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Gas Vital in Current, Future Energy Demand, says OPEC-GECF Dialogue

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A High-Level meeting of the OPEC-GECF Energy Dialogue has underscored the importance of crude oil and natural gas to the global economy and in meeting current and future energy demands.

This was made known in a joint communique issued on Wednesday at the end of the second high-level energy dialogue of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) (OPEC-GECF) via videoconference.

The meeting was co-chaired by Yury Sentyurin, GECF Secretary-General, and Mohammad Barkindo, OPEC’s Secretary-General.

The communique emphasised that both commodities would account for around half of the total global energy mix in the decades ahead.

According to the communique, OPEC Secretary-General stressed the need for the organisations of two vital energy sources to cooperate and exchange views on pressing issues in the interest of global energy stability and sustainability.

“The bond that binds our organisations together run far deeper than the geology that has linked oil and gas, since the beginning of time,” Barkindo said.

He said it was of utmost importance that organisations like OPEC and the GECF continued to work hand-in-hand to ensure that they remained in a strong position to provide and secure stable and sustainable supplies of energy.

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Barkindo added that oil and gas had an important role to play in the energy transition and in supporting the need to reduce emissions, bolster efficiency and embrace innovation.

He noted that in implementing the Memorandum of Understanding signed on Oct. 30, 2019, the two organisations had been improving the accuracy of dataflows and analysis, strengthening the exchange of information and expertise, which dated back to their mutual cooperation on Joint Organisations’ Data Initiative.

The meeting also examined the latest figures and estimates from OPEC and GECF’s perspectives, as well as reviewed the outcomes of key international debates on the future of energy and environment.

Such debates included, the G20 Environment, Climate and Energy Ministerial Meeting, UN High-Level Dialogue on Energy, Middle East Green Initiative Summit, as well as topics related to the upcoming UNFCCC COP26 meeting.

It acknowledged the possibility of stronger cooperation with some non-OPEC countries participating in the Declaration and Charter of Cooperation that were either GECF members or observers.

The next High-Level meeting of the OPEC-GECF Energy Dialogue has been scheduled to hold in 2022, in Vienna, Austria. (NAN)

Oil & Gas

Oil theft: We’ve Seized N15.7bn Worth of Petrol Products in Seven Weeks, says Navy

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By Gom Mirian, Abuja 

Nigerian Navy, said it has danied oil thieves of about 11,781,937 Liters of illegally refined AGO, 20,378,414 Liters (128,180 bbls) of crude oil, 367,715 Liters of DPK, about 232,000 Liters of PMS, 830,000 Liters of Sludge and 66,000 Liters of LPFO worth N15,761,536,440 in the last seven weeks 

The feat which was achieved since it launched Operation Dakatar Da Barawo (OPDDB), also known as ‘Stop the Thief’, the navy also said a total of 45 suspects were arrested during the period under review.

 

The Chief of the Naval Staff, vice Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo who disclosed this on Tuesday at a conference in Abuja to flag – off the Nigeria Navy 66th anniversary celebration for the year 2022, said the feat already being applauded, would be sustained going forward. 

Represented by Chief of policy and plans, rear admiral Saidu Garba, vice admiral Gambo, further said some of the achievements recorded were the deactivation of 172 Illegal Refining Sites (IRS), 745 metal storage tanks, 567 ovens, 263 pits including the destruction of 50 wooden boats and 14 speedboats.

 

He stressed that the Force has not also relented in her effort at infrastructural development, personnel welfare and capacity development to support her operations.

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The Chief of Naval staff while keeping the general public abreast of the activities lined up for the 2022 NN week celebration, said the Force would from May 26 be commissioning projects in its respective commands across the country. 

“As I mentioned earlier, NNS KADA is expected in the country on 27 May 2022. A warm reception is organized for her on the same day at the Naval Base, Apapa. 

