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Fintech CEO: As Lithuania Breaks Energy Ties with Russia, Risk of Cybercrime Further Heightens

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This week, Lithuania’s Energy Ministry released a statement which noted that the country is now completely independent from Russian natural gas. It read, in part, “Seeking full energy independence from Russian gas, in response to Russia’s energy blackmail in Europe and the war in Ukraine, Lithuania has completely abandoned Russian gas.” Lithuanian leaders called on other EU countries to make the same move to withdraw from Russian economic influence.

“Lithuania is in a unique position as it abuts Russia’s Kaliningrad Oblast. The country has historic ties to Russia, and that history should carry influence larger than typical for a small country with less than three million people — especially as proposals emerge for a LNG terminal located in Paldiski, which would be an Estonian joint venture with Latvia and Finland. Due to their geography, these countries see a more urgent Russian threat, but as the world continues to divest from Russian energy, there will be a need to find new streams of revenue to finance the war effort,” said Richard Gardner, CEO of Modulus, a US-based developer of ultra-high-performance trading and surveillance technology that powers global equities, derivatives, and digital asset exchanges.

“From this month on – no more Russian gas in Lithuania.Years ago my country made decisions that today allow us with no pain to break energy ties with the agressor. If we can do it, the rest of Europe can do it too,” tweeted Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda.

“If you’re Russia and the world won’t buy your energy resources, where do you turn? It doesn’t require you to stretch your imagination very far to realize that, in a conflict which is actively employing cyberwarfare, the government could find hacking to be an appropriate avenue of revenue generation. Whether that is focusing hackers on digital asset exchanges or engaging more heavily in cyber-based extortion campaigns remains to be seen. However, these exchanges are giant honeypots, and, right now, Russia is the equivalent of a hungry bear,” said Gardner.

“Practically, it will be difficult to extract large amounts of stolen assets to use for homeland activities like paying troops, which may make the endeavor less attractive. However, it would be completely naïve to think that the idea isn’t on the table,” said Gardner.

Modulus is known throughout the financial technology segment as a leader in the development of ultra-high frequency trading systems and blockchain technologies. Modulus has provided its exchange solution to some of the industry’s most profitable digital asset exchanges, including a well-known multi-billion-dollar cryptocurrency exchange. Over the past twenty years, the company has built technology for the world’s most notable institutions, with a client list which includes NASA, NASDAQ, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Barclays, Siemens, Shell, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Cornell University, and the University of Chicago.

“It is more important than ever for financial exchanges, including those dealing in cryptocurrencies, to be on high alert. For the many exchanges that have historically focused more heavily on marketing than security, now is the time to flip the script and lockdown your security apparatus. Good enough isn’t good enough. Your innovation is only as good as the security that protects it,” said Gardner.

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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Energy

Nigerian Power Consumers Hit by Massive Overbilling, N105bn Raked by Discos

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Nigerian power consumers are reeling from the impact of massive overbilling, with power distribution companies (Discos) collectively raking in N105 billion in nine months.

An analysis of the latest monthly data from January to September 2023 revealed that approximately 7.1 million unmetered electricity consumers across the nation fell victim to inflated bills.

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), the federal agency overseeing the power sector, disclosed that the overbilling stemmed from the failure of Discos to adhere to the prescribed monthly energy caps for unmetered customers.

The overbilling issue has raised serious concerns about the financial burden on consumers and the credibility of the power distribution system.

A breakdown of the figures showed that various Discos were involved in overbilling activities, with significant discrepancies noted in the amounts charged against the estimated energy consumption.

For instance, Abuja Disco overbilled approximately 1.8 million customers by N17.9 billion, while Ikeja Disco charged 934,438 customers an excess of N20.9 billion during the review period.

The overbilling trend has prompted a swift response from NERC, which has vowed to take punitive measures against non-compliant Discos.

As part of its regulatory intervention, NERC announced plans to deduct N10.5 billion from the annual allowed revenues of the 11 Discos during the next tariff review.

Consumers, already grappling with the economic challenges, have expressed outrage over the overbilling saga.

Many have voiced concerns about the impact of excessive bills on their household budgets, calling for urgent measures to address the issue and restore transparency and fairness to electricity billing practices.

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Nigeria’s Energy Sector Set for Growth as Akpo West Field Adds 14,000 Barrels per Day

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Crude Oil

Nigeria’s energy landscape is poised for significant expansion with the imminent commencement of production at the Akpo West field, a development expected to bolster the nation’s condensate output by 14,000 barrels per day (bpd).

The Akpo West field, owned by TotalEnergies and its partners, represents a pivotal advancement in Nigeria’s energy sector, promising to enhance the country’s position in the global oil market.

TotalEnergies, in collaboration with its partners, has unveiled plans for the Akpo West field, located on Petroleum Mining Lease (PML) 2, situated 135 kilometers off the Nigerian coast.

The field is strategically positioned to leverage existing infrastructure, minimizing costs and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Initial estimates indicate that the project’s carbon intensity will be below 5 kg CO2e/barrel of oil equivalent, contributing to TotalEnergies’ efforts to mitigate environmental impact.

The Akpo West development is anticipated to commence by mid-2024, marking a significant milestone in Nigeria’s energy sector.

With the addition of 14,000 bpd of condensate production, Nigeria’s total condensate output is poised to witness a notable surge.

Condensate, a highly sought-after light crude oil, commands premium prices in the global market, enhancing Nigeria’s revenue potential and economic resilience.

Furthermore, the Akpo West project underscores TotalEnergies’ commitment to sustainable energy development and innovation.

By harnessing existing infrastructure and optimizing operational efficiency, the project aims to maximize production while minimizing environmental footprint.

The launch of the Akpo West field represents a transformative moment for Nigeria’s energy sector, promising growth, innovation, and enhanced global competitiveness in the realm of oil and gas production.

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Dangote Petroleum Refinery to Fuel 150,000 IPMAN Outlets Nationwide Following Successful Meeting

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Aliko Dangote - Investors King

The Dangote Petroleum Refinery is poised to supply fuel to approximately 150,000 retail outlets affiliated with the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN).

The decision follows a successful meeting between the refinery’s management and top executives from IPMAN that agreed to bolster the nation’s energy supply chain.

Key industry players, including major oil marketers such as 11 Plc, Conoil Plc, Ardova Plc, MRS Oil Nigeria Plc, OVH Energy Marketing Limited, Total Nigeria Plc, and NNPC Retail, have already enrolled for product distribution from the state-of-the-art Dangote facility, which commenced the production of diesel and aviation fuel on January 12, 2024.

While regulatory assessments are underway before the final nod for fuel dispensing, IPMAN’s president expressed optimism about the positive impact this collaboration would have on the country.

“The meeting went well, so right now we are just expecting their reply in terms of the products that they are going to give us. They have agreed to dispense products to IPMAN members,” commented IPMAN’s president, reassuring that the Dangote Refinery, one of the largest in the world, is well-equipped to meet the nation’s consumption needs.

With the refinery’s promise to address fuel scarcity and bring products to market, IPMAN anticipates a transformative impact on Nigeria’s fuel distribution landscape, providing a potential solution to prevailing challenges in the sector.

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