THE Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, has absolved itself of owing the federal government the sum of $218 million oil revenue. Andrew Yakubu, group managing director, made this point while fielding questions from journalists at a workshop organised for energy reporters in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
The denial followed a directive by the Nigerian Senate to return the said amount to government. Yakubu said the corporation would continue to engage the National Assembly over the non-remittance of funds to the federation account. “We will continue to talk and see, may be, by and large, they will have a change of mind,” he said.
The Senate on Thursday, July 10, during the presentation of its Committee’s report on Finance, asked the NNPC to remit to the Federation Account the sum of $218,069 millio being part of the unremitted $49.8 billion from oil sale proceeds by the NNPC for the removal of fuel subsidy alleged by Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN. The Senate, while deliberating on the report, had ordered the corporation to refund to the federation account about $218.069 million being the share from third party financing agreement it did not remit.
But Yakubu said the corporation would continue to engage the National Assembly on the allegation and resolutions, as the money in question was spent on operations to avert fuel crisis in the country. He explained that the corporation engaged in business ventures that necessitated the spending of the money. “We will collect the report, we will look at it again and we will continue to explain. It is left for them to judge. I am an accused. I cannot be a judge in my case. Should I be punished for doing the right things? We will continue to talk to see, may be, by and large, they will have a change of mind on any wrong doing. If you are to go into a profit making venture, you must operate within the business environment that will enable you to make that profit. So, if you create a pricing template that does not take into cognizance some of the challenges that are faced, by virtue of the operating environment, that is difficult.
“We have had challenges in Arepo, you know very well that any time that line is breached, I cannot use that line. I have vessels and I am made to understand that to avert energy crisis in the country, I must have strategic storage. I don’t have access to my onshore facilities, I don’t have access to my pipeline, so I have offshore storage facility, that is not reflected in the pricing template and when PPPRA is reconciling with me, it uses their template. What we are simply saying is that if we have to do this job, this is the real and true situation of things. Senate, in its wisdom, looked at it and said well, if it is not captured in their template, we don’t care. The question is: If I did not do it last year, I don’t think I will be here to talk to you. The same Senate will summon me and ask me why there is no fuel, the only person that can do that is a magician,” he said.
Nigerians to Dominate Oil and Gas Market in 2018
ABOUT half of the domestic gas market in the country’s oil and gas sector will be in the hands of Nigerians by 2018. This is the prediction of Austin Avuru, managing director of Seplat Petroleum. According to Avuru, independent producers would be responsible for 1.5 billion cubic feet per day,Bcf/d, or half of the total supply of natural gas in the domestic market.
Avuru also said that indigenous companies would produce 500,000 barrels of oil per day, or about 20 percent of the Nigerian output by that same year. “The ongoing divestments by Shell and other IOCs, including Chevron, are transferring significant asset holdings to Nigerians,” he said.
According to Avuru, “these figures can only be reached and sustained by the indigenous companies if they focus on strong corporate governance, which allows quality planning and delivery and policy consistency, leading to long term sustainability.” He said local firms were yet to cultivate the habit of sustained improvement in production over time, unlike the IOCs operating in the country. “There is no IOC which was doing 30,000 barrels of oil per day years ago that is not producing 50,000 barrels per day. But take a look at Nigerian companies which were producing 40,000 barrels per day just 10 years ago.”
However, the Seplat boss expressed optimism that indigenous companies were making head way in the gas sub-sector. “We are getting to a point where long term domestic energy security is becoming the forte of indigenous companies at the rate we are going. You all know that in the past 40 years, we have spoken about LPG (domestic consumption of LPG and its consumption in this country).
“No multinational company has dared, even when in the last 40 years we have been flaring rich gas, no LPG has come out of the LNG plants, because the gas feeding the LNG plant has to be as dry as possible. It became a requirement to put up an LPG plant upstream of the LNG. And the LNG extracted out of the gas stream is meant for export. It is only when government forced them to put something in the domestic market that they came up with a very complex transportation scheme that made the whole thing almost impossible to transmit the LPG to the domestic market,” he said.
For Avuru, the indigenous outlook beyond 2017 portends an increase in the production of oil and gas in the country. “When I talk about indigenous outlook beyond 2017, what do I see? I see production. With the wave of divestments, I see that by the end of 2017, indigenous operators, including NPDC and partners will account for at least 500,000 barrels of oil production, and in my view about 1.5 billion scf of gas per day (which will be about 50 percent of domestic gas demand). Gas demand in the last four years has climbed from under 500 million scf per day to over 1 billion scf per day. By the end of 2016, it will be approaching between 2.5 billion scf and 3 billion scf per day.”
Dangote Group Boosts Electricity Supply
DANGOTE Group of companies, is generating 262 megawatts of electricity to boost the supply from the national grid. According to Abdullahi Sule, deputy group managing director, Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, the company generates 16MW, while the Dangote Cement at Obajana generates 135MW.
Speaking at a Business Forum and Annual General Meeting, AGM, organised by the Nigerian Gas Association, NGA, in Lagos recently, Sule said Dangote Cement Factory at Ibese currently generates 111MW, with Dangote Sugar consuming about 9,000,000 Standard Cubic Metre,SCM, of gas monthly.
The Dangote Sugar Refinery boss also disclosed that “the 1,320megawatt-capacity Egbin thermal plant system is similar to the power generation process at Dangote Group.” According to him, the Egbin thermal plant applies heat through the combustion of gas to produce steam, which extracts thermal energy from pressurised steam, amongst other processes to generate power.
He noted that despite the power reform carried out by the federal government and the huge gas reserves, Nigeria still lacks sufficient gas supply for domestic use. Out of the current yearly gas production of about 2 billion cubic feet, Sule said about 40 percent is flared, adding “there is now a 70 percent drop from the proportion flared before the power reforms.”
He identified the consequences to include gas supply disruption to the few functional power generating companies and what he called “futile efforts of some state governments who commissioned oil majors to increase generation, and the approved construction of four thermal power plants (Geregu, Alaoji, Papalanto, and Omotosho) with a combined capacity of 1,234MW to meet its generating goal of 6,500MW in 2006.”
Sule also identified the huge investments required for gas project take-off and credit risk management issues for potential investors in the sector as part of the consequences. To realise the federal government’s goals to increase power generation through gas, Sule called on the government to continue to “encourage the use of gas due to its benefits, which positions it to compete effectively with other refined petroleum products.”
He pointed out that a conducive climate had been created for power generation and distribution with the Independent Power Plants, IPPs. According to him, the government should also encourage more independent power producers to boost power, and provide the much needed support for economic growth, and guaranteed returns on investments.
He also stated that the private sector has a critical role to play for the success of the gas to power projects, adding that they should explore and maximise the vast opportunities that abound in the gas sector, as well as gas to power projects.
Compiled By Anayo Ezugwu
— Jul. 28, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT