The Interim Administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Mr. Efiong Akwa, has stressed the need for peace and security to create the necessary environment for the rapid development of the Niger Delta region.
Akwa stated this when a delegation from the Nigerian Navy Hydrographic School paid him a courtesy visit at the NDDC new headquarters in Port Harcourt.
According to a statement by the Commission, he said that NDDC needed the support of security agencies to succeed, noting that the presence of international oil companies in the Niger Delta region had made the area susceptible to kidnapping and other forms of criminality.
The NDDC Chief Executive Officer said that much as the mandate of the Hydrographic School was basically training, it should also help with surveillance to provide information and data that would help the other security agencies to ensure a safe marine environment in the region.
He added: “The school should be able to share information and intelligence to make the Niger Delta region a place people will want to visit and set up businesses.”
Akwa said that as an interventionist agency, NDDC had a responsibility to ensure that those who safeguard the lives and property of the people were given the necessary support to enhance their capacity to maintain security in the Niger Delta region.
He deplored a situation where after three decades, the Nigerian Navy Hydrographic School was still unable to get international accreditation because of the absence of some critical infrastructure.
He said: “It is regrettable that you have training boats yet you don’t have a jetty. I assure you that NDDC will assist the school to achieve the objective for which it was established.
“Getting accreditation is something we should be proud to help you achieve because it will enhance the capacity of the Nigerian Navy to project us to the outside world as a people that are ready to make progress in the maritime sector.
“We are going to take your designs for the jetty to our Planning Department to incorporate in our 2021 budget and I am confident that the National Assembly will do justice to it. The jetty will be taken care of as soon as the budget processes are through.”
Earlier, the Commanding Officer, Nigerian Navy Hydrographic School, Capt. Mahmud Fana, appealed to the NDDC for support in providing critical infrastructure that would qualify the training school for international accreditation.
He said: “We are having setbacks because of infrastructure deficiency and we need to have the right environment to be able to provide needed security in our area of operation.”
Fana observed that the Hydrographic School was selected for accreditation in 2018 by the International Hydrographic Organisation but following an inspection of their facilities, the accreditation was withheld pending the availability of some facilities, such as surveying boats and a jetty.
He said that a 2018 contract for the construction of a jetty for the school by NDDC was cancelled on account of design deficiencies. However, he said, the school had now produced an appropriate design and would, therefore, want the NDDC to re-award the contract for the construction of the jetty.
The construction of the 10,000 tonnes/day methanol production plant by the Brass Fertiliser and Petrochemical Company Ltd (BFPCL), would not only be the largest methanol plant in Africa and the first in Nigeria, the construction phase is expected to create 30,000 direct and indirect jobs, as well as an additional 5,000 permanent jobs during the operations phase.
The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and DSV Engineering had last Friday signed the Final Investment Decision (FID) for the construction of 10,000 tonnes/day methanol production plant by the Brass Fertiliser and Petrochemical Company Ltd (BFPCL), committing equity investment of US$670m.
According to the financing plan, the project is estimated to cost about US$3.5bn and aside the equity from NCDMB, NNPC and DSV, there is an impressive cast of lenders which includes a consortium of Chinese banks led by the China Exim Bank, African Development Bank (AfDB), international commercial banks, regional banks and African institutions and they would be expected to raise 70 percent of the project cost.
Other agreements that have been firmed up include a Gas Supply Purchase Agreement (GSPA) with the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) led joint venture, offtake agreements and contracts for Engineering Procurement and Construction and technology provider.
The Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote, the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the NNPC, Malam Mele Kolo Kyari and Executive Vice-Chairman of BFPCL, Chief Ben Okoye signed the FID on behalf of their organisations.
Speaking at the event, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva said the project was part of the strategic efforts to maximize value and monetize the country’s vast gas endowments. He stated that President Muhammed Buhari had in July 2020 “approved the development of the Brass Gas Company with the sole aim of aggregating and monetizing all stranded gas in the Brass area, which amounts to over 10 trillion cubic feet of gas, into the processing facilities to be built in the hub.”
He expressed confidence that the project would have significant economic and developmental impact on the country, including support for gas-based industries, revenue generation and import substitution for methanol needs of the nation that is currently 100 percent imported.
Other economic benefits include foreign direct investment, economic diversification, acceleration of Nigeria’s march to zero gas flaring and community development through the company’s plan to offer one percent equity to host communities.
In his remarks, the Executive Secretary NCDMB underscored the significance of two Federal Government’s agencies – NCDMB and NNPC catalysing investments in the country. He added that the project would place Nigeria in the world’s map as one of the top 10 producers of methanol.
He emphasised that Local Content can only grow sustainably when there are oil and gas projects, adding that a mega project of this size provides opportunities to utilize local capacities and capabilities built over the years.
He further explained that opportunities provided by the project in job creation, gas utilization, local availability of methanol for primary and secondary users, formed part of the basis of the Board’s decision to partner with Brass Fertiliser and Petrochemicals Company Ltd to enhance delivery of the project.
Wabote also commended Chief Sylva for recording huge achievements in the energy sector, at a time when most nations are unsure of decisions to make amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He listed some of the Minister’s accomplishments to include the signing of Train-7 FID, Gas Flares Commercialisation, Marginal Field bid rounds, Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), Refining Roadmap, and others.
The GMD NNPC in his comments described the BFPCL as the most third most important project that had taken FID in the last five years. He stated that achieving FID for the project was proof of the Federal Government’s commitment to monetize the nation’s gas resources, notwithstanding the challenging investment environment. He pledged the commitment of NNPC to ensure the delivery of the methanol plant on schedule by 2025.
According to him, “The country is blessed with abundant gas resources, over 200 trillion standard cubic feet of gas (tscf) proven, with potential of over 600 tscf. As energy transition processes go on, you must monetize these gases as quickly as possible. NNPC will continue to collaborate with all the strategic partners. We will ensure that feedstock is available for this project and subsequent projects that would happen in the Brass hub.”
Executive Vice-Chairman of BFPCL, Chief Ben Okoye said that jobs that would be created from the project would help to assuage the restiveness in the Niger Delta in addition to the development of a new oil and gas city in Brass Island.
The establishment of modular refineries in the country will make petroleum products available in the country and eliminate importation, President Muhammadu Buhari stated on Tuesday.
According to a statement by the Special Adviser to the President, Media & Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the President spoke at the virtual inauguration of the 5,000 barrels per day Waltersmith modular refinery in Ibigwe, Imo State, as well as the Ground-Breaking Ceremony for the Phase-2 works to expand the capacity of the refinery to 50,000 barrels/day.
President Buhari said the deployment of modular refineries was one of the four key elements of his administration’s Refinery Roadmap rolled out in 2018, adding that its implementation will make Nigeria a net exporter of petroleum products.
He expressed delight that Waltersmith refinery in Ohaji Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State was coming on stream within two years of the commencement of the Roadmap, after many years of granting licenses for the establishment of modular refineries with nothing to show for it.
”Furthermore, there is increased momentum in the other three focus areas under the Roadmap covering the Rehabilitation of existing refineries, Co-location of new refineries, and Construction of greenfield refineries.
”The realization of the Refinery Roadmap will ultimately lead us to becoming a net exporter of petroleum products not only to our neighbouring countries but to the worldwide market.
”This modular refinery is the largest commissioned modular refinery in the country today.
”The role played by the Federal Government through the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) in going into collaboration with Waltersmith Refining and Petrochemical Company is novel in concept and superb in delivery,” he said.
The President described plans to commence the expansion of the capacity of the refinery to 50,000 barrels per day to refine crude oil and condensates as an important part of economic reforms the country is undergoing.
”I look forward to seeing this new phase completed within the target timeframe,” he said.
President Buhari, therefore, directed the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), NNPC, as well as all relevant Government Agencies to provide Waltersmith Company all the necessary support to access crude oil and condensate feedstock for the timely delivery of the additional capacity.
In line with his administration’s agenda on jobs creation, the President said he was pleased to note that hundreds of direct and indirect jobs were created during the construction of the first phase of the project in addition to the various business opportunities.
Equally, he expressed hope that the construction of the second phase of the project will create bigger additional employment opportunities.
President Buhari thanked the local community and the people of Imo State for hosting the refinery, which, he stressed, will bring prosperity and economic development to the area.
The President commended the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, the Chairman and members of the Governing Council, and the management and staff of the Nigerian Content Development Board for making the public-private partnership a success.
