Port Harcourt and Warri Refineries Produce 7 Million Litres of Petrol Per Day – NNPC

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu says the Port Harcourt Refining Company now produces five (5) million liters of Premium Motor Spirit otherwise known as petrol and the Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company also produces two (2) million liters of petrol per day.

Port Harcourt and Warri Refineries Produce 7 Million Litres of Petrol Per Day - NNPC
Port Harcourt and Warri Refineries Produce 7 Million Litres of Petrol Per Day – NNPC

The Minister made this statement while re-commissioning the Bonny-Port Harcourt Refinery crude pipeline that has just been rehabilitated after being out of use for so many years due to incessant pipeline vandalism.

Dr. Kachikwu stated that Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company is also scheduled to start production any moment from now adding that the coming on stream of the three refineries will go a long way to ensure sufficient supply and distribution of petrol across the country.

He stated that the NNPC under his watch has been able to recover the two critical crude supply pipelines which were Escravos to Warri and Bonny to Port Harcourt crude supply pipelines stressing that they are critical to the downstream sector of the industry.

“Port Harcourt is back in production, Warri is back in production, Kaduna as at today is receiving crude and will soon be back in production. Lagos is easing off now from fuel scarcity and Abuja is doing the same thing and once Kaduna begins production, the North will see a lot of improvement.

He added that for the first time in many years, the three refineries are going to be working and it will help in a great deal with the issue of fuel supply and distribution across the country.

He noted that the commercial governance model system was being introduced into the refineries so as to keep them in business and to enable them compete favourably in the hydrocarbon value chain.

“What we have done is to find a very creative way of bringing investors who will come in, work with our team here who have the skills, reactivate and upgrade facilities in these refineries’’, the minister disclosed.

According to him, the investors will also help us to provide technical support and they will be paid through the flow out of refined products over a period of time which is why we have also changed the refining model such that refineries pay for their crude so it goes into federation account.

He explained that whatever they produce is theirs and they sell to one huge customer which will be both Nigerian Petroleum Marketing Company (NPMC) and the marketers themselves and that enables them to keep the refineries going after the upgrade so that the problem we have in the past of not repairing the refineries will not reoccur.

Dr. Kachikwu noted that the misgivings going round that we are trying to hand over refineries is not true saying that the President was very clear from day one, that at this point in time he was not ready for that, so that is not the model we are pursuing now.

According to him, we are not inviting foreign partners to take over the refineries, we do not have the funds, even now that they are working, they are probably working at about 60 per cent or below capacity so you need to upgrade these refineries and get them to a level where they will operate at 90 per cent capacity or more.

“It requires money and total investment for that is in excess of about $700 million and we don’t have it’’, the minister stated.

He said that even at full capacity of the refineries, the country would still import petroleum products to augment the supply of petroleum products.

The minister said that going forward by 2019 when the co-location refineries become operational, the country will stop importation of petroleum products and become a net exporter.

The Minister reassured that he remains focused at finding solutions to the many problems confronting the petroleum sector adding that gradually the problems were being solved through innovative ways.

He called on Nigerians to own and protect the petroleum crude and products pipelines across their communities stressing that the Federal Government cannot do it alone without their cooperation.

He commended the security agencies for their efforts at safeguarding the pipelines and urged Nigerians to also protect the pipelines since they are national assets.

Speaking earlier, the Managing Director of the PHRC, Dr. Bafred Enjugu assured the Minister that the refineries will deliver on their new mandate of being commercial noting that the hard days of petroleum product scarcity are over for good.

On his part, the Team lead of the Escarvos-Warri and Bonny-Port Harcourt pipeline Task Force, Engr. Rabiu Suleiman stated that the team came up with robust strategies for security and community engagement which according to him if sustained will keep all the refineries working without coming down.

It would be recalled that the 46 km Escravos-Warri crude pipeline and the Bonny-Port Harcourt refinery crude pipelines were rendered inactive for many years by pipeline vandals and the refineries resorted to marine crude transport to the refineries.

