DIEZANI Alison-Madueke, minister of petroleum resources, has dismissed apprehension in some quarters that the recent spate of assets divestments by international oil companies, IOCs, in Nigeria could create a crisis in the oil and gas industry. Rather, she said, the trend has actually provided an opportunity for indigenous oil and gas companies to become active players in the upstream sub-sector of the industry.
At an investment luncheon organized by the Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria, PETAN, during the recent Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, Texas, United States, US, the minister explained that with the divestments, indigenous oil and gas companies now have the opportunity to acquire the assets being divested as a springboard for the development of local capacity.
Speaking on “Assets Divestments in the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry: Opportunities and Challenges”, the minister, who was represented by Andrew Yakubu, group managing director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, stated that the divestments by the IOCs were creating opportunities for indigenous oil and gas companies to partake of the upstream sector of the industry and grow capacity.
“Let me allay your fears that the spate of divestments would not lead to crisis in the nation’s oil and gas industry, rather, the divestment by the majors is changing the onshore corporate landscape and creating material Brownfield opportunities for upstream players looking to enter the Nigerian upstream space,” she said.
Alison-Madueke observed that the divesting IOCs were not leaving the country but only shifting their focus from onshore to the more challenging frontiers of deep offshore which currently accounts for 60 per cent of Nigeria’s production. “The IOCs remain very much present in Nigeria. Shell still retains ownership of 34 onshore blocks while Total, ExxonMobil, and Chevron are still committing large amounts of capital to assets offshore Nigeria.”
Highlighting the opportunities inherent in the divestment, Alison-Madueke stated: “The indigenous Nigerian companies have been presented with the opportunity to develop local operatorship capacity as well as boost local production and consequently grow into major upstream players.”
She cited the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, NPDC, the upstream subsidiary of the NNPC, as an example of indigenous Nigerian company that has tapped into the opportunity provided by the divestment to transform from a small time player with a production of 60,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2007 to a mid-size player with a current production of over 140,000 bpd through the assignment of 55 per cent equity in eight divested blocks.
Alison-Madueke disclosed that the NPDC has grown to become the biggest producer and supplier of gas to the domestic market through its aggressive development of the assets assigned to it from the divestment process, adding that the federal government was ready to strengthen and support the company to achieve its medium term objective of growing production to 250,000 bpd.
Internet Hackers At Work in NNPC
THE management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, has raised the alarm over what it termed ‘desperate attempts by some nondescript internet fraudsters to desecrate the character and personae of Andrew Yakubu, its group managing director.’ In a statement signed by Chris Alegbe, group general manager, group public affairs division, the corporation noted that some hackers and internet scam artists had broken into the personal email account of the NNPC GMD on Wednesday, May 7, and had been using the account to send all manners of scam letters and phantom contract deals to some highly- placed contacts within and outside the oil and gas industry.
The NNPC stated that a few days earlier, some online news sites were intermittently flashing a strange icon which had the photograph of the NNPC GMD juxtaposed with some members of the House of Representatives under the caption ‘The blackmailers.’ “While we explore all options to arrest this menace, we wish to advise members of the public to disregard any such seemingly juicy voodoo contract proposals said to be emanating from the email address of Andrew Yakubu or any other email address. Anybody who commits to such transaction is doing so at his own risk,” the NNPC said.
On the strange online icon, the NNPC blamed it on the handiwork of some desperate individuals, who were bent on tarnishing the image and hard-earned reputation of its group managing director. It noted that Yakubu was neither a politician nor someone whose temperament was given to political chicanery. “Mr Andrew Yakubu is a well- heeled technocrat who, in the last three decades, had demonstrated an abiding commitment to evolving the NNPC into an efficient national oil company with global aspirations. We call on well-meaning members of the public, especially the oil and gas stakeholders to disregard the strange icon, as it has nothing to do with what the GMD stands for or represents.”
While calling on the public to discountenance the satanic campaign against the GMD, the Corporation said that facts available indicate that the campaign of calumny is likely to continue in the electronic and print media in the days and months ahead.
Thumbs Up for Intels
THE Senate Committee on Privatisation has expressed delight over the impressive performance of Intels Nigeria Limited and urged its owners to take the company to the Nigerian Stock Exchange for listing. It said more Nigerians would buy shares to be part of the success story of the oil and gas services company if listed.
Senator Olugbenga Obadara, chairman of the committee, who recently led other members on a visit to the company in Onne, Rivers State, as part of the committee’s oversight visit to privatised enterprises in the state, noted that Intels has been a privatisation success story. He said Intels had impacted positively on the Nigerian economy and commended its ability to generate 20 megawatts of electricity for its operations.
Receiving the senators, Marko Miskovic, special assistant to Intels’ managing director, said the company had invested $6.1 billion in its operations to become a top player in the Nigerian economic league. He called on the federal government to dredge and deepen the Bonny, Warri and Calabar entrance channels to boost activities of the company. Miskovic also called for a review of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN’s law on offshore banking which is militating against its smooth operations.
At the West African Container Terminal Nigeria Limited, Onne, Martin Jacob, managing director of the company, called for the intervention of the senators over the uncooperative attitude of an unnamed unit in the ministry of finance whose personnel refuse to work on approved hours and days. He told the committee members that officers in the unit were designated to work with Customs officials 24 hours a week to clear goods but “in Port Harcourt, they come to work from 8am and close at 6pm.They don’t come to work at weekends, whereas their counterparts in Lagos work round the clock with the Customs. We have made overtures to them to no avail. This is affecting our revenue adversely.”
The committee members also visited the Brawal, Ports and Terminal Operators Limited and BUA (Concessionaire of Terminal B), Port Harcourt port, where they restated that government embarked on the privatisation programme to bring about efficiency in service delivery, create jobs and generate revenue to finance its yearly budget.
Compiled by Anayo Ezugwu
— May 26, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT