• CEO, Benny Peters Assures Affected Communities of Speed, Ecosystem Protection.
Two weeks after a non-producing wellhead in the NembeLocal Government Area of Bayelsa State leaked and is still spewing its contents, the operators of the NNPC/Aiteo Joint Venture of Oil Mining Lease (OML) 29, Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Co. (AEEPCo), have announced several proactive measures to combat and contain the spill.
The wellhead, located in the Santa Barbara Southwest field in Nembe LGA, was, according to AITEO, predominantly dormant. The leak started on November 5. According to Ndiana Mathew, spokesperson for AITEO, said that upon noticing the leak, “Aiteo notified all relevant regulatory agencies and, thereafter, mobilised containment resources to limit the impact on the environment. As required, Aiteo promptly called for a Joint Inspection Visit (JIV). Due to the high-pressure effusion, the JIV team could not reach the location and that inspection was aborted.”
“Since then, Aiteo has activated an elaborate and extensive spillage containment response in the internationally prescribed manner. Though spills of this nature are not uncommon to the oil and gas industry, their resolution requires expert skill and equipment that is not routinely or readily available. The typical process is to first kill the well and stop the leak and then focus on the clean-up.”
Mathew said further that aside from the urgent possible technical responses to contain the leak, Aiteo has sought, become involved with and is now in active collaboration with Clean Nigeria Associates (CNA) which has since mobilised to site in addition to Aiteo internal resources to reinforce containment and recovery efforts. CNA is the oil and gas industry non-profit umbrella body with expertise and resources to contain spills of this nature. Because it was causing growing anxiety among the local communities that rely on the surrounding land and waterways, the area has been cordoned off and the CNA is mobilising additional resources to strengthen the containment effort.
It was gathered that a well-killing assessment site visit has been carried out to evaluate the assets and earmark the resources required to bring the effusion under control. The required apparatus including heavy-duty and specialist equipment are presently being mobilized, locally and internationally, on a fast-track basis, to bring the well under control. For this purpose, “Aiteo has on-boarded the involvement of the renowned Boots & Coots, arguably the leading well control company in the world, working with a local resource. Upon this intervention and conclusion, it is expected that the persistence of the leak alongside its functional consequences will be abated and significantly diminished,” Mathew stated.
Also, senior personnel of AITEO have visited the affected communities and made available, for the use of the communities, relief materials aimed at ameliorating the direct consequences of the incident. At Opu-Nembe Kingdom where the Aiteo delegation was received by the traditional ruler, His Royal Majesty, Dr Biobelemoye Josiah Ogbodo VIII, his council of chiefs and foremost indigenes and government officials, the King said, “We are happy that Aiteo has initiated this visit to support the community at this time and urge it to continue to work with us as partners in progress on its corporate goals in the community.”
Similarly, the Aiteo Group CEO, Mr Benedict Peters, has extended his assurances to the affected communities affirming, “We are doing everything in our power to contain this spill and ameliorate the situation as rapidly, safely and responsibly as possible. We have mobilized best-in-class resources and expertise to put this mishap behind us. Be rest assured of our resolve to limit the escape of oil and protect the ecosystem from its effects.”
In the statement signed by Mathew, the company averred that it remains committed to ensuring immediately that the circumstances are brought under better control and ascertaining the immediate and remote causes of the leak.
Furthermore, “It is important that we affirm our preliminary view based on our assessment of the proximate circumstances that it will be difficult to exclude deliberate tampering of the well by oil thieves attempting to siphon crude directly from the wellhead. In our view, sabotage remains the most imminent cause of this incident,” the company stated.
“Oil theft and asset vandalism continue to present the biggest challenge we face in the operations of oil and gas production in the Niger Delta area. It has continued to damage the production profile of oil producers in so many ways.
As we commend the relevant security agencies with whom we interface to combat this menace, we believe the need and capacity to provide significantly more remain overwhelmingly critical especially because there is so much more to be done to realign the architecture of the delivery infrastructure of oil and gas production in Nigeria in line with the current industry structure of multiple producers operating assets that were previously built and managed by one producer.”
The company reiterated that it feels deeply concerned about the incident and that the circumstances and fortunes of the immediate community remain its most anxious consideration, which it stated had assumed the highest priority alongside making safe the well and its immediate environs.
“It is our fervent desire that in the attainment of this intensely challenging objective, the interests of the proximate community continue to be safeguarded in every material respect by the collective efforts of our company and all the industry professionals whose involvement Aiteo has convoked,” the statement concluded.