Oil Prices Close in on $50 to Hit 2016 High

The prices of crude oil hit its highest point in 2016 on Wednesday, trading a few cents above the previous 2016 high of $46 per barrel and inching closer to $50 on the global market.

As at 3pm Nigerian time, Brent crude, the global benchmark for crude oil, was trading at $46.73 – less than $4 away from the $50 mark – while the west Texas Intermediate (WTI) rose by 92 cents to trade at $44.96 per barrel.

According to the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) secretariat, the OPEC basket price for crude oil rose by 48 cents from $39.40 to $39.88 per barrel

Oil Prices Close in on $50 to Hit 2016 High
Oil Prices Close in on $50 to Hit 2016 High

The rise is crude oil prices has been attributed to a cut in global oversupply, with a major part of the reduction coming from Nigeria, which has become the second largest exporter in Africa, after Angola.

According to OPEC’s Monthly Oil Market Report (MOMR) released in March, Nigeria’s oil production fell by about an average of 100,000 barrel per day and is responsible for the fall in OPEC production levels.

“According to secondary sources, total OPEC crude oil production in February averaged 32.38 mb/d, – a decrease of 175 tb/d over the previous month,” the report read.

“Crude oil output decreased mostly from Iraq, Nigeria and UAE, while production increased in Iran, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.”

According to secondary sources highlighted by OPEC, Nigeria’s production levels fell by 94,200 barrels per day to a daily production of 1.754 million barrels.

The figures are said to have fallen to as low as 1.6 million barrels per day, following incessant pipelines vandalism in the country.

EFCC arrests Fidelity Bank MD for receiving Diezani’s $115m

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arrested the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity Bank Plc, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, and some officials for allegedly receiving $115m from a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke.

EFCC arrests Fidelity Bank MD for receiving Diezani’s $115m
EFCC arrests Fidelity Bank MD for receiving Diezani’s $115m

The EFCC also arrested the bank’s Head of Operations, Mr. Martins Izuogbe, for his role in the alleged scam, which the anti-graft agency described as unprecedented.

A reliable source in the commission on Wednesday told our correspondent on condition of anonymity that during the build-up to the 2015 presidential election, Diezani invited Okonkwo to help her handle some cash, which would be disbursed to electoral officials and groups.

The source disclosed that the fraud was uncovered when the EFCC began investigations into how officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission in Rivers, Delta and Akwa Ibom states received N675.1m.

The detective said, “The MD of Fidelity Bank has been arrested and is currently in our custody. During investigations into the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioners, we got a major breakthrough as funds disbursed were traced to Fidelity Bank.

“We invited the MD, who then confessed to us that during the build-up to the presidential election, Diezani invited him to a meeting in Abuja. Diezani told him that some companies would deposit some funds in his bank and that she would give him further instructions on how the funds would be disbursed.

“The first company, Auctus Integrated, deposited $17,884,000 into the bank. The second company, Northern Belt Gas Company, deposited $60m while another company, Midwestern Oil and Gas, deposited $9.5m. A fourth company, Leno Laitan Adesanya, deposited $1.85m while the MD himself received $26m in cash.”

The source alleged that Diezani’s son, Ugonna Madueke, later served as a middleman between the former minister and the MD of the bank.

He said it was Diezani’s son who forwarded the names of the beneficiaries of the funds, which included INEC officials and several interest groups as well as election monitors, who were expected to compromise the electoral process.

He said, “The MD said it was Diezani’s son that sent him a list of beneficiaries which included several INEC officials and election monitors across the 36 states. Diezani specifically instructed that the funds be disbursed at least a day or two before the elections. The total amount of money was $115m and Diezani told the bank to convert the funds into naira, which was about N23.3bn at the time.

“However, the suspects told us that the volume of money was too big and they had problems converting the funds. So, Diezani told the bank MD to use the bank’s funds and hold on to the dollars as collateral and that after elections, the bank could use the dollars to replace the bank funds.”

The source stated that Diezani did not operate any account with the bank and wondered why Okonkwo would allow himself to be used in such a manner.

