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Oil assets divestments will boost production, employment — Wabote

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The Nigerian oil and gas industry is poised for a boost in crude oil production, employment creation, and capital injection with the planned divestment of some assets by select international oil and gas companies and concomitant acquisition by Nigerian operating companies, the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote said on Wednesday.

The Executive Secretary painted this picture while delivering the keynote address on Divestments in oil and gas: the challenges, the opportunities, and the implications to the industry in Nigeria at the 2023 Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association (PENGASSAN) Energy and Labour Summit in Abuja.

He said that about 26 oil mining licenses have been divested or acquired by oil and gas companies in the Niger Delta Basin area of Nigeria in the past decade. Some of the divestments currently on the cards include the plan by Shell and ExxonMobil to sell oil and gas assets worth billions of dollars, in addition to Eni’s announcement in September of an agreement with Oando PLC for the sale of NAOC interests in six (6) onshore blocks and Okpai gas power plant in, Delta State.

He emphasised that divestments of oil assets are not necessarily negative, rather they present an avenue for the local capacities and capabilities that have been developed through local content implementation to be brought to bear in the upstream sector.

Wabote outlined several opportunities that would accrue from divestments, such as the injection of new capital, the rejuvenation of divested assets, and an increase in crude oil production through the investment in technologies by the acquiring firms.

Other direct benefits are the creation of direct and indirect employment opportunities by the indigenous companies and their service providers.

He reiterated that the divestments confirm that Nigerians and indigenous companies have come of age and have acquired the technical, managerial, and financial capabilities to play in the “big league.”

He added that “the involvement of our financial institutions on the transactions represents means of efficient capital deployment and capacity building on loans syndication on an international scale. This is also applicable to legal services, insurance, government relations, employee relations, community liaison, and others.”

Aside from the opportunities, the NCDMB boss equally highlighted challenges encountered in the divestment exercises. These revolved around the time required to get necessary regulatory approvals as well as the substantial interests from various groups covering political, legal, communities, and labour.

Among other challenges are the potential for the disruption of oil and gas production, job losses, as well as “access to latest technology especially if the new investors lack the technical expertise or have no support from original equipment manufacturers.”

There are also issues around how “to manage legacy issues or liabilities related to the environment, communities, and other social commitments and pressure on new investors to recoup investments on time to offset loans and address other financial requirements.”    The NCDMB boss assured that the Board would continue to partner with industry stakeholders to institute regulations that would ensure that the increasing footprints and stakes of indigenous oil and gas production companies would not lead to a reduction in Nigerian content compliance.

He promised that the Board would continue to partner with PENGASSAN to shape a future where Nigeria’s energy industry not only survives but thrives in the face of change.

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Energy

How deployment of new technologies resolved three-year delay on OB3 project — Kyari

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The Group Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd), Mele Kolo Kyari has revealed how the deployment of new technologies has brought a breakthrough to the OB3 Gas pipeline project.

Speaking during an inspection tour of the OB3 pipeline River Niger Crossing operation at Aboh, Delta State, on Saturday, Kyari said the OB3 Gas pipeline is the inter-connector which links the Eastern gas pipeline network to the Escravos-Lagos Pipeline System (ELPS) in the West and the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) Pipeline in the North.

“The River Niger Crossing operation has been the major impediment to the completion of the strategic OB3 Gas Pipeline for over three years due to failure of the various technologies deployed to achieve the construction of the 48-inch pipe under the river bed between Ndoni in Rivers State and Aboh in Delta State,” He lamented.

He however noted that with the adoption of the Micro-Tunnelling/Direct Pipe Installation technology, the new contractors, Messrs HDD Thailand/Enikkom and Tunnelling Services Group (TSG), are making a headway with about 860meters out of the 1,800meters achieved so far.

Speaking after the inspection tour, Kyari expressed delight at the breakthrough, which signals the imminent completion of the project.

“This is a major project of monumental value to our country. What this means is that this is the only way we can deliver the gas revolution. I am very happy and convinced that, latest by the middle of August, we will complete this project. I have been assured of that by the project team,” Kyari stated.

On the significance of the project, he said, “Once completed, we will see about 2.2billion standard cubic feet of gas coming into our network. We believe that this will give our country a breathing space of demand, I am sure we can catch up with that kind of demand in the next one and half years. We are happy that this will give us the platform to unleash the gas revolution in our country.”

Also speaking on the project, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Gas) Rt. Hon. Ekperikpe Ekpo, expressed satisfaction with the pace of work at the OB3 River Niger Crossing operation, describing it as “Renewed Hope at work.”

