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N217 bn Lost to Gas Flaring in 2016, Senate Moves to Amend Gas Legislation

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  • N217 bn Lost to Gas Flaring in 2016, Senate Moves to Amend Gas Legislation

Nigeria lost over N217 billion to gas flaring in 2016 as companies in the sector flared a total of 244.84 billion standard cubic feet (scf) of natural gas.

According to Senator Bassey Albert Akpan (Akwa Ibom, North East) who cited the figures from data he quoted from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the volume is sufficient to feed three LNG trains or generate to 3.5 GW of electricity, which is Nigeria’s average power generation.

Leading the debate on the proposed amendment to the 38 year old Associated Gas Re-Injection Act, Akpan, who is the sponsor, argued that it is necessary to ensure that gas flaring sanctions are in tune with contemporary economic challenges.

The current penalty of N10 only, per 1,000 Standard Cubic Feet (scf), was outdated, and has not deterred operators in the gas industry from gas flaring, he said.

The bill also seeks the achievement of National Flares-out Target with January 1, 2030 deadline.

The lawmaker added that the outdated penalty, has compounded the consequences of flaring, including environmental challenges, and the limited availability of gas for domestic use, with tremendous negative effects on human health, economy, tax revenue, trade opportunities, and the atmosphere.

“The latest report from the NNPC also shows that in 2016, 22.32 billion scf of gas was flared in January, 20.38 billion scf in February, 20.11 billion scf in March, 18.7 billion scf in April; 15.8 billion scf in May, and 14.8 billion scf in June. Similarly, in the second half of the year, the country recorded the highest volume of gas flared in November at 24.54 billion scf, up from 22.60 billion scf in October; 21.5 billion scf in September; 21.14 billion scf in August, 21.79 billion scf in July and a total of 21.15 billion scf in December,” he said.

Akpan added that the euphoria of oil discovery and commencement of production in 1958 made the government turn a blind eye to stipulating proper regulations to guide the industry.

“ The Bill equally makes it mandatory for operators to submit gas utilisation plan within 90 days of the commencement of the Act for effective monitoring…taken into cognizance the experiences of other countries like the United States of America which emphasises creation of infrastructure for gas utilisation as condition for grant of license…also makes specific provisions for the installation of requisite gas flare meters equipped with facilities that enable real time, online data retrieval for independent reporting and monitoring by the industry regulator,” he said.

Akpan added that with the exit of Joint Venture Cash Call regime by government, attendant low oil price, the consideration and passaged of Petroleum Industry Governance & Fiscal Bill, low construction cost in the oil and gas industry, it is the time for investment in gas infrastructure.
The bill, Gas Flaring (Prohibition and Punishment) Bill, 2016, passed through second reading following a vote by the Senators.

In another development, the House of Representatives urged the Federal Government to declare Kogi, Anambra and Enugu States as oil producing States since exploration/mining activities have begun in the Basin since 2012.

The House also resolved to set up an Ad-Hoc Committee to determine the commercial viability of the oil and gas deposits in the Anambra Basin in order to optimize the commercial mining in the Basin where hydrocarbon activities began in 2012, for the benefits of the three states and to increase oil revenue for the country and resolve all outstanding boundary issues between the three States.

The resolution followed a motion sponsored by Hon. Emmanuel Egwu, Hon. Tony Nwoye and Hon. Patrick Asadu who noted that the government is fully aware of already explored and determined huge oil and gas deposits in commercial quantities in Anambra Basin, which cuts across Ibaji Area, Idah-1 , Alade-l, Atu-l , Inni-1 in Kogi State; Eziagulu Otu, Enugwu Otu, Nzam, Ezi-Anam, Anaku, Omor in Anambra State and Igga, Ojo, Uzo Uwani Areas in Enugu State.

Asadu, in his argument, said the failure to optimally harness, deposits in the Anambra Basin which would generate social and economic activities in the Basin has caused disaffection and crisis across the bordering States.