“He may be charged with conspiracy once we are done with investigations,” the source said. The PUNCH had reported that a wristwatch worth £600,000 was seized from Diezani during a raid on one of her houses.

The ex-minister, who is currently battling cancer, was last year arrested by the National Crimes Agency in the United Kingdom for sundry allegations.

Under her watch as one of former President Goodluck Jonathan’s most powerful ministers, dubious oil marketers stole trillions of naira of oil subsidy money.

The then Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (now the Emir of Kano), alleged that $20bn was missing from the account of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, an allegation which led to his suspension and replacement.

She had, however, denied all allegations of corruption levelled against her. The family lawyer, Oscar Onwudiwe, who had, in a statement, denied allegations against the former minister, said, “The Madueke family, like most other families, has its own challenges. For instance, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke has been receiving treatment for cancer in the UK.”

All attempts to speak with the spokesperson for Fidelity Bank, Mr. Ejike Ndiulo, proved abortive as his telephone indicated that it was switched off.

However, a senior official of the bank, who spoke with our correspondent on condition of anonymity, said the bank would issue a statement on Thursday (today).

“We don’t have all the facts of the case yet. However, we will issue a statement on the matter on Thursday,” he said.

Buhari urges World Bank to facilitate speedy repatriation of stolen funds

President Muhammadu Buhari Wednesday in Abuja urged the World Bank to do all within its powers to facilitate the speedy repatriation to Nigeria of stolen funds still being held by Swiss authorities.

Buhari urges World Bank to facilitate speedy repatriation of stolen funds
Buhari urges World Bank to facilitate speedy repatriation of stolen funds

Speaking at a meeting with the visiting Managing Director of the World Bank, Sri Indrawati, Mr. Buhari said the repatriation of the additional $320 million US dollars in Switzerland, which has been identified as illegally taken from Nigeria under the Abacha administration, would help ease the current economic hardship facing the country.

The president assured Ms. Indrawati that his administration was taking appropriate steps to ensure that public funds were no longer stolen or misappropriated by government officials.

“We need the support of the World Bank for the repatriation of the funds.

“We are as concerned as the World Bank about accountability. If such repatriated funds have been misapplied in the past, I assure you that the same will not happen with us.

“320 million dollars is a lot of money and we will not allow it to be misappropriated or diverted,” Mr. Buhari told Ms. Indrawati.

One of the conditions given by the Swiss Authorities for the repatriation of the funds is that it should be expended on the implementation of social programmes for the benefit of the Nigerian people in an efficient and accountable way, guaranteed by the monitoring of the World Bank.

Mr. Buhari also assured the World Bank Managing Director that his administration would honour all agreements with the bank that would help to stimulate Nigeria’s economy and reduce the level of poverty in the country.

He said Nigeria would welcome greater international assistance for the rehabilitation of damaged homes, schools, health facilities and other infrastructure in the North Eastern states affected by the Boko Haram insurgency.

Ms. Indrawati told Mr. Buhari that the World Bank was ready to use its knowledge, expertise and resources to help Nigeria achieve faster growth and development.

“We will strongly support you to create jobs and ensure prosperity in Nigeria,” the World Bank Managing Director assured President Buhari.

She also expressed the World Bank’s full support for the war against corruption being waged by the present administration.

Nigeria’s electricity grid loses another 1,585mw

A daily power report from the Nigerian System Operator (NSO) has shown that the national electricity grid yesterday dropped to 2,116 megawatts (mw) from the 3,701mw obtained on Monday, Daily Trust reports.

Nigeria’s electricity grid loses another 1,585mw
Nigeria’s electricity grid loses another 1,585mw

A difference of 1,585mw was lost but the cause is yet to be ascertained. Following the systematic percentage load allocation to the 11 electricity Distribution companies (Discos), the Discos got less than half of the load allocation to them thereby causing critical poor supply situations across the country.

Some Discos’ officials when contacted yesterday said the allocation was so poor that it would cause blackout in various axis of their franchise areas even while they ration supply. The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) responsible for wheeling power to the Discos, whose section, NSO reported the drop, is yet to disclose the reason behind the huge loss of supply in just one day.