He also commended the Chairman, Board, Management and Staff of Waltersmith Refining and Petrochemical Limited for their professionalism and focus in getting the project completed.
Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State and the Minister of State, Petroleum, cut the tape on behalf of the President, at the event which was also attended by the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mele Kyari, the Executive Secretary, NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Wabote and the Chairman of WalterSmith, Abdulrazaq Isa.
Traditional rulers in the Niger Delta have declared their total support for the Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Col. Milland Dixion Dikio (Rtd).
They also agreed to work closely with him to realize his new vision for the PAP and achieve lasting peace in the region. The monarchs made the pledge in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, when Dikio paid them a courtesy call as part of his ‘Back to the Region tour last Tuesday, according to a Vanguard report.
While commending President Muhammadu Buhari for his appointment, the traditional rulers said Dikio’s tour of the region and his inclusive approach in the running of the PAP has reinstated the confidence of stakeholders that the Federal Government is committed to the objectives of the programme. In a speech read on his behalf, the Executive Chairman/General Coordinator of the Association of Niger Delta Monarchs of Nigeria, King (Captain) Frank Okurakpo expressed confidence that Dikio will live up to expectations. King Okurakpo however appealed to Dikio to ensure that all those who have been trained under the PAP are fully engaged in order to reduce youth unemployment in the region. The monarchs also called for the establishment of amphibious security outfit that will be responsible for checkmating kidnapping and other sundry crimes within the region.
They also investment in Agriculture and marine transportation that will help create jobs. In his remarks Dikio thanked the monarchs for maintaining peace in their domains and assured them of his readiness to recalibrate the training programme of the PAP to reflect areas that people of the Niger Delta have comparative advantage. He said his tour of the region was deliberate because of the insinuations that the programme has been hijacked by other regions and has become an “Abuja thing”. Dikio told the monarchs that his actions and policies would be guided by consensus inputs of key stakeholders of which they play a major role He added that his focus would be effective reintegration of ex-agitators.
“We want to work with all tiers of government and those central to our new vision so that we can deliver the deliverables of the PAP. “This is essentially why I have come to meet with you today. I want you as royal fathers to help us restore that age-long respect for our institutions and our elders. Those are the fabrics that helps to preserve our traditions and culture. “We are people from riverine communities. There are things that are mostly peculiar to us and they come naturally with us. So we are going to recalibrate our trainings to take cognizance of those areas we have comparative advantage over otherd and enhance them. That to me will in the long run positively impact on our people. “Ultimately we want to synergise with all stakeholders so that we can make the Niger Delta a place to live and do business in”.
**WalterSmith project in line with President Buhari’s vision to boost Nigeria’s oil refining capacity – NCDMB
President Muhammadu Buhari will tomorrow formally commission the WalterSmith 5,000 barrels per day modular refinery at Ibigwe, Ohaji/Egbema local government area of Imo State.
The Modular Refinery project is part of the initiative of the Buhari administration to boost local refining of petroleum products to end importation and create jobs and opportunities for people in the Niger Delta region.
The President will be supported at the event by the minister of state for Petroleum Resources, Timpre Sylva and Imo State governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma, among other top government officials, oil industry regulators and stakeholders. The president will also perform the ground-breaking ceremony for the 45,000 barrels per day refinery also initiated by Waltersmith.
The event will also feature goodwill messages from top industry players, partners and community leaders. At a recent pre-commissioning visit to the refinery, Yusuf Usman, Chief Operating Officer, Gas & Power, said, “It is a landmark achievement and it shows that we can actually refine our crude oil in-country.” The modular refinery has a crude oil storage capacity of 60,000 barrels and is projected to deliver over 271million liters per annum of refined petroleum products, including Kerosene, Diesel, Naphtha and Heavy Fuel Oils, to the domestic market. The bulk of crude oil supply for this phase will come from Waltersmith’s upstream business, with backup from the OML 53 (Ohaji South) Seplat/NNPC JV third party crude currently processed at Waltersmith Ibigwe Flowstation and additionally from the 2020 Marginal Fields Bid Round for a nearby asset.
The company then partnered with the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) and Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) to raise the required financing. NCDMB are 30 per cent equity partners while AFC committed senior secured credit facility towards the project.
