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Subsidy removal: Spending on petrol may rise to N8trn

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Petrol consumers may pay about N8.4trillion for Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, between July and December 2023 once the Federal Government stops subsidy on PMS in June, latest findings and industry data showed.

This represents about 250 per cent increase from the N2.4trillion PMS consumers would spend during the period if the government chose to retain the subsidy regime.

Oil marketers explained that the average cost of petrol could rise to about N700/litre from July, should fuel subsidy be brought to an end in June as projected by the Federal Government.

The development means that the expense by Nigerians for fully deregulated petrol could rise by N6trillion during the six month period, going by the insistence of the government that fuel subsidy would end in June.

The Group Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, Mele Kyari, in February, stated that over 66 million litres of PMS was pumped daily into the market by NNPC Limited to keep the country wet.

With a projected average cost of N700/litre once subsidy is removed, it implies that Nigerians would pay about N46.2billion daily for petrol, which translates to approximately N1.4trillion monthly and N8.4trillion in six months (July to December 2023).

“If the refineries are not working and we are going to depend on imports, then the price of petrol may rise even above the N700 or N750 that is being projected,” the President, Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, Billy Gillis-Harry, told our correspondent.

He added, “This is because it is going to depend on the dollar rate and crude oil cost. When you check the landing cost, logistics, overhead, profit, etc, you might be looking at about N800, though the average is pegged at N700.

“And that is if we continue to depend on imports. Now, this calculation is based on when we get the product at the approved Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) dollar rate, and not at the over N740/$ black market price.

“If the dollar is accessed at the black market rate, then you can double that N700/litre average price once subsidy is removed. So you should be looking at between N1,400 to N1,700/litre. This is why we must get our refineries working.”

Buttressing the position of PETROAN, the Secretary, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Abuja-Suleja, Mohammed Shuaibu, explained that though it was vital to halt the subsidy regime, implementing this without functional refineries would definitely lead to high PMS price.

“Maybe the incoming government will have a proper way of stopping fuel subsidy. How can you stop subsidy when your refineries are not working? By the time they remove subsidy and the refineries are not working, Nigerians should be ready to buy fuel at N700 or N800/litre.

“The sole importer of this product is NNPC and the demand is high. The price in some parts of the East currently is above N300/litre. By the time the subsidy is removed and there is full deregulation, the landing cost alone could hit over N400, and after all other things are added, Nigerians should be ready to pay about N700/litre.”

Energy

Bonga is asset of the year in Shell group

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Nigeria’s premier deep-water development, Bonga, operated by Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited (SNEPCo) has won the coveted Asset of the Year award in the Shell Group for 2023, the latest recognition of its best-in-class performance in Safety, Environment and Asset Management.

Bonga had clinched same award in 2016 and was first runner up in the same category in 2019 for improved production, maintenance, problem-resolving capability, operational excellence and cost ownership.

The asset won again this year beating targets in oil production, plant availability, and greenhouse gas emissions. The asset also recorded zero fatalities and spills. “This is a testament to a culture of excellence which has endured at Bonga since first oil in 2005,” SNEPCo Managing Director Elohor Aiboni said of the award. “We appreciate the hard work of staff and contractors as well as the support of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited and our co-venturers – TotalEnergiesNigeria Limited, Nigerian Agip Exploration and Esso Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited which has enabled Bonga to continue to safely and efficiently deliver value to stakeholders.”

Among other factors, SNEPCo has relied on a motivated workforce, cutting-edge technology and a relentless drive on safety to deliver oil and gas at record levels at Bonga. Last year, the Floating, Production, Storage, Offloading (FPSO) vessel, which is at the heart of the operations, achieved the one billionth barrel of crude oil export. Overall, Bonga produced 138,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) in 2023 compared to around 101,000 in 2022.

The latest award for Bonga adds to a lengthy list of laurels won by Shell in Nigeria in the past few years. In 2022 alone, Shell Companies in Nigeria were recognised as Best International Company of the Year (Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria), Upstream Company of the Year (Nigeria International Energy Summit) and Leading Tax Compliant Firm in Nigeria (Federal Inland Revenue Service.)

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FG, UAE plan new oil exploration deal

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The Federal Government, on Monday, urged the United Arab Emirates to invest in the renewal and reconstruction of the more than 50-year-old oil pipelines in Nigeria, stressing that the facilities had outlived their lifespans.

It also stated that Nigeria and the UAE were on the same page concerning oil exploration as crude oil drilling would not be abandoned despite calls for its abandonment in some quarters.

