$16 Billion Egina Probe: Changing Our Mind Set Is Better Than Changing The NOGICD Act – Roland Ewubare Tells Senate

By, Uchechukwu Ugboaja

As the investigation into the local content component and cost variations of the Total Upstream Nigeria Limited $16 Billion Egina Deep Sea Oil Project continues, the Senate has declared that there is an urgent need to amend the Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act, 2010 as its is currently not achieving the aims for which it was enacted with Nigeria and Nigerians being the big losers.

The chairman of the Senate Ad-Hoc Committee on Investigation into the Local Content and Cost Variation of  $16billion Egina Deep Sea Project, Senator Solomon Adeola made the declaration during one of its sittings as the investigations has shown various loopholes in the Local Content Law that are being exploited by foreign companies with some local collaborators.

“From what we are discovering in this investigation, it is clear that the Local Content Act is not achieving much result with Nigeria losing billions in expatriated hard currency and not much local skill or transfer of technology taking place. We have a case of award of a contract of $42million to a supposedly local company by Total Upstream Nigeria Limited under the Egina Project with Total making direct payment to another foreign company on behalf of the local company in just a pipeline procurement contract without the money passing through the Nigerian company. This is unacceptable and is a way of circumventing the NOGICD Act. It is apparent that indigenous companies are just being used as conduit pipe when they are used at all.” Senator Adeola declared.

However the Group General Manager NAPIMS, Barr. Roland Ewubare decried attempts to create an impression publicly that some individuals or organisations may be deliberately undermining the Local Content Act by way of collaborating with IOC’s to fleece the nations oil assets.

While representing the GMD Dr. Maikanti Baru, and the COO of NNPC at the investigative hearing on Tuesday, Barrister Ewubare stated that activities in the oil & gas industry are only understood by logical minds because its operations are in tandem with global best practices which are unique to the industry. This statement was in response that an allusion to the chairman’s statement that some documents demanded by the committee from the NAPIMS with respect to approvals for the variations of the same contract with Total should not be back dated.

This comment didn’t go down well with the GGM who was absolutely livid at the impression given by the Senate Ad-hoc Committee that there could be obvious collusion on the part of NAPIMS to cover up acts tantamount to abuse of the local content laws. 

H.E Sen. Godswill Akpabio, Sen. Adeola Solomon (Chairman), Sen. Albert Bassey & Sen. Geshon Bassey taking on NNPC, Total & others in the ongoing Egina Probe.

The former Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission seized the opportunity to further passed a vote of confidence on the NNPC’s partner Total who he claimed so far have lived up to their side of the bargain in the ongoing Egina Project. In his words, “there is nothing Total has done that can be described as arbitrary in my opinion so far, but if there are any issues we have existing mechanisms in the contract to resolve them at the end of the project.”  

He further lamented why the Senate will call for an audit of an NNPC project and also expect the NNPC or its partners Total to pay for the audit which was never budgeted for in the course of the project.

Industry analysts and watchers are concerned that the ongoing investigation by the Senate ad-hoc committee could further erode the confidence of other prospective investors into the country’s oil and gas sector as the world is watching the Egina probe almost take the shape of a ‘trial’ of the French oil giants and its partners.

However, it is worthy of note that the ad-hoc committee had made startling discoveries of “unqualified foreign companies” like NOV Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited  cornering multi-billion dollar contract  that should ordinarily go to Nigerian companies from Total Upstream while various kinds of  suspicious variations of original contract sums running into millions of dollar are embedded in the Egina Project stressing that it is either the regulatory mechanism under NOGICD is weak or there are collusion from the Nigerian end to undermine its efficacy.

The Chairman said the new amendment to the Act will seek to place final approval for projects and its execution under the NOGICD Act in the National Assembly to ensure strict compliance adding that from revelations so far many things are being done wrongly to the benefit of International Oil Companies (IOCs) and a few local collaborators against the interest of Nigeria and Nigerians in general.

We will recall that a member of the committee Senator Chukwuma Utazi who revealed that before becoming a Senator he was part of the civil society group that fought for the passage of NOGICD Act regretted that from what is being revealed it seems that all Nigeria have done is to get local collaborators with IOCs to fleece Nigeria of its resources adding that if Nigerian companies cannot benefit from mere procurement contracts, it is unlikely we benefit from technical aspects of the oil and gas industry contracts.