“Cognizant that Oriental Resources Plc has, since 2012, been prospecting on OPL 915 and OPL 916, derivable from the three adjoining States of Kogi, Enugu and Anambra but these have not been commercially mined as it is still awaiting Oil Mining License (OML) from the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) years after former President Goodluck Jonathan flagged off the operations of Oriental Petroleum Resources;”

“Believes that the declaration of Kogi, Anambra and Enugu States as oil producing States will not in any way jeopardize the on-going field tracing and provisional boundary demarcation between the States by the National Boundary Commission but will rather aid in determining the percentage of derivation accruable to the three (3) States, equally to be noted is that hydrocarbon has been found in the Basin but not yet optimally utilized,” the lawmaker added.

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

Government

INEC Plans Expansion Of Polling Units For 2023 General Election

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Ahead of 2023 general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has promised to make polling units accessible to the electorate to remove voter apathy during elections.

INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Kwara, Malam Garba Attahiru-Madami, made this known on Monday in Ilorin while declaring open two-day training on “Implementation of expansion of voters’ access to polling units”.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the training was for Electoral Officers (EOs) and Assistant Electoral Officers (AEOs) in charge of Administration, Operations and Cluster Registration areas drawn from the 16 local government areas of Kwara.

He noted that many eligible voters refused to vote on election day because of the distance of polling units to their residences.

The REC told the participants that the training was very important to INEC, just as election was important, adding that without polling unit, there would be no election.

“Election start from polling unit, if there is no polling unit, there would be no election and collation, that is how important polling unit is,” he added.

He therefore charged the participants to take the training very serious as the outcome of the training would offer opportunity on what they would do on the field.

“I don’t need to re-emphasise why access to polling unit is very important. We already know that this exercise was carried out in 1996 and it was to serve 50 million voters.

“In 2019 election, we have greater voters of 84 million; you can see that the polling units now are grossly inadequate.

“By the time general election will take place in 2023, our projection is to have over 120 million voters.

“The number of polling units we have now cannot serve the 120 million voters, so the training is very important,” he said.

According to the REC, one of the reasons for voter apathy is because the polling unit was not accessible to them.

He said that some polling units have over 1,000 to 5,000 voters that were spread to polling points.

“So, we want to see how we can convert some of these voting points to polling units to meet the need of the people on election day.

“In some communities with communal clash, having their own polling unit would solve such conflict, because you will see a villager that will say, I will not go to that village to vote,” he added.

He said the idea of expansion of polling units was to remove voter apathy and reduce distance from home to the polling unit. (NAN)

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African Union Holds Global Conference to Accelerate African Vaccine Development and Manufacturing Capacity

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African leaders assembled at a global meeting to discuss the status of local pharmaceutical manufacturing on the continent, underscored the need to increase local production of vaccines and therapeutics to achieve greater public-health security.

“The production of vaccines and access to vaccines is an absolute priority,” Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa, said Monday in opening remarks at the start of the two-day virtual meeting, convened by the African Union.

The meeting was attended by several African heads of state, health, finance and trade ministers from across the continent, as well as officials from global financial institutions, foundations, pharmaceutical manufacturers, business leaders, and the general public. The African Development Bank was represented by Solomon Quaynor, Vice President Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialization.

Although Africa consumes approximately one-quarter of global vaccines by volume, it manufactures less than 1% of its routine vaccines, with almost no outbreak vaccine manufacturing in place. The region lags behind in procuring vaccines amid a global scramble for the medicines among wealthier nations. Thus far, only around 2% of the world’s vaccination against Covid-19 has taken place in Africa.

The need for a new public health order in Africa, which promotes domestic vaccine manufacturing, epidemic preparedness and upgraded healthcare systems to meet the needs of the world’s fastest-growing population, was the conference’s main objective.

The African Union and the Africa CDC said they would continue to work with all stakeholders to identify implementable actions, financing needs and timelines to competitively produce vaccines in Africa.

Quaynor noted that the current undertaking would require immense investment. “Vaccine manufacturing, because of its complexity, is not really an entrepreneurial drive but actually an institutional drive,” he added.