“I was here last year and I saw the work that was going on. There was a promise that it would be completed by December last year. I took it with a doubt. But today, from what I can see, I am confident that by July or August it will be completed and it will be commissioned by the President,” the Minister stated.

On her part, the Special Adviser to the President on Energy, Olu Verheijen, said she was looking forward to the completion of the project having been assured by the technical team that the right technology has been found to resolve the complex challenges of the River Niger Crossing.

“As the Minister and other speakers have said, we are looking forward to having this project deliver prosperity to Nigerians in the form of electricity and other areas,” Verheijen said.

The Managing Director of Tunnel Service Group (TSG), one of the contractors to the project, Mr. Ingo Justen, who is personally on ground to supervise the project on the request of the GCEO, expressed confidence that the current technology being applied in the execution of the project would lead to its speedy conclusion.

In a presentation earlier, the Managing Director of NNPC Gas Infrastructure Company (NGIC), Engr. Seyi Omotowa, disclosed that at the rate of progress with the new technology deployed, the River Niger Crossing operation, which is the only aspect of the OB3 Gas Pipeline Project left, will be achieved on schedule.

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Nigerian energy firm to build mega LPG Facility in Kenya

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Kenya is negotiating with a subsidiary of Nigeria’s Sahara Group Ltd. to jointly construct a 30,000-ton facility for handling and storing liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), according to sources familiar with the matter.

The deal involves state-owned Kenya Pipeline Co. forming a joint venture with Asharami Synergy Plc to construct a common user terminal, which will be East Africa’s largest LPG storage and bottling facility, in the port city of Mombasa, according to a Bloomberg report.

The facility, expected to take 24 months to build, will be financed by Asharami, one of the sources said, adding that the deal is anticipated to be signed by the end of July.

Kenya Pipeline Co. will provide the land for the project, located on the port side.

The project is expected to help the East African nation achieve universal access to clean cooking energy by 2030.

President William Ruto has been advocating for Kenya to become a leader in green energy in Africa.

As part of this initiative, he aims to double the current per capita usage of LPG, which stands at 7kg.

Kenya Pipeline Managing Director, Joe Sang, said that the country is also actively working to bring a private sector company on board for the new cooking-gas facility.

In a bid to enhance the LPG supply and lower fuel prices, Kenya is also negotiating with Saudi Aramco.

The discussions are focused on acquiring a floating LPG barge.

Sang said Kenya’s efforts to improve its energy infrastructure and support the President’s green energy goals.

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Energy

Shell reiterates commitment to Nigeria’s development, wins FRCN award

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Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) has reaffirmed its unwavering commitment to supporting the socio-economic development of Nigeria, especially in its areas of operations in the Niger Delta.

SPDC Director and Head of Corporate Relations, Igo Weli, made the restatement in Port Harcourt on Friday at a dinner to celebrate the 21st anniversary of Treasure FM, a member of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) network.

“Our commitment stretches back to the 1950s, with a wide range of programmes supporting education, infrastructure, community electrification, and business empowerment,” Weli said.

A key highlight of the anniversary dinner was the presentation of the FRCN Award for Consistent Media Partner to Shell companies in Nigeria.

Weli, who was represented by the Shell Spokesman, Michael Adande, said, “This award serves as a strong reminder that Shell’s dedication to the socio-economic development of the Niger Delta region remains a cornerstone of our presence in Nigeria.”

The award recognises Shell’s partnership with FRCN, particularly its support for the weekly live programme Canvas: Niger Delta Roundtable, which fosters crucial discussions on development issues impacting the region.

“While the award itself was unexpected, it reinforces the value of initiatives like Canvas,” Weli added. “This recognition motivates us to keep promoting development, not just in our operational areas but across the entire nation.”

Since 2017, Canvas: Niger Delta Roundtable has aired twice weekly on different radio stations in the Niger Delta with live online streaming. These broadcasts dedicate an hour to exploring topics relevant to the development of the region and its people.

The General Manager, FRCN Treasure FM Port Harcourt, Fred Onyeka Nwaulune, commended Shell’s partnership.

“Shell has been a reliable media partner, consistently educating the Niger Delta region on the importance of dialogue for development and peaceful solutions,” he said. “Their programme aligns perfectly with FRCN’s focus on sustainable development.”

He noted that through the dialogue radio programme, Shell had demonstrated a continued focus on driving progress and positive change in the Niger Delta and beyond.

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