During the proceeding Mr. Mario Lagunes, the managing director of FMC Technologies Nigeria Limited, a Mexican, that got a subsea pipe contract that was varied from $1.3billion to $1.6 billion on the Egina Project told the committee that his Nigeria company is 100% owned by a parent company in Netherland and its dividend are paid to the offshore owners.

The committee frowned at a situation where three quarters of FMC Technologies Limited procurement were purchased abroad with approval of regulatory bodies in flagrant contravention of the NOGICD Act.

It will also be recalled that the Senate resolution to investigate Egina Project was passed to ensure Nigeria derive maximum benefits from the project and to avoid any lapses that may be discovered in two similar offshore projects namely Bonga Southwest, Aparo and Zabazaba that are on stream to come up in the industry.

Other companies involved in the Egina Project that appeared before the Committee with Total Upstream Nigeria Ltd and Samsung Heavy Industry (SHI) include Dorman Long Nigeria Limited, AVEON, Bell Oil and Gas Services Ltd, EWT Services Ltd and DUCO Technic Offshore Ltd. Sapiem Contracting Nig. Ltd.


The issue of transfer pricing and taxation was considered especially why these companies keep taking money out of the country arbitrarily. In view of this the committee confirmed that representatives from the FIRS will be available in the next hearing to clear the air on this issue specifically to ascertain the tax status of these foreign owned companies.

According to the Senator Adeola, “A company like the FMC which is 98% foreign owned is alleged to have been established for the purpose of this Egina Project and you know when you take larger percent of your profit out of the country it will be considered as transfer pricing because even in Houston, Texas which is the hub of the American Oil & Gas industry there are projects which are exclusive to American citizens alone.”

This is why we need FIRS and other relevant government agencies to appear before us and give us their take on all of these, as no further approval will be given by the NOGIDC Board except through the National Assembly.”

How can NAPIMS sign a contract with Total and Total issues a different contract to it subcontractors who are indirectly coerced by Total to give approval to a specific company for the purpose of executing a contract in the Egina Project.”

“In fact Zabazaba and Bonga South-West will not be approved by National Assembly until investigation into the Egina Project is completed,” he said.

How can NAPIMS sign a document on behalf of the Nigerian government and Total goes ahead to offer a contract document different from that which NAPIMS signed which have led to a variation to the tune of $1.3 billion when the funding is 90% in dollars and 10% in naira without the project being executed yet”.

“What could have led to these inflations when foreign exchange differentials have remained constant as 90% is paid in dollars?”

In the light of these, the Senate Ad-hoc Committee have confirmed that a forensic audit will be carried out by an American company with a 16 weeks deadline to submit its report to the committee and if anyone is found wanting the penalty will be severe.

The committee also requested the presence of Samsung Goje South Korea over their role in the role of Ladol over a work yard which was built for $150 million dollars but was quoted to have built by Samsung for $300 million in the contract given to them by Total.

Port Harcourt Refinery Shuts Down

Since December 2017 fuel scarcity has been one of the problems all across the country.

Latest reports are now that the Port Harcourt Refinery which is the most viable of the three refineries in the country has been shut down.

The reason for the shutdown is said to be a damaged rotor which has affected it operations.

This means that even the three to five million litres of petrol being produced per day by the company has been stopped thereby making the country to become totally dependent on fuel importation. The Vacuum Distillation Unit (VDU), Crude Distillation Unit (CDU), Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit (FCCU) are said to be currently down at the refinery and need to be fixed.

The 210,000 barrel per day refining plant which has been down for almost three weeks may come on stream very soon as the staff and officials of the company are reportedly battling to fixed the damaged equipment through local sourcing. Sources said that efforts are being made to source for the parts both within the refinery and outside, especially from Warri Refinery.



Navy Destroy 712 Illegal Refining Units In Seven Months

The outgoing Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Central Naval Command, Rear Adm. Abubakar Al-Hassan, revealed that the Command had destroyed over 712 illegal refining units in the last seven months.

