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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.

DPR licensed 147 filling stations in FCT in 2018 — Controller

By News Desk,

The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), said it licensed 147 filling stations in the Federal Capital Territory in 2018.

Abba Misau, the Zonal Operation Controller, disclosed this at DPR Abuja Zonal Celebration of the nation’s 2018 Independence Day, on Wednesday in Abuja.

“We have about 357 filling stations in Abuja, with our surveillance this year, we have licensed 147 filling stations and 83 out of the licensed ones are new stations.

“We also did a raid on 13 illegal filling stations in the territory; right now, five out of them have come to regularise their papers and have been fully licensed; the others are still on the process.

“We equally raided about 11 illegal gas stations  and four of them have also regularized their registration for proper licensing,’’ he said .

He attributed the achievement to the commitment of the staff members adding that the Department would continue to ensure that every operator was properly licensed for business.

He urged members of staff and the general public to report to DPR any illegal gas or filling station for proper sanction.

He said that the DPR would continue to sanction anybody who failed to follow the laid down rules for the sector and would seal any station that did not meet the minimum requirement to operate.

Commenting on the 58th Independence Anniversary, he said that the DPR marked the event to honour the doggedness of Nigerians in sustaining peace in the country.

According to him, it is also an avenue to encourage the staff members for their commitment which translates to the growth and development of the country.

“We should be proud of our country Nigeria; many countries that go through what we have gone through are no longer together.

“But in spite of all the crises we go through, we are still united. For us, it is worth celebrating,’’ he said.

In her remarks, Funmi Olorunfemi, Acting Assistant Director, Services, urged the workers and Nigerians in general to put in their best in the work they do.

She urged Nigerians to adopt good attitude and culture as practiced in developed world to help make Nigeria great.

“The President is fighting corruption seriously, we all are to join in the effort to purge our nation of corrupt practices so that we can be proud of our great nation,’’ she said

Also, Clement Katyen, a representative of PENGASSAN, DPR Branch, urged members of staff to be committed in carrying out their duty.

“Celebrating Independence should be a clarion call for us to continue to work hard for the growth and development of the country,’’ he said.

NNPC records N18.12bn trading surplus in May

By Business Desk,

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has announced a trading surplus of N18.12bn for May 2018, a performance which is relatively higher than the trading surplus of N17.16bn recorded in April.

Details of the transactions contained in the recently released May 2018 edition of the Monthly NNPC Financial and Operations Reports also indicated that the additional trading surplus of N0.96bn was mainly due to increased performance of some of the corporation’s subsidiaries namely: the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC), Nigerian Pipelines and Storage Company (NPSC) and Marine Logistics.

Within the period, the NNPC Group performance was mainly impacted by NPDC which recorded a favourable variance of N18.22bn due to increase in revenue with parallel decrease in expenses. This resulted in N20.93bn net increase in the upstream gas and power surplus.

Overall, the report indicated that the increase in performance was bolstered by the relatively high production volumes of 1.97 million barrels per day in April 2018 which was sold in May, 2018 thereby reducing cost per unit.

Under the national crude oil and natural gas production, lifting and utilisation segment, the report noted that 58.96 million barrels of crude oil and condensate were produced in the month of April 2018 representing an average daily production of 1.97 million barrels. This represents 1.02 per cent increase compared to the preceding month.

A breakdown of the production figure indicated that Joint Ventures (JV) and Production Sharing Contracts (PSC) contributed about 32.82 per cent and 41.77 per cent respectively, while Alternative Financing (AF), NPDC and Independents accounted for 14.68 per cent, 7.65 per cent and 3.08 per cent respectively.

It was also indicated that the NPDC’s cumulative production from all fields within the period amounted to 47,759,229 barrels of crude oil which translated to an average daily production of 120, 909 barrels per day.

In terms of national gas production, the 34th NNPC Financial and Operations Report highlighted that 231.59 Billion Cubic feet (BCF) of natural gas was produced in the months of May, 2018, translating to an average daily production of 7,785.01 Million Standard Cubic Feet per day (MMSCF/D).

In the downstream sub-sector, NNPC continued to ensure increased petrol supply and effective distribution across the country. In May, 2018, 1.19billion litres of petrol were supplied by NNPC, translating to 40.59mn Liters/day to sustain seamless distribution of petroleum products which resulted to zero fuel queue across the nation.

In the month under review, the corporation continued to monitor petrol evacuation figures from depots across the nation, and engaged, where necessary, the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) and other stakeholders through existing Joint Monitoring Team.

Qatar to produce electric vehicles by 2023

By Business Desk,

The Qatari electric vehicles will be manufactured by the factory which will be established at a cost of nine billion dollars, said “Qatar Tribune” newspaper.

The project will be the first-of-its-kind in the Middle East as it is a whole new brand, said Ali al-Misnad, Chairman of the Qatar Quality company, which is responsible for this project.

Al-Misnad also said that the new giant project aims to manufacture more than 500,000 cars by 2024 with plans to export the electric vehicles to countries all over the world.

As part of the project, the plan will include establishing of six factories and each will be specialised in different production line.

Nigeria set to lose 550,000 barrels of oil by ExxonMobil

By News Desk,

ExxonMobil said  a blockade by former employees threatens crude production at oil facilities in Nigeria, adding that “disruptions to these operations have the potential to significantly impact revenues.”

The company made the announcement in a statement after a six-week blockade by former workers at the oil facilities.

Mobil Producing Nigeria, the ExxonMobil subsidiary that released the statement, produces over 550,000 barrels per day of crude oil, condensates and natural gas liquids, according to the company website.

The blockades were described in ExxonMobil’s statement as the “playing of loud music, defacing of company facilities and intimidation of personnel.”

The “continued denial of access to lproduction facilities could impact the company’s ability to safely continue production operations,” ExxonMobil said.

The protest which began on 17 July was over the sacking of 860 Nigerian workers most of whom had worked with the company for over 22 years without regards for the rule of law.

Rasak Obe, the Chairman of ExxonMobil Branch of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), said the  union was shocked by the mass sack of security personnel who had faithfully served the company for many years.

He said the management should immediately reinstate the employees of the security department  and pay all entitlements due to them.

The union leader also urged the management to immediately reinstate the 16 employees purportedly sacked in Dec. 2016 in a similar fashion.

He demanded the immediate release and repatriation of over 20 expatriate personnel in the security department who had been engaged and kept in defiance of extant Nigerian laws and security directives.

According to him, this was an unfortunate situation which the Supreme Court of Nigeria had corrected with its April 20, 2018 judgment.

“This underscored the scale of error in company’s assessment of the reality after the Supreme Court judgment.

“There are tens more who by the judgment are active employees of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited.

“To say the least, this wholesale sack unambiguously conveys management’s disdain for the highest court of the country and mocks its ruling on the subject”.

Obe said the company was quick to indiscriminately sack Nigerians and replace them with expatriates, taking jobs Nigerians have successfully performed over the decades.

He said expatriate security personnel, many of whom were ex-service men, were currently engaged in the security department against the directives of National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS) and the Nigerian Defence Ministry.