“Special Juma’ah Prayers and Inter-denominational Church Services are also programmed to hold in all naval establishments on 27 and 29 May respectively. 

“There shall be Golf and Polo Tournaments on 28 May and 1 June respectively

“Additionally, Naval Officers Wives Association (NOWA) Seminar and other philanthropic activities will be held in Port Harcourt area from 28 May. 

“From 30 – 31 May, there will be an International Maritime Conference and Regional Maritime Exercise (IMCREMEX) 2022. 

“The Conference is scheduled to hold at the Onne Port Multi-Purpose Centre,  Rivers State with the theme, “Optimising Collaboration for Maritime Security and Socio-Economic Development in Africa”. 

“The Exercise will be flagged off at the Federal Ocean Terminal, also in Onne, Rivers State. 

“The IMCREMEX 2022 is poised to enhance regional cooperation and boost effort towards collective security of the maritime domain.

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“The Special Guest of Honour at the Conference is His Excellency, President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari GCFR.

“Other very important personalities expected at the Conference include seasoned resource persons, heads of navies as well as captains of industry and strategic stakeholder. Needful to mention that the IMCREMEX 2022 is the Third Edition after the 2016 and 2018 editions organized by the NN.

“This Edition is unique because the NN is in partnership with the Institute for Security Studies Africa

“IMC 2022 will feature a meeting of African Naval Chiefs and Maritime Security experts to interrogate and agree on proposed modalities for fulfilling the requirements of the African Union Peace and Security Council (AU PSC) Communique 1012, in support of the 2050 African Integrated Maritime Strategy. 

“Essentially, the Communique seeks to establish Combined Maritime Task Forces among the navies of the GoG states and those along the Eastern/Southern coastlines as well as a Continental Maritime Advisory Council to be composed of the Heads of Navies and Coast Guards”, he said. 

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Oil & Gas

FG Invokes National Interest, Stops Seplat Energy From Mobil Oil Deal

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The Federal Government said it declined to consent to the proposed acquisition of Mobil Oil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (MPNU) assets by Seplat Energy, due to “overriding national interest”.

The Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), Gbenga Komolafe, disclosed this in two separate letters addressed to the Chairman/Managing Director, MPNU Richard Laing, as well as the immediate past chairman of Seplat Energy, Ambrosie Orjiako.

In February, Seplat Energy announced plans to acquire MPNU assets from ExxonMobil, but the deal was subject to ministerial consent and other required regulatory approvals.

A few weeks later, amid claims that Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited had opted to exercise its right of first refusal (RFR) on the sale of the assets, Seplat said its deal with ExxonMobil Corporation was valid and subsisting.

In the letter addressed to Laing, Komolafe emphasised that regardless of the mode of the transaction, Mobil Oil still remains the assignor of the asset under Nigerian law, and is responsible for compliance.

“We also note that MPNU failed to follow the procedure for assignments laid down in the guidelines by not providing the requisite notices to the commission at all relevant stages of the transaction,” the commission was quoted as saying.

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“Even if the transaction has been between Seplat Energy Offshore Limited and the MPNU shareholders, the responsibility to ensure compliance with Nigerian laws, rules, and regulations, always remains that of MPNU, the entity that was awarded the assets.

“We regret to inform you that His Excellency, the minister of petroleum resources has declined his consent to the transaction.

“Nothing in this letter shall be deemed to be a waiver, on the part of the commission, of any rights under the guidelines, any law, rule, or regulation, and the commission reserves all its rights in respect of the subject matter.”

Komolafe also highlighted the contents of the letter that MPNU had written to the NUPRC on the proposed acquisition.

He referred to the section that said the transaction was between parties who were not privy to the joint operating agreement (JOA) between the NNPC and the MPNU dated June 28, 1990 — and that it does not trigger any relevant rights or obligations under the JOA for either NNPC or MPNU.

In addition, the regulator made reference to another aspect of MPNU’s letter on the matter, which said its shareholders would be proceeding with their efforts to satisfy the conditions required for the approval of the intended transaction.

