- Niger Delta Nationalities Forum Seeks Buhari’s Intervention in OPL 245 Dispute
The Niger Delta Nationalities Forum in Lagos has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene in the protracted dispute involving Oil Prospecting Lease (OPL) 245, stressing that it is an act of injustice that the only oil block awarded to an indigene of Niger Delta by the late General Sani Abacha has become a source of unending dispute.
The Forum also lauded the federal government’s decision to dialogue with leaders of Niger Delta region to find solution to the crisis in the region, describing it as the best option for the country.
Speaking to journalists in Lagos at the weekend, the Chairman of the Forum, Mr. Seigha Manager said the people of the region were grateful to the late General Sani Abacha for creating Bayelsa State and allocating three oil blocks to the deserving Nigerian citizens from the Southeast, Northeast and South-south (Niger Delta).
He identified the three oil blocks as Oil Prospecting Leases (OPLs) 244, OPL 245 and OPL 246. According to him, OPL 245 was the only oil block allocated to a Niger Delta citizen.
“While the other two have enjoyed peace and tranquility in the hands of their owners, that of the Niger Delta citizen, OPL 245, is akin to a bird standing on a tiny rope. Neither the bird nor the rope has seen peace till date. It is the only oil block that every passing regime has poked into simply because the allottee is a Niger Deltan. It is the only oil block that has been allocated, cancelled, later returned to the allottee and then is under probe at any given time. All of this is happening because the allottee is from the Niger Delta, yet the owner does not fall in the bracket of rich persons in Nigeria not to talk of Africa. There are other issues like that,” Manager said.
He argued that the allegation by Senator Ita Enang that about 85 per cent of oil blocks were allocated to northerners and others to the exclusion of Niger Deltans was not a false allegation, adding that the only oil block allocated to a Niger Deltan has become a source of dispute.
He urged President Buhari as a man of integrity to intervene in the OPL 245 matter.
“Even when these oil blocks are domiciled in our backyard where the oil exploration and exploitation activities affect our people, other Nigerians do not think we deserve to own anything relating to oil in the Niger Delta. These are the things that bring restiveness to the Niger Delta. Therefore, I am appealing to Mr. President and even the national assembly members, whom we know that as at today, have constituted committees again and again to probe this particular oil block, to please sympathise with us in the Niger Delta and allow us to have some peace.”
Manager said the dialogue with the Niger Delta was delayed probably because President Buhari was “overwhelmed by the undue pressure and misinformation from either his party or overzealous folks, otherwise as a former head of state, a former governor of the old eastern region, a former oil minister and a former Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) chairman, he should be the most qualified, most guided and most experienced leader to handle the Niger Delta crisis with utmost care”.
“The president is today doing what he should have done since last year; just like what Obasanjo did in 1999 as well as Yar’Adua in 2007. In any case, it is better late than never,” Manager added.
On the expectations of the people of Niger Delta from President Buhari, Manager said the people wanted due respect as stakeholders in Nigeria without discrimination.
According to him, the Niger Delta has rejected the second class citizenship status, which other regions try to bestow on the region.
To support his allegation that the major tribes treated the Niger Delta as second class citizens in a country, Manager alleged that the people of the region were shortchanged in allocation of oil blocks.
“The richest woman in Nigeria cum Africa is from the southwest and her source of wealth is oil. The richest man in Nigeria cum Africa is from the northwest and his wealth is largely tied to oil exploit. The second richest man in Nigeria and fifth in Africa is from the northeast and he is simply an oil magnate. Again, the third richest man in Nigeria and eighth in Africa is still from the northeast and he is also another oil magnate. Oil block allocation is the prerogative of the president of Nigeria at any point in time and when he allocates, until such allocation is changed by law, it remains so,” he explained.
To solve the militancy problem in the Niger Delta, he suggested that President Buhari should look into the issue of Amnesty Programme and give it every support that is necessary.
“He should bring in more restive youths into it and pay them their stipend as and when due. Although we talk of the infrastructural development and all sorts of development in Niger Delta, the one that is immediate and can affect the lives of the youth is the amnesty, which is the only successful interventionist programme in Niger Delta,” he said.
He also urged the president to make up his mind to fund other interventionist agencies like the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the Niger Delta Ministry, properly or scrap them completely.
Petrol Subsidy Likely to Gulp N2T This Year –Rainoil GMD
Nigeria may end up spending N2 trillion on petrol subsidy this year if the current situation persists, the Group Managing Director, Rainoil Limited, Dr Gabriel Ogbechie, has said.
Ogbechie said this on Sunday at the Nigeria History Series of the Centre for Values in Leadership, themed ‘Indigenous participation in the downstream oil and gas sector’ moderated by Prof. Pat Utomi.
While lamenting the lack of deregulation in the downstream sector, he said the government was spending about N8m daily on petrol subsidy.
