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Abia Partners Private Sector to Boost Revenue in Solid Minerals




The Abia state government has engaged private investors in Public, Private Partnership (PPP) to maximise revenues from the state’s huge solid mineral deposits.

It has therefore invited core investors in a concession arrangement, whereby they will invest in the exploration and extraction of minerals in the state as enabled by the new federal government solid mineral policy.

The State Commissioner for Environment and Solid Mineral Development, Gabe Igboko, told reporters at the weekend that the shift to solid mineral resources and forestry among others was to end years of low optimisation, especially at a time of economic diversification.

Igboko explained that the plan to raise revenue had begun with the addition of Solid Minerals to Ministry of Environment, new road map on solid minerals recently approved by the federal government and passage of the solid mineral bill by the Abia State House of Assembly.

He added that the Ministry’s partnership and with concession agreement with Messrs. Redsticks Integrated Services Limited, as the sole agent for revenue collection, is the innovation introduced to drive the initiative.

Igboko said: “We didn’t really change what we met on ground, but fine-tuning what we met that is not the optimal. One of the things we did is to identify a team of consultant led by Dr. Abel Ekpunobi, because we know what he has done at the federal level. We are putting in knowledge of experts like Dr. Chuma Igbokwe as well.

“The government’s policies are always there and they are same across the country. The problem has never been having lofty policies but implementation of such policies in a transparent manner.

“In the area of solid minerals, our idea has been that the government cannot keep piloting its affairs the way it has been doing it over the years. Our chief consultant came up with a template. For most of these things to achieve maximum result, we have to concession, to identify competent organisations and we have the Mummy-Mummy Farms Limited and Redsticks Integrated Services Limited to handle the revenue generation aspect of the solid minerals. The innovative we have imbibed in the solid mineral aspect is already making waves.”

The commissioner said though the effort is not without resistance, both administrative and operational from beneficiaries of the hitherto skewed system. He, however, assured that efforts were on to redress the resistance in the interest of the state.

By the Abia State Sand Excavation and Quarry Sites Inspection, Registration, Loading and Maintenance Law, 2016, every quarry site, mining site or other solid minerals excavation site other than sand excavation site shall pay a registration fee of not less than N1million and not more than N5 million, which shall be renewable every year.

Every sand-dredging site shall pay a registration fee of not less than N500,000 and not more than N1 million, which shall also be renewable every year.

The law added that every sand excavation site shall pay a registration fee of not less than N50,000 and not more than N200,000. Every solid mineral site/ company, be it mining, quarry and/ or sand excavation or the like shall pay a maintenance fee of N50 per ton or others as may be prescribed by the ministry.

Every person loading any solid mineral in the state shall pay the requisite loading fee per ton to the ministry: chipping; gypsum; limestone and so on, N100 per ton. Kaolin, laterite/ sand N50 per ton.

Concessionaire to the Solid Mineral revenue project, Dr. Chuma Igbokwe, said the state is emulating Lagos to raise its IGR through partnership agreements.

“Among the five Igbo-speaking States, Abia has the most mineral resources, followed by Ebonyi State, then Imo, Enugu and Anambra. But in terms of development, the reverse is the case. Anambra is the first, followed by Enugu, Imo, Ebonyi and lastly, Abia. It is just a complete flip on its own. But the current governor has set up a good team that is set to revert that,” Igbokwe said.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Crude Oil

Oil Dips Below $62 in New York Though Banks Say Rally Can Extend




Oil Dips Below $62 in New York Though Banks Say Rally Can Extend

Oil retreated from an earlier rally with investment banks and traders predicting the market can go significantly higher in the months to come.

Futures in New York pared much of an earlier increase to $63 a barrel as the dollar climbed and equities slipped. Bank of America said prices could reach $70 at some point this year, while Socar Trading SA sees global benchmark Brent hitting $80 a barrel before the end of the year as the glut of inventories built up during the Covid-19 pandemic is drained by the summer.