Nigeria’s Telecoms Subscribers Shrank to 148.68m in 2015

The total number of subscribers to the Global System of Mobile Communication (GSM) shrank to 148.68 million as at December 2015, compared to 149.78 million in the previous month, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) stated yesterday.
Nevertheless, the new figure represented an increase of over 12 million subscribers (12,004,756) or 8.78 percent relative to December 2015.

It said the drop in total subscribers was due to a declines in MTN (from 62.4 million subscribers to 61.2 million as well as Etisalat (from 23.4 million to 22.1 million) while Glo and Airtel witnessed rises in their number of subscribers.
The NBS added that on year on year basis however, the numbers of gsm subscribers rose from 136.6 million in December 2014 to 148.6 million in December 2015.

It said GSM internet subscriptions rose from 97.06 million subscribers at the end of Q3 2015 to 97.5 million in November before dropping to 97.03 million in December due to a decline in subscriptions in MTN while all other providers witnessed a rise in subscriptions.

According to the “Nigerian Telecommunications Sector: Summary Report for Q4 and Full Year 2015” which was released by the statistical agency, after July, “only Airtel experienced a consistent increase in the number of subscribers, and MTN and Etisalat ended the year with less subscribers than in April.”

It stated that mobile subscribers using GSM dominated and accounted for 98.45 percent of the total followed by the CDMA which accounted for 1.42 percent while the fixed wired and wireless platforms made up 0.08 percent and 0.04 percent respectively.

It added that the dominance of GSM users had increased slightly since December 2014, when 98.29 percent of subscribers used the technology type.

However, GSM users decreased slightly since the end of the third quarter in September, when 98.52 percent of subscribers used GSM technology.
The share of all other technology types also decreased between December 2014 and December 2015, it stated.

The NBS said:”Most of the increase in the number of subscribers was attributable to additional Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) subscriptions. The yearly increase between December 2015 and December 2014 was 8.78%, slightly higher than the growth in the overall number of subscriptions, but considerably higher than for other technology types.

It further stated that GSM remained the most popular subscription type, and that only a small fraction of subscriptions are for fixed lines (wireless or wired).

Oil Prices Rise on Weaker Dollar

Oil prices extended gains in Asia Wednesday as traders await a report on US stockpiles, and some analysts said the market was set for a rebalancing after touching bottom.The two main contracts — West Texas Intermediate (WTI) and Brent crude — had risen sharply in European trading Tuesday on speculation that Saudi Arabia plans to reduce drilling, fuelling hopes of an easing of the global supply glut.

A weak dollar has also provided support as it makes crude cheaper for customers using other currencies.

At around 0640 GMT Wednesday WTI for delivery in June was up 53 cents, or 1.20 percent, at $44.57 and Brent crude for June had risen 58 cents, or 1.27 percent, to $46.32.

“Market sentiment continues to improve,” said Tim Evans, an energy analyst at Citi Futures Perspective in New York. “A lot of people are convinced that the bottom has been reached and the market will rebalance later this year.”

However, Platts associate editorial director Shailaja Nair told AFP she “would still be cautious against the sustainability of this rise because the world is still awash with oil”.

From mid-2014 crude plunged more than 70 percent to near 13-year lows at the start of the year owing to a supply glut, weak demand and a slowdown in the global economy.

But while talks between major producer to address the crisis collapsed on April 17, signs of a pick-up in China’s economy and a strong US recovery have helped prices rise to year-to-date highs.

Traders will be keenly watching the release of an energy department report on US supplies later Wednesday. On Tuesday the American Petroleum Institute reported a surprise drop in stockpiles, according to Bloomberg News.

The Federal Reserve will end a much-anticipated policy meeting later Wednesday, which will be closely followed for clues about the state of the US economy and the central bank’s timetable for raising interest rates.