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“You may also be aware that the commission is in receipt of a letter on 10th of March 2022, written by Seplat Energy to the minister of state for petroleum resources, requesting the consent of the minister of petroleum resources to the transaction. This letter was received by the commission on March 30, 2022,” Komolafe said.

“Be advised that even if the transaction in question were between parties who are not privy to the JOA, MPNU remains the leaseholder of the assets subject to the transaction and the focal point of contact with the federal government of Nigeria on any matter or dealings with the assets.”

In addition, Komolafe said the overriding national interest would always be the compass of the law.

He said paragraph 3.1.1 of the guidelines also expressly restates that assignment shall include, but not be limited to “assignment by way of exchange or transfer of shares: This shall entail the acquisition of part or all of the shares of a company which holds an OPL, OML, MF or OGPL in Nigeria.”

Komolafe said until an assignment was completed — including the granting of ministerial consent to such assignment —  the leaseholder remains the registered owner of the asset and the only one in the position to interact with the government.

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In the letter addressed to Orjiako, he equally highlighted relevant sections in the guidelines and procedures for obtaining the minister’s consent to the assignment of interest in oil and gas assets 2021.

“Thus, regardless of the mode of the transaction, MPNU, remains, to all intents and purposes, the assignor under Nigerian law and is the proper person to bring an application for ministerial consent to the transaction, not Seplat. Consequently, you are hereby requested to revert to MPNU, the assignor, to receive updates on your application,” he said.

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NLNG Leads Stride to Gas-powered Economy

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By Asowata Omosuri

A cardinal goal of the Federal Government is to transform the Nigerian economy into a gas-powered economy by 2030.

Ancillary to that is the hope to align the country with the global push for transition to cleaner sources of energy.

To achieve that lofty goal, the federal government adopted gas as the vehicle for its energy transition journey, declaring January 2021 to December 2030 as the Decade of Gas Initiative.

No doubt, the country is blessed with abundant gas resources; 208.62 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of proven gas reserves valued at over 803.9 trillion dollars, and potential upside of 600TCF of gas.

This has fueled the overarching objective of the federal government to utilise the nation’s abundant gas resources for socio-economic growth and development.

In order to actualise this objective, it is imperative for the government to leverage the achievements of the Nigerian LNG Company Ltd.

in the global Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) space.

Indeed, experts believe that NLNG, which marked its 33rd anniversary on May 17, has shown by its developmental strides, that the objective is achievable.

Apart from deepening domestic gas utilisation, the NLNG is said to have contributed significantly to the country financially.

According to information on the company’s website, it has so far contributed 100 billion dollars to the federal government’s coffers, and 6.5 billion dollars in taxes since it started operations.

It also paid 13 billion dollars to the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Ltd. for feed-gas purchase, and 16 billion dollars in dividends to the federal government.

Acknowledging these achievements, the Federal Inland Revenue Service in a statement signed by its Executive Chairman, Mr Muhammad Nami, on May 16, recognised the NLNG as the Most Supportive Tax Payer in the country.

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Prompted by this accolade, Dr Muda Yusuf, Chief Executive Officer, Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the NLNG model should be adopted by the government in other public-private-partnership arrangements.

“The NLNG model has worked very well. It might not be perfect but of all the public private partnership arrangements that we have had, the NLNG model seems to be the best so far.

“The beauty of it is that there is practically no interference or very minimum interference in the management of the place.

“So, there is professionalism in the management, in the allocation of resources, in the recruitment and that has resulted in high level of performance,” he said.

Similarly, Mr Nuhu Yakubu, President, Nigeria Liquefied Petroleum Gas Association (NLPGA) and Managing Director, Banner Energy, said the NLNG was a pride to all Nigerians.

“Not only has the NLNG project endured for 33 years but it is a trail blazer for other similar projects that the Federal Government of Nigeria should mirror in the way NLNG is being administered and managed.