“From the very day we keyed into this project in line with the President’s aspiration to grow the country’s oil refining capacity, we felt very happy that we are associated with Waltersmith, a serious-minded company”, said executive secretary, NCDMB, Simbi Wabote.
The Chairman, Waltersmith Group, Abdulrazaq Isa, said, “The first module to be commissioned tomorrow is 5,000bpd refining capacity. We are looking at 50,000bpd refining capacity that will come with the planned additional two modules; 25,000bpd and 20,000bpd refining capacity respectively which will then add PMS, Aviation fuel and LPG to the product slates.” Waltersmith obtained the ‘License to Establish’ the modular refinery from DPR in June 2015 and got the ‘Authority to Construct’ in March 2017.
As part of the on-going Forensic Audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, the lead consultants, Olumuyiwa Basiru & Co. will tomorrow (Thursday) takeover all original contract files relating to projects and programmes awarded by the NDDC between 2001 and 2019, as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The NDDC, in a statement issued yesterday, said the takeover of the contract files by the Forensic Auditors will mark the commencement of the next stage of the exercise which started with the handover of contract documents covering projects captured during the verification exercise in April 2020.
According to the statement, “It is important to emphasize that the forensic audit is being carried out in phases and we are now ready to kick-off the Field Forensic Audit. To ensure the success of this exercise, we are making available all required documents needed by the field auditors to enable them discharge their duties efficiently and effectively.
“The NDDC management will meet with the forensic auditors to formally release the files which have been sorted in 16 lots as segmented for the forensic exercise.
“We wish to inform the public that all contract files are no longer in the office of the Acting Executive Director Projects, as they are now in the custody of the auditors.”
The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has handed over Polymerase Chain Reaction, PCR, machines and related medical items to three teaching hospitals and one College of Health in Rivers and Delta States for the fight against the Coronavirus, COVID-19.
Handing over the medical equipment to representatives of the hospitals in Port Harcourt, the NDDC Acting Managing Director, Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei, said that the distribution of PCR machines across the Niger Delta region would help in both testing of patients for COVID-19 and also for research purposes.
According to a statement by the Commission, Prof Pondei, who was represented by the Director Health and Social Services, Princess Philomena Oputa, said that the equipment would impact positively on the lives of the people of the Niger Delta region and address their health concerns as it relates to COVID-19.
He noted: “We are continuing with the distribution of PCR machines across the Niger Delta region. The handover should have taken place in the institutions but they were so excited and could not wait and decided to come and carry the equipment themselves.
“We are still distributing and we are going to send to the remaining states that are not here today because that is the original plan.”
Responding, the Chief Medical Director, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Prof. Henry Ugboma, said that the equipment would go a long way in improving service delivery in the health institutions.
He said: “I can assure you that as we have received this, we are going to put it into good use and I am asking that in a very short time, NDDC will call us again for further assistance.”
Also speaking, the Provost College of Health Science, University of Port Harcourt, Prof. Iyeopu Siminialayi, noted that the equipment were expensive and not easy to come by. He added: “We thank the Federal Government for approving the money for the NDDC that made it possible to get these equipment. We look forward to a mutually beneficial partnership with the NDDC.”
In his own remarks, the Director of Health Services of Rivers State University, Dr. Dagogo Cooky-Gam, thanked the NDDC for assisting health institutions in the Niger Delta region. He said that the equipment will enable the university to set up a laboratory that would help in testing students and other members of the university community.
A second-year student of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Mr. Abasiekeme Edet, has won N1 million in the 4th edition of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) Annual National Undergraduate Essay competition.
According to a statement from the NCDMB, the prize giving ceremony was held in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State on Wednesday and the essay by the 18-year-old was adjudged the best amongst over 6,000 entries submitted by undergraduates who must be within their first and 2nd year in the university.
The topic for this year’s essay contest was “Research & Development as a key lever for Local Content Implementation in Nigeria’s Oil and Gas Industry.”
Miss. Oluwadamilola Elizabeth Oluwafela, a 200-level Medical student, Obafemi Awolowo University, Osun State emerged the first runner up and won a cash prize of N500,000, while Mr. Somtochukwu Samson Eze, a 100-level Medicine and Surgery student of University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State placed third and won a cash prize of N300,000.
Other finalists received HP laptops as consolation prizes.
