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Look for Better Jobs, Customs Boss Advises Smugglers

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  • Look for Better Jobs, Customs Boss Advises Smugglers

The Controller, Federal Operations Unit, Zone A, Nigeria Customs Service, Mr. Mohammed Garuba, has advised smugglers to look for a better job other than smuggling.

He specifically urged smugglers to invest their money in legitimate business that would yield dividends for them instead of being involved in smuggling, which he described as an illegal trade.

He said, “Let me seize this opportunity to warn all would-be smugglers to desist from any act of illegal trade and invest their money in a legitimate business that will yield dividend on their investments. There is no amount of resistance from the smugglers and their mob accomplices that will deter us from performing our statutory responsibilities in all aspects, especially in suppression of smuggling within South-West zone.”

Garuba said that between January 1 and January 31, the command recovered N91.3m in unpaid duty and seized contraband worth over N1.6bn, bringing the worth of the total seizures and revenue generation to N1.709bn.

“Also, two containers were seized; one for carrying 537 cartons of Indian whisky as against yeast declared on the Single Goods Declaration form; another was seized for carrying 60 pieces of used chest freezers and 570 bundles of gas hose as against condenser for steam polysomy .This is a clear case of false declaration,” he said.

Also among the items seized, according to him, are 14 trailers of foreign parboiled rice, frozen poultry products, vegetable oil, used clothing, Indian hemp, used tyres and exotic cars.

He said the value of the exotic cars alone was over N1.4bn.

Garuba listed the seized vehicles as four Rolls Royce, a Porche Panamera, a Jaguar, a Bentley worth over N29m, one Lexus jeep, two G-wagon, one Toyota Land Cruiser, five Toyota Corolla, seven Mercedes Benz and among others.

According to him, the vehicles were mostly 2017 models, adding that while some of the vehicles were intercepted along Ijebu Ode expressway, others were evacuated during various raids on Parkview Estate, VI, Banana Island, Alhaji Bankole Crescent, Ikeja and Tola Adewunmi Street Maryland in Lagos.

Garuba urged owners of the exotic cars to come with relevant Customs documents to claim the vehicles or risk losing them.

Speaking earlier while conducting journalists around the seized items on Tuesday, the FOU controller maintained that the Customs and Excise Management Act empowered the service to search people’s premises suspected to house smuggled items and impound those things.

He said, “We urge the owners of these vehicles to come forward with valid Customs clearance documents, otherwise they will be liable to seizure and subsequent forfeiture to the Federal Government in line with laws of the land.

“For the avoidance of doubt, our action is in line with the provisions of Sections 147 of Customs and Excise Management Act Cap 45, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 (power to search premises), Section 158 of CEMA, Cap 45 Laws of Federation of Nigeria (power to patrol freely).”

The seizure of the exotic cars makes it three months of consecutive seizures of such vehicles since November last year.

In a similar raid in November 2017, the command seized 59 vehicles valued at N1.1bn in Lagos. Among them were four bullet-proof cars found in a residence in Ikoyi.

In December, the command also uncovered 57 exotic cars in Omole Estate, among which was one bullet-proof Lexus jeep, all of them valued above N1.3bn.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Aradel Holdings Reports 36% Increase in Crude Oil Production in Q1 2024

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Aradel Holdings Plc, a prominent player in Nigeria’s energy sector, has announced a significant upswing in its crude oil production, a notable milestone in its operational performance for the first quarter of 2024.

During their 29th Annual General Meeting held in Lagos, Aradel Holdings unveiled that their crude oil production surged by 36% to 13,250 barrels per day compared to the average figures recorded in the previous fiscal year.

This increase underscores the company’s strategic efforts to enhance its production capabilities and optimize operational efficiencies.

Accompanying this impressive growth in crude oil output, Aradel Holdings also reported a substantial rise in gas production, reaching 36.8 million standard cubic feet per day, which reflects a parallel 36% increase from the previous year’s averages.

Despite a slight decrease of 1.6% in refined petroleum products, the overall operational metrics for the first quarter of 2024 showcased robust performance across key production segments.

Chairman of Aradel Holdings, Ladi Jadesimi, emphasized the pivotal role of strategic initiatives implemented in preceding years, which contributed to the company’s exceptional growth trajectory.

“We are pleased with the strides made in Q1 2024, driven by enhanced production volumes and improved operational efficiencies,” stated Jadesimi during the AGM.

He highlighted the successful implementation of the Alternative Crude Evacuation system introduced in 2022, which significantly minimized crude losses and bolstered overall production stability.

In financial terms, Aradel Holdings reported a remarkable 90% increase in revenues for Q1 2024 compared to the same period last year, signaling strong market demand and effective resource utilization strategies.

Moreover, the company achieved a commendable 62% growth in Profit Before Tax (PBT), reinforcing its position as a leading player in Nigeria’s energy landscape.

Commenting on the company’s outlook, CEO and Managing Director Adegbite Falade expressed optimism about Aradel Holdings’ future prospects.

“Our performance in Q1 2024 underscores our commitment to sustained growth and operational excellence,” Falade remarked. “We remain focused on leveraging our strategic advantages and advancing our capabilities to meet evolving market dynamics.”

Aradel Holdings’ stellar performance in Q1 2024 also propelled the company’s market capitalization to exceed N1 trillion, a significant milestone in its corporate history.

This achievement underscores investor confidence and reflects Aradel Holdings’ robust position in the Nigerian stock market.

Looking ahead, Aradel Holdings aims to build upon its Q1 success by further enhancing production capacities, exploring new growth opportunities, and maintaining a steadfast commitment to operational efficiency and sustainability.

