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Ogun begins conversion of buses, motorcycles, tricycles to gas, electricity August

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Bankole Taiwo, Abeokuta

Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, on Monday, disclosed that the E-mobility and Gas Mobility Programme of the state will take off in the first week of August.

The Governor also said that his administration would take advantage of the newly signed electricity bill that regulates the power sector by establishing a company that would generate and distribute power supply in the Gateway State.

Prince Abiodun spoke when he received participants of the Senior Executive Course 45, Group 1, of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, Jos, who came on a courtesy call in his office at Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta.

He said that his administration would, in its second term, focus on the provision of public utilities, which include water and electricity supply.

The e-mobility and gas mobility involves the conversion of mass transit buses from petroleum fuel to gas and motorcycles (Okada) to electric.

The Governor said the topic of the visit; ‘Industrialisation, Climate change and Energy Security in Nigeria: Issues, Challenges and Prospects,’ aligned with his administration’s transition objectives.

He said, “I am proud to say that in Ogun State, we have put in measures and plans to begin an energy transition plan and we are going to start converting all our state buses to begin to run on CnG; that program has already commenced and we are actually going to launch what we call our our E-mobility and Gas Mobility Programme sometime around the end of this month or first week in August.

“The gas mobility is that which we convert not just our buses to operate on gas, but all mass transit will begin to operate on gas and our E-mobility is a program that will make for all our motorcycles and tricycles to run on electricity. They will be battery-powered. We are going to launch that program either last week of this month or first week of next month.

“We will take the motorcycles from the riders and give them electric powered motorcycles, this program will have a cushion effect on what our masses are currently experiencing and besides that, it will begin a new phase of dispensation of clean energy which speaks to the issue of climate change.”

The Governor also said that Ogun State is planning to generate its own electricity, following the signing of the 2023 Electricity Bill into law by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on June 9, which empowers states, companies and individuals to generate, transmit and distribute power.

“We are going to take advantage of the constitutional amendment that has now removed power generation from the exclusive list and put it on the concurrent list.

“We will have our own generation company, state distribution company, and ensure that we can provide more power to our major towns and cities. Once we are able to do that, the grid can be sufficient for our small towns,” he said.

The Governor also disclosed that his government has spent so much on the rehabilitation of water works across the state in its efforts at ensuring the availability of portable water to the populace.

He added, “On the issue of water, we have spent a lot of money on our water works. It will interest you to know that our water works from Ogun River, is what Lagos State depends on.

“We have invested a lot of money in our water works. What we need to do now is to be creative about reticulation and also provide water in all our major towns and cities.

“Those will be one of our focal areas so that we can ensure that we have sustainable towns and cities where we have electricity and water supply,” he said.

The Governor noted that his administration’s vision on assuming office on May 29, 2019, was to create an enabling environment for Public Private Partnership as well as touching all the critical sectors of the State’s economy through the Infrastructure, Social Wellbeing, Education, Youth Empowerment and Agriculture (ISEYA) mantras.

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FG grounds Dana Air flights

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By Seun Ibiyemi

Barely two years after Dana Airline’s operations were suspended by the Federal Government over safety issues, the Minister of Aviation, Festus Keyamo, on Wednesday directed the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to suspend Dana Air, a day after one of the airline’s planes skidded off the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos runway.

Recall that Dana Air in July of 2022 had its operations suspended by the NCAA over safety issues.

In a letter on Wednesday to the NCAA Director-General titled ‘Immediate Suspension of Dana Air Pending Safety and Financial Health Audit,’ Festus Keyamo said the latest suspension was necessary to ensure safety and regulatory compliance.

“As the supervisor overseeing our nation’s aviation safety and regulatory compliance, it has come to the Honourable Minister’s attention that recent incidents involving Dana Airline have raised serious concerns regarding both the safety and financial viability of their operations,” read part of the letter signed by the Permanent Secretary to the Minister, Dr. Emmanuel Meribole.

“In light of these incidents, with the paramount priority being the safety and well-being of our citizens and travellers, the Honourable Minister has directed that you immediately initiate the suspension of Dana Airline’s fleet until a comprehensive audit can be conducted.

“This audit should encompass all aspects of safety protocols, maintenance procedures, and financial health to ensure full compliance with our aviation regulations.”

