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NCDMB To Hold Virtual Oil And Gas Opportunity Fair

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The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) has announced that the 2021 edition of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Opportunity Fair (NOGOF) will be held virtually on May 25 and 26, 2021.

The Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote revealed this last week during a press conference organised in Lagos, adding that the Board decided on the virtual option in compliance with the Federal Government’s guidelines on curtailing the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the subsisting travel restrictions in some countries.

While admitting that hosting the conference virtually was new for the Board and other stakeholders, Wabote expressed excitement that it offers an opportunity for participants to join from anywhere in the world without incurring logistics costs, thereby recording increased participation. He explained that the core objective of organizing NOGOF is to showcase the opportunities that are likely to emerge from the short to medium-term plans and activities of operators and project promoters operating in the upstream, midstream and downstream sectors of the Nigerian Oil and Gas industry.

“We must as NCDMB continue to give hope to Nigerians and the industry and show them that even when you have a pandemic like this, there are still opportunities for people to look forward to and invest,” he said.

He added that the showcase of upcoming projects by operating companies gives Nigerian service companies ample opportunity to build relevant capacities that might be required to execute the projects in-country, thereby creating employment opportunities and retaining spend in-country.

He stated further that “hosting NOGOF is line with the key thrusts of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act 2010 (“NOGICD Act”) which charged the NCDMB to build and support the development of local capacities and capabilities in the oil and gas industry, to foster institutional collaboration, maximizing the participation of Nigerians in oil and gas activities, linking oil and gas sector to other sectors of the economy, maximizing utilization of Nigerian resources, among others.”

He noted that this year’s edition of the bi-annual fair would be the third in the series with the theme “Leveraging Opportunities & Synergies for Post Pandemic Recovery of The Nigerian Oil & Gas Industry”.

He said the theme acknowledges the industry wide disruption caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic and it encourages constructive discussions on recovery and the way forward, especially within the context of the energy transition.

He said the fair would feature technical and opportunity sessions from various stakeholders, virtual networking opportunities, an award ceremony in recognition of distinguished industry players and a virtual exhibition opportunity for registered organisations to present their activities and products to delegates.

He recalled that the maiden edition of NOGOF in 2017 at Uyo, Akwa Ibom State had over 1,200 delegates and 33 exhibitors, while the 2019 edition in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State had over 1500 delegates and 52 exhibitors and more delegates would likely partake in this year’s edition.

Dwelling on the impact of NOGOF on the industry over the years, Wabote said some of the projects unveiled in the previous editions were already underway like the Nigeria LNG Train 7, while some others were delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic and would soon start to be executed.

He assured that Nigeria would record impressive local participation in the Train 7 project.

He said: “When we executed Train 1-6, there was minimal Nigerian participation. But today the Nigerian Content and out-country scope are split 50/50. Most of the cryogenic areas would be done outside the country because we do not have capacities in those areas. But 50 percent of the whole project activities would be done through Nigerian business and must be in-country. That is the value that would be retained in the Nigerian economy. We would achieve more in the upstream sector of the project because we have developed capacities in that area.”

Speaking further, the NCDMB boss indicated that the COVID-19 pandemic was the biggest test and confirmation of the need to develop local capacities in the oil and gas and other key sectors of the economy. He said the pandemic forced nations to depend on their local productions to survive, expressing delight that local capacities developed in the oil and gas industry proved capable of sustaining crude oil productions.

He added that First E&P Company -an indigenous operating company completed its project and started producing oil during the pandemic because of local content. “NCDMB insisted that they must build platform in-country. They thanked us later for that decision because their platform was completed even during the pandemic and deployed to work. If the project were being executed overseas, it would have been suspended during the period.”

Responding to questions from the media, the Executive Secretary clarified that Local Content implementation was not at all costs. He maintained that every project has its economics and the return on investments must be viable, which was why the Board adopts pragmatism in its implementation of the NOGICD Act. He added that building local capacities takes some time and that Nigeria’s Content was not about the Nigerianization of personnel, rather it focuses on domestication and domiciliation of industry activities.

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Nigeria Faces Fuel Crisis with Petrol Costs Surging to N978/Litre

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Nigeria is grappling with a severe fuel crisis as the landing cost of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), commonly known as petrol, has skyrocketed to N978 per litre.

This surge, driven by a depreciating naira and rising international costs, has led to widespread fuel shortages and long queues at filling stations across the country.

The latest figures reveal that the landing cost—which includes the international price, shipping, insurance, and other charges—has increased from N720 per litre in October 2023.

This escalation is attributed to the naira’s depreciation, which hit a three-month low of N1,530 per dollar on the parallel market this week, exacerbating the already dire economic situation.

“The rising landing cost of petrol is a result of the escalating foreign exchange (FX) crisis. There are market interventions through subsidies, as most Nigerians cannot afford the market price for petrol,” a senior executive in the downstream sector explained.

Despite the federal government’s denial of an ongoing subsidy, a report from the finance minister, Wale Edun, projected that fuel subsidies could cost about N5.4 trillion in 2024, up from N3.6 trillion in 2023.

The fuel scarcity has led to black market prices soaring between N1,000 and N1,100 per litre, while some retail outlets in Abuja, Nasarawa, and Niger have hiked pump prices to N900 per litre.

Motorists have been forced to spend hours in queues, further straining their daily lives.

NNPC Limited attributed the current fuel queues to recent thunderstorms and logistical challenges disrupting activities at fuel-loading jetties.