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Nigeria Adds 17 Deep Offshore Blocks to 2024 Oil Licensing Round

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The Federal Government of Nigeria announced on Tuesday the addition of 17 deep offshore oil blocks to the 2024 Licensing Round for oil fields.

This significant expansion is aimed at enhancing the nation’s crude oil production capacity and attracting more foreign and local investment.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), Gbenga Komolafe, disclosed this development during a pre-bid conference held in Lagos.

Komolafe said the decision was part of the commission’s ongoing efforts to derive maximum value from Nigeria’s abundant oil and gas reserves.

“In pursuit of the commission’s commitment to derive value from the country’s abundant oil and gas reserves and increase production, the commission has been working assiduously with multi-client companies to undertake more exploratory activities to acquire more data to foster and encourage further investment in the Nigerian upstream sector,” Komolafe stated.

The new additions come on the heels of recent bids for 12 oil blocks and seven deep offshore assets in the 2024 marginal fields bid round.

This follows the earlier 2022/23 mini-bid round that saw some deep offshore blocks put up for offer.

The Federal Government’s proactive approach signals its determination to capitalize on the country’s hydrocarbon resources.

Komolafe noted that additional data acquired on deep offshore blocks facilitated this expansion. “As a result of additional data acquired in respect of deep offshore blocks, the commission has added 17 deep offshore blocks to the 2024 Licensing Round. Further details on the blocks can be found on the bid portal,” he added.

To accommodate the expanded opportunities, the NUPRC has adjusted the 2024 Licensing Round schedule. The registration and submission of pre-qualification documents, initially set to close on June 25, 2024, has been extended to July 5, 2024.

The data access, purchase, evaluation, and bid preparation phase will commence on July 8, 2024, and close on November 29, 2024, as initially planned.

Komolafe also highlighted the importance of ensuring equitable participation and transparency in the bidding process.

To this end, the commission has sought and received approval from President Bola Tinubu, who also serves as the petroleum minister, to implement attractive fiscal regimes and minimize entry fees for both licensing rounds.

A cap has been placed on the signature bonus payable for the award of the acreages to promote a level playing field for all bidders.

“Since the criteria for the award of the oil blocks are now much more attractive than they initially were during the 2022/23 Mini Bid Round, it is in the interest of equity and fair play to give all investors the same opportunity to bid for the assets,” Komolafe asserted.

Furthermore, the NUPRC announced that the pre-qualified applicants from the 2022/23 Mini Bid Round would not need to undergo a new pre-qualification process for the 2024 Licensing Round. Their technical submissions remain valid, and they are encouraged to re-submit new commercial bids to benefit from the revised, more attractive criteria.

These applicants are also free to bid for the newly offered blocks in the 2024 Licensing Round.

The Federal Government’s expanded licensing round presents a lucrative opportunity for investors to participate in Nigeria’s burgeoning oil and gas sector. With the introduction of these 17 new deep offshore blocks, Nigeria aims to solidify its position as a leading oil producer on the global stage and stimulate economic growth through strategic energy sector investments.

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Brent Crude Falls to $84.12, WTI Rises to $80.19

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In a cautious market, oil prices showed mixed movements in Asian trade on Tuesday.

Global benchmark Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, experienced a slight decline of 13 cents, or 0.15%, to settle at $84.12 per barrel.

Meanwhile, U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil saw a modest increase of 14 cents, or 0.17% to $80.19 per barrel.

The recent fluctuations come after both benchmarks posted significant gains of around 2% on Monday, marking their highest closing prices since April.

The market’s attention has now shifted back to fundamental factors, which have exhibited signs of softness for some time.

Francisco Blanch, a commodity and derivatives strategist at Bank of America, noted in a client note that global crude oil inventories and refined product storage in key locations such as the United States and Singapore remain elevated.

“The oil market shifted its focus back to fundamentals, which have been soft for some time,” Blanch stated, highlighting the broader concerns about global demand growth.

Data from the first quarter of the year indicated a deceleration in global oil demand growth to 890,000 barrels per day year-on-year, with further slowing likely in the second quarter.

Also, according to the country’s statistics bureau, China’s oil refinery output fell by 1.8% year-on-year in May due to planned maintenance and higher crude costs.

Market participants are also keenly watching for further indications on interest rates and U.S. demand trends, with several U.S. Federal Reserve representatives scheduled to speak later on Tuesday.

Despite the mixed signals, some analysts remain optimistic about the impact of OPEC+ supply cuts.

Patricio Valdivieso, vice president and global lead of crude trading analysis at Rystad Energy, said, “The latest guidance provided by OPEC+, as well as their unchanged 2.25 million barrels per day demand growth outlook, signals a stagnation in oil supply growth for 2024 and an apparent downside risk to production in 2025.”

Valdivieso further noted the disconnect between OPEC+’s demand outlook and those of other agencies, making it challenging to adopt a fully bearish stance on the market.

This sentiment has been reinforced by recent investor behavior, with hedge funds and other money managers purchasing the equivalent of 80 million barrels in key petroleum futures and options contracts over the week ending June 11.

Support for the market has also come from a rebound in refining margins, particularly in Europe and Asia.

Sparta Commodities analyst Neil Crosby pointed out that refining margins at a typical complex refinery in Singapore averaged $3.60 a barrel for June so far, up from $2.66 a barrel in May.

As the market navigates these dynamics, the cautious optimism among investors and analysts suggests a period of continued volatility and adjustment, with fundamental factors and policy decisions playing pivotal roles in shaping future price movements.

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