Keyamo explained that the recent incident underscored the urgency of the matter, and the need for swift and decisive action to be taken to safeguard the interests of all stakeholders involved.

“I trust in your expertise and diligence in carrying out this audit thoroughly and expeditiously. Please keep me informed of the progress and any significant findings throughout this process,” he added.

Also the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has written to the management of Dana Airlines, informing it of the suspension of the airline’s Air Operator Certificate (AOC), effective April 24.

This is contained in a letter to Dana Airline, signed by the NCAA Acting Director-General, Capt. Chris Najomo on Wednesday in Lagos.

Najomo said that the suspension was in accordance with Sec 31 (7) of the Civil Aviation Act 2022.

He said sequel to the runway excursion involving a Dana aircraft MD-82, with registration number 5N BKI on Tuesday, the Authority had imposed a suspension on Dana Airline’s AOC with effect from April 24 at 23:59.

Najomo, however, said that the authority was awaiting the preliminary report of the investigation launched by the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB).

“While the NSIB is conducting the safety investigation, the NCAA has initiated an inhouse compliance assessment of this occurrence taking into account previous occurrences involving Dana Air aircraft.

“This is in a bid to establish any trend which must be nipped in the bud in the interest of the safety and well-being of our citizens and travellers.”

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Again, Dangote Refinery crashes diesel, aviation fuel prices

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…Pegs N940, N980/ltr respectively

…As FG unveils initiatives to attract $10bn investments in 18 months

…NNPC Ltd/Newcross resume production at Awoba field

In an unprecedented move, the Dangote Refinery has further lowered the price of Diesel and Aviation fuel.

This is coming seven days after the refinery crashed the price of Diesel to N1,000. Previously, the Refinery had three weeks ago while rolling out the products supplied at a substantially reduced price of N1,200 per litre.

This marks the third major reduction in diesel price in less than three weeks when the product sold at N1,700 to N1,200 and also a further reduction to N1,000 and now N940 for diesel and N980 for aviation fuel per litre.

The new price was made known in a statement made available to Nigerian NewsDirect on Tuesday.

The price change of N940 is applicable to customers buying five million litres and above from the refinery, while the price of N970 is for customers buying one million litres and above.

Speaking on the new development, the Head of Communication, Mr Anthony Chiejina, explained that the new price is in consonance with the company’s commitment to cushion the effect of economic hardship in Nigeria.

“I can confirm to you that Dangote Petroleum Refinery has entered a strategic partnership with MRS Oil and Gas stations, to ensure that consumers get to buy fuel at affordable price, in all their stations be it Lagos or Maiduguri. You can buy as low as 1 litre of diesel at N1,050 and aviation fuel at N980 at all major airports where MRS operates.”

He further stated that the partnership will be extended to other major oil marketers.

“The essence of this is to ensure that retail buyers do not buy at exorbitant prices.

“The Dangote Group is committed to ensuring that Nigerians have better welfare and as such, we are happy to announce these new prices and hope that it would go a long way to cushion the effect of economic challenges in the country.”

Nigerian President Bola Tinubu had also commended Mr Dangote for the initial price reduction, describing it as an “enterprising feat.”

Reacting to the latest development, The Director General of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Mr Ajayi Kadiri, said that “The decision of Dangote Refinery to first crash the price from about N1,750/litre to N1,200/litre, N1,000/litre and now N940 is an eloquent demonstration of the capacity of local industries to positively impact the fortunes of the national economy.”

He added that, “The trickle down effect of this singular intervention promises to change the dynamics in the energy cost equation of the country, in the midst of inadequate and rising cost of electricity.

“The reduction will have far-reaching effects in critical sectors like industrial operations, transportation, logistics, and agriculture, contributing to easing the high inflation rate in the country; a lot of companies will be back in operation.”

…NNPC Ltd, Newcross resume production at Awoba Field

In the same vein, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd) and its Joint Venture partner in the Awoba Unit Field, Newcross Exploration and Production Ltd, have restarted production from the Awoba field.

The Awoba Field was earlier shut down in February 2022 due to evacuation issues and crude oil theft and hasn’t contributed to the nation’s oil production since 2021.

The oil production in Nigeria has been experiencing significant decline with the latest being 1.32 million barrels per day in February to 1.23 in March, according to data from the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)’s latest monthly oil market report.

The NNPC Ltd in a statement on Tuesday however disclosed that it commenced production on the field on April 13, 2024 as part of its efforts to boost the production efforts in the country.

It noted that production from the field has averaged 8,000 barrels per day and is expected to plateau at 12,000 per day at full ramp up within 30 days.

Awoba is also expected to significantly boost gas supply to the power sector and other gas-based industries.

The Awoba Unit which straddles OMLs 18 and 24 is located in the mangrove swamp south of Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Both OML 18 and OML 24 assets are under the management of the NNPC Upstream Investment Management Services (NUIMS).

NNPC Ltd has been recording a string of production successes from the JV portfolio which have significantly lifted overall national production. Besides the recent start of production at the Madu Field by the NNPC Ltd/First E&P JV, the company has achieved the restart of production at OMLs 29 and OML 18 in late 2023 which have steadily contributed an average of 60,000bpd to the nation’s production output since their restart.

Speaking on the development, the Group Chief Executive Officer, Mallam Mele Kyari, ascribed the achievement to the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration’s success in providing an enabling operating environment for businesses to thrive.

He expressed appreciation to all stakeholders (staff, operators, host communities, government security agencies, and private security contractors) who played a pivotal role in achieving the feat.

…FG unveils initiatives to attract $10bn investments in 18 months

In a move to further revitalise the oil and gas industry’s contribution to the Nigerian Economy, Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, presided over a signing ceremony at the Federal Ministry of Finance headquarters in Abuja endorsing the Consolidated Guidelines for the implementation of Fiscal Incentives for the Oil & Gas Sector – a cornerstone of the Presidential Directive aimed at enhancing the Nigerian oil & gas sector’s global competitiveness whilst stimulating economic growth.

As disclosed during the signing, the Presidential Directives were developed and coordinated by the Special Adviser to the President on Energy, Mrs. Olu Verheijen to ensure a competitive framework for the Nigerian oil & gas industry. These Consolidated guidelines for the fiscal incentives are based on extensive collaboration across Finance and Petroleum Ministries and involved several key regulatory bodies including the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA).

According to Mrs. Verheijen, these new measures have been designed to deliver a competitive Internal Rate of Return (IRR) for Oil & Gas Projects and attract over $10 billion in new investments within the next 12-18 months. They also underscore Nigeria’s commitment to reaching its long term oil production target of 4 million barrels per day whilst enhancing the reliability of gas supply to boost export earnings and fuel Nigeria’s industrialization.

Mrs. Verheijen disclosed that among the guidelines signed were the NUPRC Guideline on Hydrocarbon Liquids Content in a Non-Associated Gas (NAG) Field, essential for accurately categorising and quantifying the hydrocarbon liquid content in these fields. Additional guidelines focused on the applicability of tax credits and allowances for Non-Associated Gas Greenfield Development and the Midstream Capital and Gas Utilization Allowance, providing taxpayers with clarity on the computation of these benefits.

HM Edun, in his remarks, thanked President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for signing the directive in February 2024 to engender growth in the Nigerian oil and gas sector, which had stagnated for over the last decade.

He also emphasised the potential of the guidelines, saying, “The idea is to create an atmosphere conducive to international competitiveness such that investment comes in. And in this case, we know it’s foreign direct investment.”

The signing ceremony was attended by various stakeholders, including NNPC Limited, Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS) and the Independent Petroleum Producers Group (IPPG), further highlighting Nigeria’s unified approach toward reinvigorating its oil and gas sector.

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Lokpobiri, Wabote disagree on utilisation of over $500m Nigerian Content Fund

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…as Former NCDMB ES accuses Minister of interference, politically motivated actions on NCDMB

The Minister of State For Petroleum Resources (Oil), Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri and the former Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote are at loggerheads over the utilisation of the Nigerian Content Fund.

Speaking recently at a dinner organised by the Petroleum Club in Lagos, Lokpobiri advised the NCDMB against wasting over $500 million of the fund on unprofitable ventures.

Responding to the Minister in a statement, Wabote accused the Lokpobiri of peddling false narratives against himself and the agency following his failure to trample on the agency.

Wabote accused the Minister of making a demand of N30 billion for his position as Chairman of the NCDMB board.