“Aside the huge revenue being generated from the NLNG for the Nigerian government, the company has brought human capital development to bear,” Yakubu said.

He said Nigerians working in NLNG were thorough professionals who were capable of competing with their peers globally.

Yakubu said the impact being made by the NLNG to deepen domestic gas utilisation in Nigeria could not be overemphasised.

“NLNG has gradually progressed from a 150,000MT intervention to the domestic LPG market to 250,000MT to N350,000MT and now to 450,000MT, which is maxing out their entire domestic LPG production to the Nigerian market.

“It is unprecedented and it means NLNG is meeting the yearnings of Nigerians. It is gauging the pulse of Nigerians and responding to it and we wish other corporations of that magnitude can do the same thing.

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“We will be able to close the energy gap that we have in Nigeria because we have pervasive domestic energy poverty and need lot of interventions to address the issue so that at least every home in Nigeria will have access to gas.

“The NLNG intervention in the domestic market has catalysed growth and development in infrastructure on the supply side.

“From 2007 when the NLNG intervention started, we had only one terminal in Apapa, Lagos owned by the Pipelines Products Marketing Company.

“Today we have many privately owned coastal terminals across the country and there is also a lot of capital flow for infrastructure development because of the confidence brought in by NLNG,” he said.

However, Mr Michael Umudu, National Chairman, the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Retailers (LPGAR), branch of National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), said NLNG needed to do more to ensure supply of LPG in the domestic market.

Umudu said the total amount allocated to the domestic market was insufficient as about 60 per cent of LPG being consumed in Nigeria was imported.

Mr Philip Mshelbila, Chief Executive Officer, NLNG, said the NLNG had for the past 33 years vigorously pursued its vision of being “a globally competitive LNG company, helping to build a better Nigeria.

“Our company has touched lives in significant areas such as economic empowerment, health, education, infrastructure development and sustainable community development.

“Over the years, it harnessed natural gas that would have otherwise been flared, thereby contributing immensely to a cleaner environment.

“And by delivering 100 per cent of its LPG production into the domestic market, it helps Nigerians transition to cleaner cooking fuels.”

Also, Mrs Sophia Horsfall, Manager, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs, NLNG, said the ongoing Train 7 project would help the company increase its allocation to the domestic market.

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She said the project was expected to ramp up NLNG’s production capacity by 35 per cent from 22mtpa to around 30mtpa.

Horsfall noted that the project would form part of the investment of over 10 billion dollars, including the upstream scope of the LNG value chain, thereby increasing dividends and taxes accruing to the government.

Incorporated as a Limited Liability company on May 17, 1989, the NLNG was set up to harness Nigeria’s vast natural gas resources and produce Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and Natural Gas Liquids (NGLs) for export.

The establishment of NLNG is backed by the Nigeria LNG (Fiscal Incentives, Guarantees and Assurances) Act. Cap N87, Laws of Federation of Nigeria 2004.

The law, amongst other things, provides for the guarantees and assurances by the federal government to the company and its shareholders.

The NLNG is an incorporated Joint-Venture owned by four shareholders: the federal government, represented by NNPC Ltd. (49 per cent), Shell Gas B.V. (25.6 per cent), Total Gaz Electricite Holdings France (15 per cent) and Eni International N.A. N. V. S.àr.l (10.4 per cent).

Today, NLNG has a total production capacity of 22 Million Tons Per Annum (mtpa) of LNG and 5mtpa of Natural Gas Liquids (NGLs) from its six-train plant complex.

The company has 16 long-term Sale and Purchase Agreements (SPAs) with 10 buyers and controls about six per cent of global LNG trade.

By the strides of NLNG in its 33 years of existence, and the groundswell of goodwill, many Nigerians, and experts, believe that the company has the wherewithal to lead Nigeria’s march towards a gas-powered economy.

Asowata Omosuri is of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)

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