Nigeria Records Zero Revenue from Oil Export in September
Nigeria was unable to obtain any revenue from oil exports throughout the month of October, despite recording an average daily oil production of 1.4 million barrels in the month of September.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) revealed this in the corporation’s report to the Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) which was released over the weekend. The report, which was published on the corporation’s website confirmed that even though it had produced more than 1 million barrels of crude oil, it was unable to sell the oil.
This reminds one of 2019, where more than 104 million barrels of oil which were lifted were unable to be accounted for by the NNPC in an auditor general report that was released recently. The NNPC revelation is similar to the auditor general’s 2019 report, concerning why there was no record of any money received for more than the 104 million barrels of oil that had been lifted.
A part of the report reads: “Sales receipt: No Crude Oil export revenue for the month of September 2021.”
The report went ahead to note that in total, the NNPC crude oil lifting of 11.49 million barrels in Export & Domestic Crude in September 2021 saw an increase of 98.5 percent relative to the 5.79 million barrels lifted in August 2021.
In spite of the lack of revenue for the NNPC through oil exports, the report stated that a sum of N252.96 billion was the Gross Domestic Crude Oil and Gas revenue for October 2021.
In the report, NNPC stated that Domestic Gas and other receipts throughout the month sat as N6.78 billion. Domestic Gas (NGL) in the month was just over N4 billion.
Concerning expenses, the NNPC stated that strategic holding cost, pipeline repairs across the month of September took a total of N7.75 billion. It broke the expenses down, stating that the pipelines came at a cost of N143 million and a value shortfall of N163 billion.
Oil Gains on Saudi Arabia Price Increase
Crude oil rose on the back of Saudi Arabia’s announcement that it has increased January oil prices to Asian and US customers.
Brent crude oil, a global benchmark against which Nigerian oil is priced, appreciated to $71.90 a barrel on Monday at 12:12 pm Nigerian time after plunging to as low as $65.73 a barrel on Thursday.
Saudi Arabia on Sunday announced it had raised January official selling prices for all crude oil grades sold to Asia and the United States by up to 80 cents from the previous month.
This was on the same day reports from South Africa suggested that Omicron was less harsh than previously thought. Still, it was uncertain why one of the world’s leading oil producers raised prices at a time OPEC + is upping production by 400,000 barrels per day and when uncertainty surrounding covid could erode global demand and force existing buyers to embrace competing grades.
“I am struggling to construct a positive narrative out of Saudi Arabia raising prices, especially as it makes competing grades more appealing to their client base. The best I can do is that Saudi Arabia feels confident raising prices despite higher OPEC+ production because it believes omicron is a storm in a test tube and that the global recovery will not be derailed. The South African reports have reinforced that sentiment,” said Jeffrey Halley, Senior Market Analyst, Asia Pacific, OANDA.
US equity and Asian assets responded positively to Omicron’s report this morning, curbing further decline in the global assets from Friday’s decline. However, there is no certainty on the virus given the sample size. More research is needed to better understand the characteristics of the Omicron.
US Fed is now expected to raise interest rates twice in 2022 if it will curtail escalating inflation rate and compel more people to go back to work. Investors are now waiting for Friday’s consumer price report.
Nigeria’s Oil Production Increase – Report
The most recent monthly survey conducted by Reuters has revealed that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) continued to increase its oil production in November under the OPEC+ agreement, but the organization went on pumping less crude oil than its share of the monthly increase just as Nigeria started to see an increase in production.
The country’s oil production had been short until last month when Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) resumed crude exports from the Bonny Light terminal after repairs to a pipeline that had started leaking.
Issues with operation have hindered the country’s crude oil production throughout the second half of the year, with disturbances at other terminals including Forcados, Brass River, Erha, and Qua Iboe.
In the last few months, Nigeria’s production has been below the budgetary benchmark, dropping to 1.37 million barrels per day in October. That rate is 261,000 bpd (barrels per day) below the country’s OPEC+ quota.
Under the OPEC+, the 10 members of the Organization who have been bound by the OPEC+ agreement should be increasing their joint production by 254,000 bpd every month out of the total OPEC+ monthly supply addition of 400,000 bpd.
In November, OPEC’s oil production went up by 220,000 bpd to 27.74 million bpd according to the survey conducted by Reuters. That rise once again fell short of the 254,000 rise which OPEC is expected to implement.
The Reuters survey affirms a trend which began a few months ago, that not all members of the Organization have the ability to produce to their full quotas.
Saudi Arabia, which is OPEC’s top producer and the default leader, saw the biggest increase in production in November. The increase was in line with the country’s target, and the same was seen in Iraq which is OPEC’s second-largest oil producer.
Nigerian production managed a recovery in November from constraints seen in October, but other African oil producers kept on struggling to produce to their targets.
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