DIEZANI Alison-Madueke, minister of Petroleum Resources, is now the president of the ministerial meeting of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum, GECF, being the first woman to head the body. The appointment, which was announced on Tuesday, in Doha, Qatar, at the ongoing 16th ministerial conference of the GECF, came barely three weeks after her election as the first female President of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC.
Alison-Madueke, who could not attend the meeting because of her involvement in the ongoing negotiations to end the oil workers’ strike, was represented at the meeting by Shuaibu A. Ahmed, Nigerian Ambassador to Qatar.
The GECF is an inter-governmental organisation established in Tehran, Iran, in 2001, to serve as a platform to promote the exchange of experience, views, information and coordination in global gas exploration and production trends; current and anticipated supply-demand balance for gas; worldwide gas exploration, production and transportation technologies; the structure and development of gas markets (regional and global), amongst other common issues that pertain to the exploration, production and trade in natural gas.
The Forum is made up of 12 of the world’s leading producers of natural gas. It controls over 70 percent of global natural gas reserves, 85 percent of global liquefied natural gas production, and 38 percent of global pipeline trade of the product.
Members include Algeria, Bolivia, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Iran, Libya and Nigeria. Others are: Qatar, Russia, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela. Other countries that enjoy observer-member status of the forum include Kazakhstan, Iraq, the Netherlands, Norway and Oman.
The GECF session where Alison-Madueke was appointed as President was attended by ministers from Algeria, Iran, Libya, Qatar, Russia, UAE, as well as heads of delegations from Bolivia, Equatorial Guinea, Egypt, Trinidad and Tobago Venezuela, Netherlands, Norway and Oman, according to a press release signed by Ohi Alegbe, group general manager, Group Public Affairs Division.
NERC Monitors Power Firms’ Distribution of Pre-paid Meters
THE Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, has commenced a nationwide monitoring of power distribution companies to determine those that have failed to provide meters to electricity consumers who have paid for the device under the Credited Advance Payment for Metering Implementation, CAPMI, scheme. Sam Amadi, chairman, NERC, said the government had to monitor the Discos because of the numerous complaints by power consumers.
“There is a timeline that was set in the regulation for the CAPMI and it is 45 days after payment has been made under the scheme. That timeline still remains. Based on the complaints we get from customers, that informed the decision by the commission to send monitoring teams to go round Nigeria to find out if there are defaults with regard to the CAPMI order. And as a follow-up on that, we are having this CAPMI interaction session. So, for those established have to violate the timeline, we have mandated them to first explain and secondly commit to have the meters installed. So, we have a timeline. It is a matter of enforcing that timeline, which we are doing now,” he said.
The CAPMI was initiated by NERC whereby willing customers could advance funds for the purchase and installation of electricity meters. The payment will subsequently be refunded through a rebate on the fixed charge element of their electricity bills.
On statements that the government was not satisfied with the performance of the Discos in terms of metering, Amadi explained that the power sector was quite complex, but added that the government had a clear understanding of how to deal with it. “Metering is part of the CAPEX, that is, capital expenditure. And unfortunately, the distribution companies that took over these utilities are complaining that there are some mitigating circumstances that are inhibiting their ability to carry out some obligations assigned to them.
“Some of these obligations are like the ATC&C (Average Technical Collection and Commercial losses). And originally the one they signed in was quite low, but when they took in these utilities, they found out that in some cases; the losses were even times two. Therefore, their revenue profile went down to the extent that they could not meet up to pay for the energy they got. So, the commission is addressing those clear issues that needed to be adjusted. Once we have these things adjusted, the Discos will not have any further excuse whatsoever not to live up to their obligations as agreed.”
He noted that NERC was working with other stakeholders to find a way to intervene and accelerate the deployment of the meters. “Once we tidy these issues up and have a good cost-reflective tariff, we expect that the distribution companies, now having a good conducive environment to operate, will not give us any excuse whatsoever,” Amadi added.
BPE hands over SPDC to NNPC Pension Fund
THE Bureau of Public Enterprises, BPE, has handed over the federal government’s 51 percent shareholding in Stallion Property and Development Company, SPDC, to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Pension Fund Limited. Benjamin Dikki, director-general, BPE, said the Bureau had on October 31, 2013, sought the approval of the National Council on Privatisation, NPC, to divest the federal government’s 51 percent shares in the residual assets of SPDC to NNPC PFL.
“The request was predicated on an earlier approval granted in 2006 that the proceeds from the divestment of the federal government’s 51 per cent shareholding in SPDC be used to part bridge the funding gap (about N63bn then) in the NNPC staff pension fund. In line with this strategy, the net proceeds of the first transaction were paid to the NNPC staff pension fund, which helped to reduce the liabilities. However, there were other unsold assets that did not receive any expression of interest during the first transaction. These assets were to be sold notionally to SPDC in accordance with the pre-emptive rights provided in the company’s memorandum and articles of association,” he said.
According to Dikki, the national divestment of the federal government’s shareholding in SPDC to NNPC PFL would bridge the gap in the corporation’s pension fund and would free the SPDC from government’s management or control.
In his address, Mack-James Lalerbe, managing director, SPDC, said the event marked the formal handover of the company to NNPC PFL, adding that it would transform the fortunes of the property development firm. “This occasion signifies the completeness of the privatisation of the 51 percent federal government shares in SPDC, which means that the NNPC PFL will own SPDC 100 percent. Before now, SPDC was a private limited liability company owned 51 percent by the NNPC and 49 percent by the NNPC pension fund. Following the privatisation programme of the federal government, the 51 percent in the company was transferred to the BPE with a mandate to sell. What we are witnessing today is a dream come true and we have no doubt that the company will bounce back as one of the leading property development companies in Nigeria,” he said.
— Dec. 29, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT