protected material that is directly related to our client’s involvement in the OPL 245 transaction,” they added.

An Italian judge said on Monday Eni and Shell were fully aware their 2011 purchase of a Nigerian oilfield would result in corrupt payments to Nigerian politicians and officials.

Eni and Shell bought the OPL 245 offshore field for about $1.3 billion in a deal that spawned one of the industry’s largest corruption scandals. It is alleged that about $1.1 billion of the total was siphoned to agents and middlemen.

The Milan judge made the comment in her written reasons for the conviction of Obi and Italian Gianluca Di Nardo, both middlemen in the OPL 245 deal, for corruption. They were sentenced to four years jail term.

Obi and Di Nardo have been tried separately from Eni and Shell, which also face corruption allegations over the same deal in a hearing that is expected to drag on for months.

Eni has denied any wrongdoing. Shell said on Monday that neither Obi nor Di Nardo had worked for Shell, and that there was no basis to convict it or any of its former staff of alleged offences related to the deal.

Obi brought the Swiss case to keep the contents of the bag seized in Geneva in April 2016 from being shared with foreign authorities.

Its confiscation led the Geneva prosecutor to open a criminal case for suspected corruption of foreign officials and money-laundering. Days later Italian authorities requested judicial assistance, arguing that the suitcase and its contents had been deliberately stashed in Geneva, the Swiss ruling said.

Italy’s proceedings targeted 13 defendants and two companies suspected of corruption activities from 2009 and 2014 linked to acquiring prospecting rights in Africa, it said.

FG files $1.1bn oil suit against Shell, Eni in London

By News desk

The ongoing legal war between Federal Government, Royal Dutch Shell and Eni on Malabu oilfield contract took another twist on Thursday as the government filed a $1.1 billion lawsuit against both firm.

In the suit filed at a London Court, the Federal Government is demanding that the fund be paid.

According to the statement released by the prosecutor, OPL 245 oilfield is also at the heart of an ongoing corruption trial in Milan in which former and current Shell and Eni officials are on the bench.

“It is alleged that purchase monies purportedly paid to the Federal Republic of Nigeria were in fact immediately paid through to a company controlled by Dan Etete, formerly the Nigerian minister of petroleum, and used for, among other things, bribes and kickbacks,” the statement said.

It was gathered that the Federal Government action was to prevent it from loosing an estimated $ 6 billion because of corruption in the sale of the Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL) 245 to Shell and Eni Oil in 2011.

The deal for the OPL 245 licence includes previously unreported terms that left Nigeria without share of profit from oil produced to which it was entitled from the block, resulting in an historical poor deal for Nigeria.

It was learned that the deal hid huge generous fiscal terms for the companies. The deal between Shell, Eni, Nigerian government officials and Malibu Oil and Gas called for a Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) to be signed between only Shell and Eni subsidiaries.

Sources said that this departs from the standard procedure of a production sharing contract (PSC) that is agreed between the contractor and the state.

It added that exclusion of the Nigeria State from the PSA resulted in the removal of a central feature of production sharing contract that is a proportion of the oil produced known as ‘profit sharing’ is allocated to the government.

Experts alleged that Shell knew their billion dollar payment for the deal was going not into the public purse but would fill private pockets.

It said Shell and Eni and some of their most senior executives are now facing bribery charges in Italy and Nigeria, in one of the biggest corporate corruption cases in history.

DPR uncovers 50 illegal filling stations in Akwa Ibom

By Newsdesk

The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), has disclosed that no fewer than 50 illegal filling stations have been discovered within the state.

DPR added that the filling stations were built without appropriate approval by the department in the state.

The Operations Controller in Akwa Ibom, Tamunoiminabo Kingsley-Sundaye, who made the disclosure in an interview with newsmen on Monday in Eket on Monday, explained that the illegal filling stations didn’t obtain Federal Government licenses nor follow due process in their construction.

“There are 50 illegal filling stations in the state. We have come to a point in this country where people have decided to do things that are wrong. When I resume a year ago, we observed that there are some fuel stations that are built without appropriate approvals from the department,” he added.

According to him, when building filling stations, there are things that are considered such as engineering design, safety, earth considerations and social economy of the area.

He condemned marketers that build filling stations that share boundaries with markets, schools, hospitals, saying that such stations would affect the economy of the area.

The controller warned marketers that site filling stations before coming to DPR for consideration to desist from it.

Kingsley-Sundaye said that the department had sensitised the marketers who are involved to come to DPR office for reassessment and appropriate documentation.

“We have compiled those names and send them to the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) to take appropriate actions,” he said.

Kingsley-Sundaye said that the department was working with law enforcement agencies and the state government to dismantle illegal filling stations in the state.

He said: “We will work with the state government to dismantle illegal filling stations in the state and the department was working towards getting rid of those stations.”

The controller noted that owners of such stations have violated the Petroleum Act of 1969 which says that nobody can sell or store Petroleum product in Nigeria without federal government license.

South Africa earmarks $1bn for South Sudan oil sector devt.

By Newsdesk

The South African Government has concluded plans to invest $1 billion in South Sudan’s oil sector, basically to boost the standard within the sector.

South Sudan’s oil industry is dominated by Asian firms including China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), Malaysia’s Petronas and India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC Videsh).

Confirming the planned investment yesterday, the South African minister for energy, Jeff Radebe, and his South Sudanese counterpart for petroleum, Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, stressed that the funds includes construction of a refinery,

The funds was announced after they signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU which will also involve South Africa participating in the exploration of several oil blocks.

Radebe said: “When this refinery is complete, it will have the capacity of producing 60,000 barrels of oil per day.”

 Gatkuoth stated that the deal also offers avenues for cooperation in the construction of a pipeline to serve fields located in the south of the country.

It would be recalled that South Sudan exports its crude through another pipeline that goes to a port in neighbouring Sudan to the north.

According to South Sudan minister, it is instrumental to have a new a pipeline.

Oil and gas suppliers ready to combat adulteration of petroleum products

By News Desk,

Natural Oil and Gas Suppliers Association of Nigeria (NOGASA) says it is ready to partner with the Federal Government in curbing circulation of adulterated petroleum products and pipelines vandalism.

Abdulahi Idris, the Deputy Chairman of NOGASA’s Board of Trustees, made the pledge during the inaugural ceremony of the association held in Abuja.

According to him, government is managing virtually all aspects of oil and gas but a lot of logistic issues are hindering its efforts at achieving the desired goal.

Idris said that collaboration between the association and the government had become necessary because the latter alone could not address all the existing challenges in the oil and gas sector.

“There was increasing population and sustained struggle to keep up with high demographic demands for vital industrial and domestic petroleum product.

“Petrol, diesel, kerosene and domestic gas became difficult to push to end users and consequently private investors and players started coming in to help tackle the challenges.

“Distribution of petroleum products, however, suffered a great deal of obstacles as a result of fragmented and individual engagement of the job.

“We have discovered that the challenges, intrigues and delay have translated our experience to take up our rightful place in the industry,” he said.

The deputy chairman stated that the association had resolved to be a responsible and forthright representative body that would partner with the government, among other objectives, discourage illicit transactions in the downstream sector.

He further stated that the association would avail itself of the benefits and various support provisions such as products, capital, insurance, banking relationship, litigation among others.

In his remarks, the President of the Association, Benneth Korie, said the strategic position of the industry as suppliers of Natural oil and gas in the overall development of economy could not be overemphasised.

Korie called on marketers patronising illegal depots to desist from doing so, saying it would jeopardise the association’s efforts in addition to the frequent damages caused by adulterated products.