Nigeria’s FBN Holdings sees no need to raise equity after loan losses

LAGOS (Reuters) – Nigeria’s biggest banking group FBN Holdings has no need to tap equity markets after an unexpected 119 billion naira ($600 million) loan loss provision last year, but will limit lending growth to boost capital, its CEO said on Wednesday.

Nigeria's FBN Holdings sees no need to raise equity after loan losses
Nigeria’s FBN Holdings sees no need to raise equity after loan losses

Urum Kalu Eke said 2015 was a difficult year for the banking group due to weak economic growth in Nigeria, rising inflation and dollar shortages in the currency market, which made it hard for customers to service their loans.

He said the bank holding company, with interests in insurance, commercial and merchant banking, would keep loan growth this year around the four percent it achieved last year.

“The macro (economic environment) does not support aggressive loan growth at this time. We are guiding about 3-4 percent for loan growth this year,” Eke told Reuters in a phone interview.

FBN on Tuesday reported an 18 percent drop in first-quarter pretax profit to 22.1 billion naira after profits fell 77 percent in 2015 due to higher provisions for loan losses.

Eke said about four or five oil firms accounted for some of the loan charges, in addition to real estate and telecoms businesses. He said the bank would restructure the loans or ask customers to beef up collateral and make repayments.

FBN’s stock, down 34 percent so far this year, gained 5.3 percent on Wednesday to close at 3.57 naira, recovering from a 20-year low hit in February when the bank first warned of the charges.

The yield on its seven-year dollar bond due 2021 has hovered at record levels above 19 percent for most of April after starting the year just above 16 percent.

Eke said FBN had no plan to ask shareholders for fresh funds because its capital ratio was higher than the regulatory minimum and also partly because of depressed equity markets. He said the bank would retain profits to boost capital.

Tumbling oil markets in the past year have forced Nigerian banks, which have long thrived on loans to the energy sector and government bond investments, to adapt their business models at short notice.

Eke said the bank was overhauling its credit model to avoid future loan losses and would diversify towards retail customers. FBN expects its insurance and merchant banking units to contribute 10-15 percent to group pretax profits within three to five years, from 8-10 percent now.

($1 = 198.30 naira)

Firm Empowers Youths through Online Project Mgt

An ICT firm, Career Insights, a subsidiary of Digital Bananas Technology, is poised to curb the problem of unemployment in the country by creating an online platform for youths to gain practical work experience in project management or business analysis on a voluntary basis after being trained by a team of digital project management and business analysis experts.

Briefing journalists at the launch of Career Insight Nigeria, in Lagos recently, the founder of Digital Bananas Technology, Mr. Keji Giwa, said the company, which has operated in the UK for about 10 years, has helped about 10,000 people to secure jobs abroad.

He said he decided to launch the company in Nigeria to provide youths with experience that will give them competitive advantage at a subsidised rate.

According to him, the firm offers comprehensive and well blended work-based learning environment with senior leadership workshops, innovative projects to work on, inspirational sessions, as well as one-to-one mentoring to help over 30 candidate secure life changing roles each month.

“At Career Insights they are not just trainers but also passionate researchers, analysts, consultants and most importantly, practitioners. Meaning, the insight and advice you get is completely up to date and relevant to your chosen industry so you can be confident that what you are learning is cutting edge.”

He said with a monthly subscription of N39,000, which is minimal when compared with the N810,000 (1,790 Pounds) charged in the UK, participants get to work with others on live digital projects to give them the experiences they will be able to draw on throughout their careers.

However, he said those who have experience in certain fields, who come on the platform to add value to the inexperienced ones do not need to pay the subscription fee.

He said the platform will benefit graduates as “the more work experience you have as a graduate, the stronger your chances of securing a well-paid role relevant to your educational and career status.” It also serves as a career changer for those that are fed up with their current roles and need a career change; something more challenging, exciting and pays well; as well those who feel they need to move up to a more managerial or an analytical role.

He said one does not require much experience to be on the platform, adding, “all we require is for you to have a strong desire to succeed, not afraid to get your hands dirty, willing to learn and apply yourself.”