Al-Hassan made this revelation during the send forth parade organised in his honour on Monday in Warri at the premises of the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS), Delta, Warri Naval Base.

Al-Hassan who assumed duty on July 17, 2017 also said that over 900,000 metric tonnes of products suspected to be Automated Gasoline Oil (AGO), Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK) and crude oil were destroyed within the period under review.

He attributed the feat to the commitment and determination of his personnel to ensure that the maritime domain was sanitised from illegal activities in line with the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) directive of 2015.

“Over 100 wooden boats and power driven boats engaged in illegalities in the creeks were either seized or destroyed.

“Part of these successes was attained through patrols at sea and within the backwaters as well as the conduct of exercises and operations such as OCTOPUSGRIP.

“The command also recorded over 25,000 hours of boat patrols within the creeks and waterways between July, 2017 and Jan. 18,’’ he said.

Al-Hassan noted that the nation’s economic centre of gravity fell within the operational domains of the Nigerian Navy (NN) thus making the Navy a vital driver, guidance and enabler of the Nigeria economic aspiration.

“In realisation of this, Navy has maintained constant presence and has deployed enough ships to ensure that criminal activities in the maritime domain are stopped,’’ he said.

The FOC commended the Edo, Delta, Anambra, Bayelsa and Kogi state governments for their support in both facilities and logistic toward the Command’s operations and ultimate success.

He also thanked the traditional rulers and youth leaders in the Niger Delta for supporting the Nigerian Navy by ensuring peace in their various communities.

He urged the personnel to remain more committed toward ensuring safety and security of the maritime domain in the Command’s Areas of Responsibility (AoR).

Al-Hassan also advised the personnel to sustain the good fellowship and give maximum support to the incoming FOC to enable him to succeed in his task.

“My utmost gratitude goes to the CNS for giving me the opportunity to contribute my quota to nation building in this capacity,’’ he said.


Petrol Station Suspended For Diverting Product

The Eket field office of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) in Akwa Ibom has suspended I.Z UBA Nigeria Limited petrol station, Abak, for diverting product to an unknown destination.

This was disclosed to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) by Mr Tamunoiminabo Kingsley-Sundaye, the Operations Controller of DPR in Akwa Ibom on Sunday.

Kingsley-Sundaye said the company lifted the product from the Nigeria National Petroleum Cooperation (NNPC) depot in Port Harcourt to be taken to Ikot Ekong, Abak in the state.

“The company lifted 30, 000 litres of PMS from NNPC depot Port Harcourt to KM 3 Ikot Ekpene Road, Ikot Ekong, Abak, but diverted it to an unknown place on January 13.

“We have suspended the filling station until further notice,” Kingsley-Sundaye said.

The operations controller warned petroleum products dealers in the state to desist from sharp practices or face the wrath of the law.

Kingsley-Sundaye directed depot owners to stop selling petroleum products to unregistered, nonexistent or licensed outlets. (NAN)


Expert Harps On Safe Handling Of Lubricants, Petrochemical

Trains 49 NUPENG/Engine Oil Dealers

In an effort to grease the wheel of economic development and safe handling of petrochemical, over 49 NUPENG/Engine Oil dealers have received training for development.

Speaking at the one day training workshop, the plant manager of Polar Petrochemical Company, Ilorin, Mr. Olajide Adetoyi noted that the training programme shows part of the company’s effort to increase the participants knowledge in petrochemical and allied products.

He stressed that it is also to ensure that the company do not only produce quality but engages in the production of internationally acceptable products.

Mr Adebisi contended that the company wouldalso ensure that the standards and qualities are sustained even after the products must have left the factory until it gets to the final consumers.

The training which theme was “Lubricant” gave the marketing manager the avenue to stress that lubricant is a substance used to reduce friction and wear of the surfaces in a contact of the bodies in relative motion.

He urged participants to make use of the knowledge gained during the training to improve their individual businesses.

He equally asked them to deliver the company’s vision to become an organisation that matters in the society.

Present at the workshop are the Marketing Manager, Mr. Adekunle Adebisi and Mr. Richard Tolowoye, a Senior Manager and several others.