In his keynote address, the Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote disclosed that the competition was geared towards developing human and material capacities, which is one of the key mandates of the Board.
He explained that the Board sponsored the contest to create local content awareness among our vibrant youths and make them advocates of Nigerian Content, which is critical to sustainable development of our local economy, job creation and national security.
The Executive Secretary who was represented by the Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, Mr. Patrick Daziba Obah commended the choice of the topic for this year’s competition, hinting that Research and Development is pivotal to national development and the bedrock of sustainable Local Content.
Obah indicated that the Board’s developed a 10-year R&D roadmap to help promote the culture of research and innovation in Nigeria and support local content development in the oil and gas industry. He identified some key initiatives under the R&D roadmap to include the establishment of a US$50 million Nigerian Content R&D Fund, sponsorship of research prototypes, commercialization of research findings and setting up of R&D Centres of Excellence (CoE) in five Nigerian Universities.
While congratulating the finalists for their hard work and dedication, he expressed excitement with the increase in the level of participation in the Essay Contest from undergraduates in various tertiary institutions across the country.
In his remarks, the General Manager, Corporate Communication and Zonal Coordination, NCDMB, Dr. Ginah O. Ginah mentioned that the competition is one of the Board’s interventions to improve the standard of education in Nigeria. He added that it aims to promote proficiency in writing, increase the participants’ awareness of local content and engender citizen engagement from undergraduate level.
Ginah who was represented by the Manager, Corporate Communication, Barr. Naboth Onyesoh Onyesoh stated that the contest is also intended to promote analytical and critical thinking among Nigerian youth which is vital for enrich problem-solving and for effective citizen engagement.
“Enlightened citizenry is required for local content advocacy and to nudge public institutions to be more accountable, transparent and alive to quality service delivery, hence this competition is oriented to encourage reading and writing, promote analytical and critical thinking among Nigerian youth,” he added.
The chairman of the occasion and Vice Chancellor, Federal Medical University, Prof Ebitimitula Etebu, represented by the Registrar, Dr Akpos Adesi, pointed out that national competitions such as this helps to foster national unification and boost academic excellence. He applauded the Board for sponsoring the competition and sought for its sustainability.
Mr. Abasiekeme Edet, the winner of the competition thanked the Board for organizing the competition, which provided a challenge for students to research extensively and proffer solutions around the issues of local content.
Oil firms that neglect their obligations to host communities risk losing their operating licenses if the new Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) presently before the National Assembly sails through.
The Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) seeks to increase government revenue from oil, establish strengthened legal and regulatory framework for the Nigerian oil industry, and promote transparency in the administration of Nigerian petroleum resources.
According to Leadership newspapers, in the new bill, the power to revoke oil licenses is vested on the Minister of Petroleum Resources. It reported that according to the bill, the action will be taken with the recommendation of the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission, among other powers.
It defines host community as “any community situated in or appurtenant to the Area of Operation of a Settlor (oil company), and any other community as a Settlor may determine.”
It said that any oil and gas company that fails to incorporate the Host Communities Development Trust would have its license revoked.
It stated that on its constitution, the Host Communities Development Trust would be empowered to manage and supervise the administration of the annual contribution of the settlor (oil companies) contemplated under the Act and any other sources of funding.
The bill further proposed that the objectives of the trust shall include financing and executing projects for the benefit and sustainable development of the host communities.
“It will undertake infrastructure development of the host communities within the scope of funds available to the Board of Trustees for such purposes; and facilitate economic empowerment opportunities in the host communities, among others,” it said.
Other powers granted the minister of Petroleum in the new bill include the revocation and assignment of interests in the petroleum industry, and approval of the fees for services rendered by the upstream, midstream and downstream regulatory authorities.
The bill is also proposing to empower the minister to order a cutback of the levels of crude oil or condensate production in the context of international oil pricing agreements supported by Nigeria.
It stated: “The minister is also empowered to, upon the recommendation of the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission, or the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, direct in writing the suspension of petroleum operations in any area.
“The suspension, according to the bill will persist until arrangements to prevent danger to life or property have been made to his satisfaction or where in his opinion, a contravention of the Act or any regulation made under the Act has occurred or is likely to occur”.
The bill has passed second reading at the Senate and a committee was constituted to work on it for further deliberation.
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