Narrating his ordeal, the former NCDMB ES said, “My problem as ES started with Lokpobiri in December 2023 when he sent one of his undocumented aides within his Ministry to my office in Yenagoa (Blackson) requesting me to increase NCDMB budget by N30 billion for the Office of the Minister and I said it had never been done before. I served two Ministers and none of them have ever made such a request to NCDMB, that we only make provision for the office of the Chairman  of the council which covers his travel expenses.

“I said to him that the maximum NCDMB budget has ever gotten to in the past is circa N80 billion for all our activities, adding N30 billion will be too much for his office and I was not going to do it. I ask stakeholders to review the NCDMB budget from 2016 to 2023 and also look at what got approved in 2024.

“In August 2023, I had led the management of NCDMB to provide a full briefing of the Board’s activities to Mr. Lokpobiri and the Hon Minister of State for Petroleum – Gas (HMSPR-Gas) Hon Ekperikpe Ekpo. The presentation, in more than 250-page slides, provided information on the status of the Board’s projects, partnerships, interventions funds,  TSA account balances, HCD programs, Forensic Audits, and other strategic initiatives under the NCDMB 10-year Strategic Roadmap.

“The presentation was followed up with an invitation to the Honourable Ministers of State to embark on familiarisation visits to the Boards headquarters and other project sites located across the country.”

Wabote further accused Lokpobiri of being reckless and peddling bundles of lies.

“I wish to state that his reckless statements in the past months are not new to me. As only recently he tried to throw NNPC Ltd under the bus as he stated that Nigeria is losing 400bpd of oil because of not signing the Seplat deal thus trying to indict NNPC Ltd as a parastatal under his supervision. As a Minister and a representative of the substantive minister, are you not supposed to canvass government positions or represent your principal correctly? Rather he chooses to act like a militant activist.

The erstwhile ES noted that the Minister visited the following sites between September and November 2023:  Nigerian Content Tower – the Board’s headquarters in Yenagoa; NCDMB Fire Station in NCT; 204-room NCDMB Conference Hotel under construction; NCDMB Creche; NCDMB NOGAPS Industrial Park, Emeyal-1, near Otueke, Bayelsa State; Waltersmith Refinery, Ibigwe, Imo State; NCDMB Interventions within the PTDF Skills Center in Omagwa, PHC.

“Familiarisation visits to other sites were lined up before my unceremonious removal from office right after our flagship event, Practical Nigerian Content (PNC) Forum in December 2023.

“While I have moved on from the unsavory incident, I never knew that the HMSPR-Oil lacked any understanding of the brief I had given to him complete with necessary facts and figures or prefers to broadcast mischief to industry stakeholders.

“We had told Mr. Lokpobiri that our projects, interventions, and partnerships were driven by the enabling provisions contained in the NOGICD Act and extant government policies on modular refineries, Decade of Gas, jobs creation, and poverty eradication.

“It is therefore shocking that the HMSPR-Oil chose to present false narratives before the Petroleum Club in his foray into character assassination, treachery and ‘waste’ agenda.

“It is false for the HMSPR-Oil to assert that 90 percent of the NC Intervention Fund managed by BOI is not performing. He was fully briefed that it is because NCDMB is not a bank that made us partner with BOI as a foremost development bank in the country to manage the intervention fund for the oil and gas industry with each loan secured by Bank guarantee.

“As at Dec 2023, it is on record that the NC intervention funds managed by Bank of Industry (BoI) helped cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the industry and that the fund has yielded millions from the low interest rates with the principal fully secured with Bank Guarantee (BG). The fund was intact when I left office as can be verified from BOI. If the fund is now being declared as ‘wasted,’ by the HMSPR-Oil, he should be asked what he has done, or intends to do with the fund, to make such a declaration. Industry watchers must not allow the secured funds to be diverted under any pretext.

“Our presentation and briefing notes to the HMSPR-Oil on Brass Fertiliser clearly informed him that the partnership arrangement with NNPC and DSV Engineering is for the establishment of 10,000TPD Methanol plant. It is therefore false that the partnership was for a ‘fertiliser factory.’

“Perhaps, Mr. Lokpobiri should have checked with the Hon Ekperikpe Ekpo, the Hon Min of State for Petroleum Resources (Gas) and NNPC Ltd for details of the project and the latest developments rather than the false accusations to castigate NCDMB.

“For the record, the initial investments by NNPC and NCDMB are pre-FID equity injection for the estimated $3.2billion project. The Board’s additional investment is tied to achievement of financial close which has not been achieved by the project promoters.