Preparing For A Future Without Oil By Kingsley Omoyeni

As the prices of crude oil continue to drop, coupled with glut of oil in the global oil market, the attention of most countries who had in the past depended on oil as their major income are gradually drifting towards agriculture as the only panacea to their sudden economic downturn.

Nigeria, being a major oil producing and exporting nation in the world had also hitherto depended on oil as the largest chunk of its foreign exchange thereby neglecting the agric sector for many years.

During those years of neglect, a lot of rural roads that lead to farmlands which were supposed to be the undisturbing major source of income for the country had been neglected, hence leaving a lot of those roads in a very bad state and leaving a lot of the rural areas where there are large farmlands inaccessible.

The nation is going through recession and it has become very obvious that the only way out of such economic quagmire is for all and sundry to go back to our root and embrace farming in a subsistence, massive and commercial proportion.

If anyone wants to go into farming in any of these proportion, then the only way to go is to settle in the rural areas where one can find large expanse of land to farm in large quantities.

For a nation or state to get into farming in large proportion, rural farmers need to be encouraged in a lot of ways and one of such ways is by making their farms motorable and accessible so as to easily transport their farm produce to various markets around them.

Aregbesola and the Osun Rural Access and Mobility Project, Osun RAMP can then be described as a match from heaven downturn going by the huge impact the activities of Osun RAMP has had on rural communities through the construction and rehabilitation of roads.

The state of Osun being an agrarian state is made up of many rural areas with vast farmland which needs accessible roads to allow the farmers in such communities to transport their farm produce to nearby markets for sale.

It was therefore a huge respite to the government and the people of Osun through the efforts of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola when the state was chosen as one of the lucky states to benefit from the RAMP intervention through the World Bank and the French Development Agency in the construction and rehabilitation of rural roads across the state so as to assist farmers in the transportation of their goods to the cities and in return boost the economy of the state through farming.

The project in Osun is being implemented and supervised by the State Project Implementation Unit (SPIU), a body made up of heads of state government agencies and parastatals; chief among them is the Ministry of works and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, and through its activities, the project has had a wider impact on the affected communities by providing accessibility which has brought livelihoods to the poor and at the same time boosted the economy of the state.

The Aregbesola administration and Osun RAMP met a lot of the rural roads in a state of disrepair, but the story of many of these roads have changed significantly today, as lot of the roads are now wearing new looks and farmers and traders alike are now experiencing boom in their marketing activities.

Commercial activities in many of the said communities have now doubled because their markets are now flooded with varieties of farm produce on every market day.

A lot of communities which had formerly been cut off by rivers from major markets now have access to the markets because Osun RAMP have succeeded in constructing bridges that will stand the test of time for them.

Some of the communities in Osun where river crossings or bridges were constructed include: Elewonta in Iwo, Olomu stream in Irewole local government, Iree Polytechnic road in Boripe, Olukesi farm – Oju eri in Boluwaduro local government, Ipon Stream in Odo-Otin, Odo Owere in Ede North local government, Gbalefe road, Modakeke in Ife east, as well as Oke-Aho stream located at Sekona in Ife North local government.

Others are: Faweri river in Ife South local government, Ogbaagba Ogudu, Odo Oroki in Obokun local government, Opa bridge in Odunrin via Ipetumodu, Oyile River in Ilasetown, Oyi Adunni in Oke-Ila among others.

The impact of the RAMP intervention on rural roads in Osun cannot be overemphasised as most of the rural dwellers are now happier going by the fact that they are able to do what they know how to do best with ease.

Gone are the days when they have to trek long distances of bad roads before they get to their farms, as transporting their produce to the market is now much easier and the various rural markets are now much more busy than it used to be simply because a lot of farmers can now bring their goods to the market.

Traders on some rural market days across the state have testified to the fact that they now make brisk business as a result of the accessibility to their various markets, saying that they now get a lot of patronage from people living in urban centres.

Food and beverage vendors in the communities now make more money as more people now visit the rural areas as a result of good roads; urban dwellers are now able to take their cars to rural communities without the fear that bad roads may cause a breakdown of their cars.

Lumbering activities in most of the rural communities have also increased tremendously because their Lorries no longer get stucked in mud during rainy season.