Giwa said the business has grown through word of mouth, adding that when one of the candidates secures a project management or business analysis role as a result of the e-Workexperience, they tend to tell their friends and family members, which in turn generates more business for the company.

On the kind of services the company renders, he said it provides digital solutions and digital transformation, as well as helps companies have a digital strategy.

“Because we are living in a digital age, you need to find a way to connect with the customers and transform your businesses. We missed out on the industrial age; we must not miss out on the digital age.”

Eland Oil & Gas increases reserves for Gbetiokun’s early production phase

Gbetiokun will come online via an early production system in the second half of this year, and that phase is now estimated to be worth around US$43.8mln to Eland.

Eland Oil & Gas increases reserves for Gbetiokun’s early production phase
Eland Oil & Gas increases reserves for Gbetiokun’s early production phase

Eland Oil & Gas PLC (LON:ELA) has revealed an increase in oil reserves for the Gbetiokun field, in OML 40, Nigeria, which is expected to begin production in the second half of this year.

Gbetiokun will come online via an early production system, with the Gbetiokun-1 well, and that initial phase is estimated to be worth around US$43.8mln to Eland.

The Gbetiokun EPS has been estimated to have some 10.7mln barrels of proved and probable (2P) oil reserves before royalties, and 8.6mln barrels after.

Eland’s 45% interest in the asset (held via the Elcrest Exploration and Production Nigeria subsidiary) means its share of 2P reserves amounts to over 3.8mln barrels.

“Following the recent success of the Opuama-3 re-entry well on licence OML 40, we are now keen to accelerate the first phase of development of the Gbetiokun field with Gbetiokun-1 being an excellent candidate to continue our strategy of cased hole workovers,” said George Maxwell, Eland chief executive.

Maxwell highlighted that a competent persons report has estimated initial flow rates of around 7,800 barrels of oil per day (gross) from the EPS.

“We are highly encouraged that NSAI calculate a Present Worth net to Eland of almost $44 million for the first phase alone, from an investment of only $6.5 million,” he added.

“Alongside our recently announced CPR for the Ubima field, we believe we are well positioned to materially accelerate oil production and cash flows over the coming twelve months.”

Earlier this month the Ubima field, within OML 17, advanced with the release of a new reserves assessment which gave greater confidence that it would be suited to an early production phase, and subsequently positive flow testing at the Opuama field has provided a further boost.

The Gbetiokun EPS reserves assessment was carried out by Netherland, Sewell & Associates Inc, and it was dated March 31 2016.

Before royalties NSAI estimated 7mln barrels of proved (1P) reserves for the Gbetiokun EPS, while the figure for proved, probable and possible (3P) reserves was 15.4mln barrels.

After royalties the 1P reserve for the EPS is seen at 5.6mln barrels, 2P was estimated at 8.6mln barrels and 3P was 12.35mln.

The March 31 report also outlines 25.87mln barrels of oil in place in the E2000 reservoir, up 73% from a prior estimate of 14.91mln barrels in June 2014, and the E6000 reservoir was estimated to host 12.77mln barrels of oil in place compared to 8.79mln barrels previously.

Eland expects both oil in place and reserves to increase when NSAI updates its assessment of the whole Gbetiokun field later this year.

NSAI previously estimated the total oil in place at Gbetiokun to be just over 81.16mln barrels – with 4.7mln barrels of 1P, 25.8mln of 2P and 32.3mln 3P.

In this morning Eland also confirmed its cash position – it had US$5.7mln at the end of March – and it revealed a positive outlook for its debt capabilities.

It told investors that it had drawn US$15mln under its facility with Standard Chartered Bank.

The borrowing base under the committed US$35mln facility currently stands at US$25.4mln, following the most recent determination which was decided when crude prices were lower, and the company expects the borrowing base to improve at the next redetermination which takes place in June.

Eland expects its ability to borrow will be further enhanced because of the higher flow rates seen after the Opuama 3 well work-over as well as the improved reserves base at Gbetiokun.

The company said that, once the next redetermination is done, it intends to proceed with Standard Chartered with efforts to syndicate a facility of up to US$75mln.