The African Development Bank is working with global and African stakeholders, to articulate a 2030 vision for Africa’s Pharmaceutical Industry in response to several calls received from African Heads of State, who have expressed a strong political will. This vision aligns with its “industrialize Africa” priority strategy.

The vision will build on previous efforts to produce a continental plan of action to boost local African pharmaceutical manufacturing capacity, such as the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan for Africa adopted in Abuja in January 2005 and the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan for Africa (PMPA), prepared by the African Union Commission and the United Nations in 2012, to assist local manufacturers with pharmaceutical production.

Quaynor said Africa could count on the African Development Bank’s support to secure Africa’s health defense system. “Leveraging on our comparative advantages, we will both provide upstream support to governments on the enabling environment, as well as provide financing to private sector and PPPs both indirectly through some of our private equity investee funds and directly through lending, and credit and risk guarantees. We will also use the Africa Investment Forum to bring in all relevant stakeholders and partner DFIs into bankable opportunities…”

The 2030 vision for Africa’s pharmaceutical industry would also work with pharmaceutical industry associations in Africa to create capacity development links between universities and industry in Africa, and work with African scientists in the diaspora, Quaynor said in remarks made on behalf of African Development Bank President Akinwumi A. Adesina.

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ITF, Nigerian Air Force, Others, Sign MOU To Advance Research

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The Industrial Training Fund, ITF has signed a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Nigerian Air Force, NAF, and Equipment and Protective Application International Limited to establish the framework that will give room for optimal performance as well as enhance productivity.

The Director General, Industrial Training Fund, Sir Joseph Ari while speaking at the NAF headquarters in Abuja, said the MOU will be pursued with vigour and all the seriousness it deserves so that greater success would be the catalyst that will drive their intentions.

He explained that over the years, ITF had redirected its focus on technical, vocational training and education noting that developed nations are where they are today because of the initiative.

According to him, “even here in Abuja, we have a model of a skills training centre and the model was brought in from the Singaporean experience of the institute for technical education and services of Singapore”.

“We brought a semblance of it here to experience with five trade areas, Mechatronics and Autotronics, Computer Networking, ICT, Facility Technology as well as culinary in both African and Western cuisine is right there in the heart of Abuja in the ITF house, it is like a university”.

“The ITF is well positioned to work hand in hand with the Nigerian Air Force,” he said

The ITF boss added; “I must say that the Chief of Air Staff has a lot of foresight with his men to think about this Memorandum of Understanding because I deed, ITF is where you should be”.

“The ITF came into contact with the Nigerian Air Force even though a lot of the officers of the Air Force might have participated in its programmes in the past and since then I have noticed that NAF has not relented in its efforts to equipped it’s workforce and also upgrade and retrain its people,” Sir Ari added.

He also commended the men and officers of the NAF for their sacrifice in keeping the nation safe.

The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal, Oladayo Amao said the Nigerian Air Force has a highly technical Service and technology is the bedrock of all its operations.

Represented by the Chief of Standards and Evaluation, Air Vice Marshal, Olusegun Philip, Amao noted that in line with the focus of the Federal Government in promoting indigenous technology, the Nigerian Air Force has been looking inwards to gradually wean itself of overdependence on foreign technology and to become more innovative and resourceful.

“Therefore, in order to advance the Nigerian Air Force’s Research and Development efforts, we have deemed it necessary to formally collaborate with indigenous organizations through the signing of Memorandum of Understanding,” Amao stated.

“These collaborative efforts provide pedestals to leapfrog capability as well as a repertoire of capabilities that can be harnessed”.

“The collaborative efforts also provide platforms to synergise ideas for innovations that are key to achieving meaningful results to solve the technological challenges we currently face in a cost effective manner,” he said.

The Managing Director, Equipment and Protective Application International Limited, Engineer, Kola Balogun however, assured that the MOU entered would be for the overall economic benefit and development of the nation.

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