New private schools as well as petrol filling stations are now springing up on a daily basis in most of the rural communities; this is because the roads are now motorable and the volume of cars plying the roads are now more than it used to be. Good roads as they say, truly aid rapid development of an area.

Some of the roads rehabilitated and constructed by the Osun RAMP include: 13.7km Agbowu-Aba onile roads, 13.73km Ogbaagba-Eleru-Bode Osi roads, 3.1km Asa-Dagbolu-Ajagunlase road, the 12.73km Ikonifin-Sade-Ajagunlase road, 11.1km Agoro-Ikonifin road, the 4.38km Pataara-Ileko Oba farm settlement road and the 4.38km Akinyele-Aba ayo-Isero road.

Others are: 3.91km Eeleke-Kanko road, 10.5km Jagun Osi/Onikoko-Osi-Sooko Road, 9.3km Ara Joshua-Yinmi Oja road, 10.9km Gbengbeleku junction-Owode Amu road, 39.164km Shasha road, the 3km Ilesa-Ilo Olomo boundary, 8.8km Ilesa-Odogbo-Igbowiwi road, 6.58km Odogbo-Iwara road.

Also touched by the intervention are roads such as the 1km Isale general township road in Ilesa, the 10.5km Isale General Hospital-Muroko-Okebode road, 10.7km Ira-Ikeji ile-Oligeri-Iragbiji road, Ira-Ibete road, Ikeji Arakeji-Aikulola road, the 10.8km Idiroko/Akinyele farm settlement, the 18.7km Mokore farm settlement road, 30km Orile Owu-Ago Owu-Ogedengbe road, 20km Alaguntan forest reserve road among others.

And just recently, precisely in November, the government of Osun took its drive to opening Osun to the world through road infrastructures which flagged off with the construction of another 1 kilometre access road to Olumirin Water Falls being sponsored by the Government of the State of Osun with the implementation to be carried out by Osun Rural Access and Mobility Project.

The solution to the current economic downturn in the nation is the opening of rural roads that lead to farm settlements and Osun RAMP is doing just that in the state of Osun.

PENGASSAN Threatens Nationwide Strike

One of Nigeria’s two main oil unions has threatened to launch a nationwide strike from December 18 over what it described as a “mass sacking of workers that joined the union.”

If the government fails to force the management of domestic oil and gas companies and marginal field operators to recall laid-off union members, its workers will go on strike, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) said.

PENGASSAN did not say how many workers were laid off and union officials did not respond to calls and messages.

Oil output from Nigeria, Africa’s largest crude exporter, has been volatile over the past two years due to militant attacks, pipeline theft and sabotage and industrial action.

Strikes by PENGASSAN workers in December last year at ExxonMobil facilities affected production and dented exports from the company’s fields, according to oil traders and Reuters oil export data.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu said on Thursday that the government would engage with PENGASSAN to resolve the dispute “as soon as possible.”

Hungary Interested In Nigeria’s Oil And Gas Sector

The Hungarian Government has indicated interest to purchase crude oil and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) from Nigeria.

This was disclosed by the Hungarian Ambassador to Nigeria, Professor Gabor Ternak, who during a courtesy call on the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru, in Abuja.

Ternak said the decision to import crude oil and LNG from Nigeria was informed by the need to bridge the current supply gap being experienced in Hungary.

“Hungary depends on oil importation to serve its energy needs as the country is non-oil producing. We want to diversify our sources of crude oil and LNG import and we are considering purchasing these products from Nigeria,” Ambassador Ternak stated.

The NNPC’s Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu made this known in a statement on Wednesday.

He said the Nigerian crude oil would be of great help to Hungarian Refineries involved in large scale commercial refining.

The Hungarian envoy stated that Nigeria could also leverage on the bi-lateral relationship with his country by engaging the services of Hungarian firms that specialize in repairs, maintenance and building of refineries as well as medical services.

He said that Hungarian universities with many years of oil and gas engineering expertise, could assist Nigeria in the areas of capacity building of oil workers.

In his remarks, the NNPC GMD, Dr. Maikanti Baru, stated that the Corporation had commenced tendering process for the selection of the 2018 crude oil off-takers, adding that Hungarian companies could utilize the opportunity by participating in the exercise to maximize value from direct purchase, rather than going through a third party.