The company assured stakeholders that it is working to resolve the situation and clear the queues.

“We have no problem covering our gasoline payments. This is just money for normal business and not a desperate act,” said Mele Kyari, the group’s general manager.

He also mentioned that NNPC is considering securing a $2 billion loan using crude oil pre-payments as collateral to support its business activities.

Aisha Mohammed, an energy analyst at the Lagos-based Centre for Development Studies, noted, “The government is partially subsidizing the commodity for political, social, and economic reasons. While economically sound, the social and political costs are significant.”

Market analysts have called for a review of dollar-based fee collections to reduce petrol costs. “We must resist the dollarization of the Nigerian economy. There are some fee collections in dollars that are also pushing up the landing cost of petrol,” a source said.

The Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria (PETROAN) confirmed that NNPC is addressing the supply issues, but warned that the queues might persist for days, especially in locations far from major depots.

“Once they start loading, it takes some days to clear the queues. And don’t forget that filling stations in Abuja get products from Lagos, Oghara, Warri, Port Harcourt, or Calabar, and that takes more than three days turn-around time to accomplish,” said PETROAN president Billy Gillis-Harry.

He said there is a need for collaboration between the government, NNPC, and downstream operators to find a lasting solution to the fuel scarcity.

“We need a clearly defined council with grassroots knowledge of the business to project and address problems based on empirical evidence,” he stated.

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Egyptian Inflation Eases Despite Bread Price Hike

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Egyptian inflation eased for the fourth consecutive month in June despite a historic increase in the cost of subsidized bread that feeds a significant portion of the population.

Consumer prices in urban areas rose at an annual rate of 27.5%, down from 28.1% in May, according to the state statistics agency CAPMAS.

On a month-to-month basis, prices grew by 1.6%.

This latest deceleration comes after authorities implemented a 300% hike in the price of subsidized bread on June 1, the first such move since the 1970s.

Although some economists had anticipated an inflationary surge, the impact on overall inflation was minimal due to the relatively small weight of bread in the consumer price index, explained Mohamed Abu Basha, head of research at EFG Hermes.

Food and beverage prices, the largest component of Egypt’s inflation basket, increased by 31.9% year-on-year, compared to 31% in May, and rose 2.6% on a monthly basis.

Despite the ongoing challenges, the rate of inflation has been slowing for eight of the past nine months, even after a significant devaluation of the Egyptian pound in 2024, which saw the currency plummet almost 40% against the dollar.

The reduced inflation rate reflects how the lower value of the pound on the now-stabilized local black market had already been factored into retail pricing strategies.

Also, the country’s central bank maintained its interest rates at an all-time high in May, citing expectations for a significant decline in inflation during the first half of 2025.

Further subsidy reductions are anticipated as Egypt continues its economic reforms following a $57 billion bailout from the United Arab Emirates, the International Monetary Fund, and other international supporters.

Cairo-based EFG Hermes is among the institutions predicting a continued cooling of consumer costs throughout the remainder of the year.

Abu Basha noted that the gradual elimination of fuel subsidies and potential increases in power tariffs are expected to have a relatively minor effect on overall inflation.

However, recent shortages in domestic gas supplies, which caused temporary shutdowns at some fertilizer plants and contributed to widespread power cuts, remain a potential wildcard.

Despite the inflation slowdown, the Egyptian central bank is unlikely to reduce interest rates when it meets next week.

The IMF recently affirmed its agreement with Egypt that maintaining a tight monetary policy is crucial in the short term to bring inflation closer to the central bank’s target.

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Businesses Struggle as Petrol Scarcity Hits Major Nigerian Cities

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The pervasive impact of a severe petrol scarcity has thrown businesses across major Nigerian cities into disarray as long queues have started showing up at petrol stations.

In bustling urban centers like Lagos, Abuja, and Port Harcourt, scenes of frustrated commuters and distressed business owners paint a stark picture of the toll exacted by the ongoing fuel crisis.

Many petrol stations have either completely run out of fuel or are rationing limited supplies, forcing consumers to endure hours-long waits or turn to black market sellers who command prices as high as N1,000 per litre.

For Uche Adams, a Lagos-based trader, the petrol shortage has brought his business to a standstill for days.

“I have been out of business for two days because I have not been able to buy petrol,” lamented Adams, reflecting the widespread impact on small businesses reliant on transportation and generator power amidst erratic electricity supply.

The situation is equally dire in Abuja, where Adamu Abdullahi, operating a barber’s shop in Kubwa, described how the scarcity has slashed his operating hours and inflated his overhead costs.

“I have only operated for five hours today due to fuel scarcity. I can’t buy at any filling station and black marketers are selling higher than N1,000 per litre,” Abdullahi disclosed.

Behind the scenes, private depot owners in Lagos have exacerbated the crisis by hiking petrol prices from N630 to N720 per litre, citing logistical challenges and market dynamics.

This spike in prices at the source has cascaded down to consumers, with filling stations adjusting their rates upwards, compounding the financial strain on businesses and households alike.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has attributed the fuel scarcity to disruptions in ship-to-ship transfers during adverse weather conditions, which have hampered product deliveries to filling stations.

Olufemi Soneye, NNPC’s chief corporate communications officer, acknowledged the logistical hurdles exacerbated by recent thunderstorms and flooding on truck routes, hindering the smooth flow of petrol supply.

“Weather disruptions have affected berthing at jetties, truck load-outs, and transportation of products, compounding station supply logistics,” stated Soneye.

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