He described the sector as highly regulated, saying, “I wonder if there is any other sector of the economy that is as regulated as the downstream.”
He said, “The biggest elephant in the room today as far as the downstream is concerned is the failure, so to speak, of the government to deregulate the downstream – fixing the price at which petroleum products are sold, I believe, is very seriously harmful to this economy.”
According to him, the landing cost of the petrol imported into the country is about N300 per litre, based on the current naira-dollar exchange rate.
Sirius Petroleum and Baker Hughes Collaborate on OML 65 Drilling in Nigeria
Sirius Petroleum, the Africa-focused oil and gas production and development company, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Baker Hughes. The MoU names Baker Hughes as the approved service provider for Phase 1 of the Approved Work Program (AWP) of the OML 65 permit, a large onshore block in the western Niger Delta, Nigeria. Baker Hughes will provide a range of drilling and related services at a mutually agreed upon pricing structure to deliver the initial nine-well program.
Sirius has signed various legal agreements with COPDC, a Nigerian joint venture, to implement this program. COPDC has signed a Financial and Technical Services Agreement (FTSA) with the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) for the development and production of petroleum reserves and resources on OML 65. The FTSA includes an AWP which provides for development in three phases of the block. and Sirius has entered into an agreement with the joint venture to provide financing and technical services for the execution of the PTA.
The joint venture will initially focus on the redevelopment of the Abura field, involving the drilling and completion of up to nine development wells, intended to produce the remaining 2P reserves of 16.2 Mbbl, as certified by Gaffney Cline and Associates (GCA) in a CPR dated June 2021.
Commenting, Toks Azeez, Sales & Commercial Executive of Baker Hughes, said: “We are extremely happy to have been selected for this project with Sirius and their JV partners. This project represents an important step towards providing our world-class integrated well-service solutions in one of the most prolific fields in the Niger Delta. Baker Hughes’ technological efficiency and execution excellence will help Sirius improve its profitability and competitiveness in the energy market.”
Bobo Kuti, CEO of Sirius, commented: “We are delighted to have secured the services of one of the world’s leading energy technology companies to work with our joint venture team to deliver the approved work program on the block. OML 65. We look forward to building a long and mutually beneficial partnership with Baker Hughes.”
Egbin Decries N388B NBET Debt, Idle Capacity
Egbin Power Plc, the biggest power station in Nigeria, has said it is owed N388bn by the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc for electricity generated and fed into the national grid.
The company disclosed this on Tuesday during an oversight visit by the Senate Committee on Privatisation, led by its Chairman, Senator Theodore Orji, to the power station, located in Ikorodu, Lagos.
The government-owned NBET buys electricity in bulk from generation companies through Power Purchase Agreements and sells it to the distribution companies, which then supply it to the consumers.
The Group Managing Director, Sahara Power Group, Mr. Kola Adesina, told the lawmakers that the total amount owed to Egbin by NBET included money for actual energy wheeled out, interest for late payments and available capacity payments.
Egbin is one of the operating entities of Sahara Power Group, which is an affiliate of Sahara Group. The plant has an installed capacity of 1,320MW consisting of six turbines of 220 megawatts each.
The company said from 2020 till date, the plant had been unable to utilize 175MW of its available capacity due to gas and transmission constraints.
Adesina said, “At the time when we took over this asset, we were generating averagely 400MW of electricity; today, we are averaging about 800MW. At a point in time, we went as high as 1,100MW. Invariably, this is an asset of strategic importance to Nigeria.
“The plant needs to be nurtured and maintained. If you don’t give this plant gas, there won’t be electricity. Gas is not within our control.
“Our availability is limited to the regularity of gas that we receive. The more irregular the gas supply, the less likely there will be electricity.”
He noted that if the power generated at the station was not evacuated by the Transmission Company of Nigeria, it would be useless.
Adesina said, “Unfortunately, as of today, technology has not allowed the power of this size to be stored; so, we can’t keep it anywhere.
“So, invariably, we will have to switch off the plant, and when we switch off the plant, we have to pay our workers irrespective of whether there is gas or transmission.
“Sadly, the plant is aging. So, this plant requires more nurturing and maintenance for it to remain readily available for Nigerians.
“Now, where you have exchange rate move from N157/$1 during acquisition in 2013 to N502-N505/$1 in 2021, and the revenue profile is not in any way commensurate to that significant change, then we have a very serious problem.”
He said at the meeting of the Association of Power Generation Companies on Monday, members raised concern about the debts owed to them.
He added, “All the owners were there, and the concern that was expressed was that this money that is being owed, when are we going to get paid?
“The longer it takes us to be paid, the more detrimental to the health and wellbeing our machines and more importantly, to our staff.”
Adesina lamented that the country’s power generation had been hovering around 4,000MW in recent years.
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