The loss of oil output after the big freeze in the U.S. should help the market firm as much of the world emerges from lockdowns, according to Trafigura Group. Inventory data due later Tuesday from the American Petroleum Institute and more from the Energy Department on Wednesday will shed more light on how the Texas freeze disrupted U.S. oil supply last week.

Oil has surged this year after Saudi Arabia pledged to unilaterally cut 1 million barrels a day in February and March, with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. predicting the rally will accelerate as demand outpaces global supply. Russia and Riyadh, however, will next week once again head into an OPEC+ meeting with differing opinions about adding more crude to the market.

“The freeze in the U.S. has proved supportive as production was cut,” said Hans van Cleef, senior energy economist at ABN Amro. “We still expect that Russia will push for a significant rise in production,” which could soon weigh on prices, he said.


  • West Texas Intermediate for April fell 27 cents to $61.43 a barrel at 9:20 a.m. New York time
  • Brent for April settlement fell 8 cents to $65.16

Brent’s prompt timespread firmed in a bullish backwardation structure to the widest in more than a year. The gap rose above $1 a barrel on Tuesday before easing to 87 cents. That compares with 25 cents at the start of the month.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. and oil trader Vitol Group shot down talk of a new oil supercycle, though they said a lack of supply response will keep prices for crude prices firm in the short term.

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Crude Oil

Oil Prices Rise With Storm-hit U.S. Output Set for Slow Return



Crude oil

Oil Prices Rise With Storm-hit U.S. Output Set for Slow Return

Oil prices rose on Monday as the slow return of U.S. crude output cut by frigid conditions served as a reminder of the tight supply situation, just as demand recovers from the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brent crude was up $1.38, or 2.2%, at $64.29 per barrel. West Texas Intermediate gained $1.38, or 2.33%, to trade at $60.62 per barrel.

Abnormally cold weather in Texas and the Plains states forced the shutdown of up to 4 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude production along with 21 billion cubic feet of natural gas output, analysts estimated.

Shale oil producers in the region could take at least two weeks to restart the more than 2 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude output affected, sources said, as frozen pipes and power supply interruptions slow their recovery.

“With three-quarters of fracking crews standing down, the likelihood of a fast resumption is low,” ANZ Research said in a note.

For the first time since November, U.S. drilling companies cut the number of oil rigs operating due to the cold and snow enveloping Texas, New Mexico and other energy-producing centres.

OPEC+ oil producers are set to meet on March 4, with sources saying the group is likely to ease curbs on supply after April given a recovery in prices, although any increase in output will likely be modest given lingering uncertainty over the pandemic.

“Saudi Arabia is eager to pursue yet higher prices in order to cover its social break-even expenses at around $80 a barrel while Russia is strongly focused on unwinding current cuts and getting back to normal production,” said SEB chief commodity analyst Bjarne Schieldrop.

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Crude Oil

Crude Oil Rose Above $65 Per Barrel as US Production Drop Due to Texas Weather




Crude Oil Rose Above $65 Per Barrel as US Production Drop Due to Texas Weather

Oil prices rose to $65.47 per barrel on Thursday as crude oil production dropped in the US due to frigid Texas weather.

The unusual weather has left millions in the dark and forced oil producers to shut down production. According to reports, at least the winter blast has claimed 24 lives.

Brent crude oil gained $2 to $65.47 on Thursday morning before pulling back to $64.62 per barrel around 11:00 am Nigerian time.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose 2.3 percent to settle at $61.74 per barrel.

“This has just sent us to the next level,” said Bob Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho in New York. “Crude oil WTI will probably max out somewhere pretty close to $65.65, refinery utilization rate will probably slide to somewhere around 76%,” Yawger said.

However, the report that Saudi Arabia plans to increase production in the coming months weighed on crude oil as it can be seen in the chart below.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, Saudi Arabian Energy Minister, warned that it was too early to declare victory against the COVID-19 virus and that oil producers must remain “extremely cautious”.

“We are in a much better place than we were a year ago, but I must warn, once again, against complacency. The uncertainty is very high, and we have to be extremely cautious,” he told an energy industry event.

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