“If you don’t participate in the tendering process, you would have to buy the products from one of the traders. However, if you participate with companies and refineries that meet our requirements, they could be shortlisted as off-takers” the GMD averred.

He explained that Hungary could purchase LNG through “spot cargo,” an arrangement in which excess production is given to registered off-takers with the Nigerian Liquified Natuaral Gas Limited (LNNG).

“Normally, gas business is a long-term business and NLNG is not different, we already have existing 20-year contract that will expire by 2022. Nevertheless, we have what is called “spot cargoes”, when there is excess production, and the current contractors have gotten there share as enshrined in the contract, the excess production will be given to registered off-takers in the system,” Dr. Baru averred.


NNPC Finalises $6bn Oil-for-Product Swaps

As part of measures to sustain the supply of petroleum products across the country, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is in the final stage of signing $6 billion worth of deals with local and international traders to exchange about 330,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil for imported petrol and diesel.

The deals, which were previously referred to as offshore crude oil processing agreements (OPAs) and crude-for-products exchange arrangements, are now known as Direct Sale-Direct Purchase Agreements (DSDP).

The Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, had said the DSDP was adopted to replace the oil swaps and the offshore processing contracts so as to entrench transparency into the crude oil-for-product transactions and save the country $1 billion.

The signing of the deals earlier scheduled to take off by April, it was learnt, was delayed for three months to allow the NNPC and the oil traders negotiate the fuel specifications, among other issues.

This year’s beneficiaries also exceeded those of last year by three consortiums, indicating the country’s increased dependence on the NNPC for fuel importation.

Kachikwu had stated in Lagos on Wednesday that with the rise of crude oil price above $52 per barrel, the country finds itself reverting to the position it found itself in, in the first and second quarters of 2016 when NNPC was the sole importer of petrol.

Reuters reported that at least four of the 10 groups of companies have signed product supply contracts with NNPC, which will take effect from July 1, while other companies are expected to sign the deals Friday.

It was gathered that unlike the 2016 contracts, which included only companies with refineries so as to cut out middlemen, this year’s beneficiaries include international trading houses, and not just refineries.
Some of the companies that benefitted in 2016 also made this year’s list, including Varo Energy, Societe Ivorienne de Raffinage (SIR), Total and Cepsa.

However, Italy’s ENI and India’s Essar, which were in the 2016 list did not feature this year, while Socar and Mercuria, which were not in last year’s list, won this year’s contracts.

NNPC had previously said this year’s contracts would exchange up to 800,000 bpd of crude oil, but the figure, representing 40 per cent of Nigeria’s peak production, was seen to be unrealistic in view of production outages.
However, this year’s contracts are worth 330,000 barrels per day, and each of the 10 oil traders/refineries partnered local Nigerian companies to win 33,000 barrels per day allocations.

According to the list, Trafigura partnered AA Rano to clinch 33,000 barrels per day; Petrocam paired with Rainoil and Falcon Crest to win 33,000 bpd; Mocoh partnered Heyden Petroleum to get 33,000 bpd; Cepsa paired with Oando to win 33,000 bpd; while Sahara is partnering Societe Ivorienne de Raffinage (SIR) for 33,000 bpd.

Five other groups that also got 33,000 bpd each include: Mercuria and Matrix/Rahamanniya; Socar and Hyde; Litaso and MRS; Vitol and Varo; and Total, which is partnering its Nigerian subsidiary.

It was also gathered that the 2016 contracts, which were initially planned to begin in April, were delayed as the 2016 deals were extended at least twice, in order to give NNPC more time for negotiations with the traders.
The fuel specifications in the final agreements were not immediately clear, but the July 1 take off date for the importation of higher grade, lower sulfur fuels have been shifted to September 1.

Sulphur levels were said to have been a major sticking point in the negotiations, as the Ministry of Environment and Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) have pushed for a reduction in the sulfur content of imported petrol and diesel with effect from July 1.