“The status of the fifteen (15) Board’s partnerships can be grouped into 5 categories as follows:

“(2) commissioned and operational (Waltersmith); Butane Energy (Katsina State) and expanding to 9  northern states;

“Five (4) ready for commissioning (NEDOGAS – operational and paid $1m ROI to  NCDMB), BetterGas, Bunorr, and Duport);

“Four (4) under construction (Azikel, Triansel, Eraskon, and LadolPower;

“Four (4) in search of debt financing (Brass Fertiliser (Methanol), Rungas Prime, Rungas Alfa, and SPL Utorogu).

“One (1) under divestment considerat (Atlantic Refinery).”

Wabote further challenged the Minister to visit the construction sites to avail himself of facts on ground.

“He should also check the MPR archives of the strategic plan to diversify oil and gas development clusters in the Niger Delta using Bonny Island, Brass Island,  Onne, Ogidigben, Ibom,  etc. Perhaps, this will cure his aversion to any developmental initiative in Brass Island and the Niger Delta in general,” Wabote said.

“The HMSPR-Oil should learn to separate the requirements of the office he currently occupies from his political ambition. He should look for another individual and agency of government to demonise in his quest to remain relevant. I am also aware that he is fighting a proxy war with his one time principal (former MSPR) and only using me as a decor.

“I strongly recommend that HMSPR-Oil channels his energy to position himself as the Guest of Honour and allow the Board to commission the following partnership projects as part of the first year anniversary of President Bola Tinubu.

“Nedo Gas Processing Plant complete with 300MMscf gas gathering hub in Kwale, Delta State, Better Gas 500MT LPG Storage and distribution infrastructure at Dikko near Abuja, 48,000 Litre per day Bunnor Base Oil Production at Omagwa, PHC, Butane LPG Plant Kaduna (2nd plant after the Katsina Plant commissioned in December 2021) and the Duport Modular Refinery, Egbokor (Legal squabbles permitting),” Wabote enumerated.

“Per the plan in place before my exit from office, another set would be ready for commissioning by the 2nd year anniversary of Mr. President if the HMSPR-Oil will allow the Board to function without all the lethargy of woes he has brought to NCDMB since December 2023,” Wabote concluded.

Reacting again, the Minister vowed to recoup alleged moribund investments worth over $500 million made by the Nigerian Content Monitoring and Development Board (NCDMB).

The Minister made this vow in defence of his allegation that the NCDMB wasted over $500 million of the industry’s fund in equity investments in private establishments and in loans that are now non-performing.

Reacting to Wabote’s statement, the Minister through his SA Media and Communication, Nneamaka Okafor, described Wabote’s claims as blatant lies from the pit of hell.

The Minister’s response read: “Our position is that he who alleges must prove same. So, if Mr. Wabote has proof of such conversation, he is challenged to provide same.”

“Secondly the Minister has no aide called Blackson. All his aides were duly selected in line with extant laws and have documents to that effect.

“The Minister in his capacity as chairman of the Governing Council stands by his statement at The Petroleum Club’s quarterly event in Lagos, and as  journalists I welcome you to visit the places mentioned to verify the allegations for yourself.

“Thirdly, the said Atlantic Refinery was supposed to be built in Mr Wabote’s hometown, he should show Nigerians where that refinery is.

“Fourthly, the Brass Fertilizer and Petrochemical company was also paid for, you are welcomed to also visit the site to verify the facts for yourself.

“Let me add that these revelations are not new, they were first made during an investigative hearing of the House of representative committee on local content. Again the records are there and you are welcome to verify these facts.

“The Minister has never been part of any budgeting process of any parastatal under the Ministry, you are welcomed to visit these agencies to verify for yourself.

“Finally, the Minister’s office is run with a budget superintended by the permanent secretary and so one will wonder how the Minister will ask another entity to make provisions for the budget of his Office. The Minister has an impeccable record from his time as Minister of Agric and will continue to stand for the truth.

‘’I have had course to read Mr Wabote’s release and everyone can see that he is still nursing the wounds of being replaced even after spending seven years at the Board. At best, this is a clear case of when you fight corruption, corruption will fight back,” the response read.

The Minister also disclosed that investigations are ongoing while making a vow to recover the resources expended.

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