The Minister of State for Petroleum (Oil), Heineken Lokpobiri, disclosed this in Abuja while playing host to a delegation from the UAE led by the United Arab Emirates Ambassador to Nigeria, Salem Al Shamsi.

Lokpobiri said, “This country has enormous investment opportunities, our pipelines need renewal. They have been there for over 50 years since Nigeria found oil in commercial quantities in 1956/1958.

“And from then till now it is almost 70 years and most of those pipelines were built around that time and have already outlived their lifespans. And even if you can produce, you need to evacuate to the terminals where you would export.

“So it is an opportunity that we are looking up to potential investors from the UAE to come and invest here and recover their money through those investments.”

The minister told his guests that the investment models would be very attractive.

“Part of what we are proposing is that if you come and invest you will get your money, for as you transport the crude you’ll take it. Proportionately you’ll recover your investments, for any barrel of crude you transport through your pipes, you have to recover your investment by placing mutually agreeable charges,” he stated.

Lokpobiri further stated that Nigeria has over 208 trillion cubic feet of gas, adding that “we in Nigeria know that these records are over 20 years. We can double or triple our gas reserves in Nigeria. So Nigeria is more of a gas country than even crude.”

He said, “And even our crude reserves, I’m very confident that the 37 billion barrels we are talking about are also records of about 20 years. So even in terms of crude deposits in volumes, we believe that we should be doing much more than that.

“That is why when this government came on board, part of what was said was that we have to resume our drilling campaigns to ensure that we make more discoveries and sustain the momentum, and we are achieving that by liberalising the processes.”

He said the government was trying to eliminate the bureaucracy which had been one of the reasons why some of these investments were delayed.

“Of course, you know that following the introduction of the Petroleum Industry Act, the NNPC is now run as a national oil company that is to make profit for shareholders and Nigerians.

“So we want to assure the UAE that Nigeria is open for investments and we are committed to deepening our very strategic relationship with the UAE. I am happy that the visa issue has been addressed,” the Minister stated.

Lokpobiri told the ambassador that Nigeria and the UAE would continue to leverage their membership of OPEC to work as partners, adding that the Nigerian market is huge for investments, whether in LPG, CNG or the entire value chain in the oil and gas sector.

He said Nigeria lacks the amount of dollars required for suitable investments in the oil sector, but noted that the UAE has billions of dollars that could be invested in Nigeria and recovered by the investors.

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TCN: Electricity to be restored in North-East region by May 27

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The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has informed governors of North-East states that efforts are underway to restore electricity to the region by May 27, 2024, in line with previous commitments.

In a circular signed by the spokesperson of the commission, Ndidi Mbah, on Tuesday, TCN reported that its team is actively rebuilding the four towers that were destroyed by vandals in the region, and requested a bit of patience as the reconstruction progresses.

Mbah also mentioned that the commission has required contractors to install on-site machines to accelerate the fabrication processes of tower components, which is currently in progress.

“The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) wishes to assure the North East Governors Forum (NEGF) that we are doing everything possible in our power to ensure the restoration of power supply to the North Eastern axis of the country, as earlier indicated in our press release of 10th May 2024.

“Our team has been tirelessly working to rebuild the four towers destroyed by vandals, and we will not rest until power is restored to all the affected areas. We appeal for a little more patience, as work is truly advancing.

“To expedite the work, we have insisted that the contractor put in place on-site machines that will help increase the fabrication processes of tower members which is ongoing.

“We expect power supply to be restored by May 27, 2024, through the new 330kV transmission line, allowing Yola and Jos DisCos to offtake and distribute optimally from TCN substations,” the circular read in part.

Recall that in April, the TCN had reported that four of its towers on the Jos–Gombe 330kV transmission line were vandalized.

According to Mbah, the transmission line initially tripped and despite attempts by the company’s operators to restore it, it happened once more.

Mbah explained that this led to the deployment of TCN operators who were sent out to trace and rectify the fault along the line.

She added that while tracing the fault, TCN’s engineering crew discovered that towers 288, 289, 290, and 291 were vandalised and some parts carted away.

Many states in Nigeria continue to suffer from vandalism of electricity infrastructures, often leading to power outages that can last for weeks or even months.

Last month, TCN reported incidents of vandalism of its towers five times in February.

It noted that the destruction of its facilities counts as sabotage and urged security operatives and host communities to work towards bringing the culprits to book.

Meanwhile, following the report, Mbah noted that efforts by TCN are currently mobilising for repair works on the affected facility.

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