Tanker Drivers Deny Being Incited By Ifeanyi Ubah

After the Department of State Services (DSS) on Friday arrested Ubah for alleged economic sabotage, including stealing, diversion and illegal sale of petroleum products, belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), allegations aroused that this was the reason for the tanker drivers strike.

However, The Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) section of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas workers (NUPENG) has denied the allegation that the detained Managing Director of Capital Oil and Gas Limited, Mr. Ifeanyi Ubah, incited it to embark on strike and cause economic sabotage.

The agency has also accused Ubah of undermining the country by inciting tanker drivers to stop the lifting of petroleum products with the ulterior motive of arm-twisting the NNPC to abandon the cause of recovering the stolen products.

But PTD’s Media Officer, Mohammed Abdulkadir, said in a statement last night that it was not true that Ubah or any other individual was inciting tanker drivers to cause any economic sabotage. 

“The allegation is baseless, unfounded and totally untrue.  Our responsibility as a trade union is solely to promote, project and protect the job security and welfare of workers most especially the petroleum tanker drivers in Nigeria. We have no further relationship with any capitalist/employer beyond the precinct of promoting, projecting and protecting the security of jobs and welfare of our members,” said Abdulkadir.

200 Operators Commence Enumeration For Modular Refineries

About 200  operators of crude oil distillation camps referred in local parlance in the creeks as ‘kpo Fire’ camps at the weekend turned up for enumeration of local refineries.

They commenced enumeration of artisanal refineries and crude distillation camps ahead of Federal Government’s proposed liberalization of modular refineries. Speaking at the event, Mr. Pat Obiene, a Social Activist who convened the sensitization exercise noted that it was a follow up to federal government’s new policy directive to formalize the artisanal refineries.

The Vice President Prof Yemi Osinbajo had on February 14 during the ongoing tour of oil communities in the Niger Delta region announce the policy of deploying modular refineries to drive economic development of the region. Mr Pat said that, three groups, Masses Congress, Bayelsa Business Roundtable and Modular Refineries Business Association were collaborating on the data collection exercise to determine the total capacity of the local refineries.

“This is a follow up to pronouncement on the federal government’s desire to use modular refineries open up the Niger Delta and fast track development, so we thought it wise to kick start this initiative”.

“It is based on the idea that the society is built by the cumulative efforts of ordinary people, we want to provide reliable and accurate database that the government can rely for decision and planning purposes”.

“We have designed the forms to classify the artisans into Crude Point Owner, Loader, Cooker/ Refiner and Dumpsite Owner to capture data on number of workers, daily crude volume and daily turnover. “The data collected would be processed and analysed andused as a basis to determine to size and capacity of the proposed modular refineries suitable for each location,” Obiene said. Mr Olaitari Ikemike,President of Bayelsa Business Roundtable, an affiliate of African Business Roundtable explained that the initiative was aimed at networking and cross fertilization of ideas amongst stakeholders”.

“This is an effort to bring private sector people together and work for the realization of the modular refinery concept, we need to be a catalyst to bring local refinery operators together and ensure that our peculiarities are factored in. “The pronouncement of the federal government is laudable and we have to support it and make it actualized,” Ikemike said.


Also Mrs Faith Wilkingson, a local manufacturer of lubricants urged women involved in local refineries to embrace the emerging opportunity to add value to the crude oil endowments of the region. She noted that women were the backbone successful enterprises as they were naturally endowed entrepreneurs. Mr Roland Kiente, who operates a local refinery in Peremabiri Community in Southern Ijaw Local Government in Bayelsa appealed for further sensitization at the creeks to enable all operators to register.

“The policy to make artisanal refining legal is a dream come true for us and to guard against this laudable gesture being hijacked by political jobbers, there is need for further awareness in the creeks. “Igbomatoru, Peremabiri remain the epicenter of local refineries and some operators are apprehensive thinking that they will be arrested if they come out,”Kiente said. Also speaking, Mr Clever Oyabara, Chairman, Modular Refineries Business Association in Bayelsa noted that modular refineries would lay to rest the youth restiveness in the region.


“The policy will be a permanent solution to youth restiveness because a 10,000 barrels per day capacity refinery can create more than 5,000 direct and indirect jobs,”Oyabare said.

Credit: Nigerian Pliot