NCDMB Wades into ARCO, AGIP Dispute

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Ernest Nwapa

THE Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board, NCDMB, has invited Massimo Insulla, managing director of Nigerian Agip Oil Company, NAOC, to a meeting to discuss the dispute between the company and Arco Petroleum Engineering Company Limited over the maintenance of Obob/Ebocha/Kwale Gas plants.

The invitation followed NCDMB’s receipt of a formal letter of complaint to it by Arco Petroleum on the matter dated September 10, 2014. In the letter Arco alleged among other things that NAOC and General Electric “are ganging up to forcibly remove an established indigenous contractor like Arco that can prove its mettle in the maintenance of such hi-tech equipment exclusively for six months.”

A press release from NCDMB quoted Ernest Nwapa, executive secretary of the NCDMB as saying that the Board would continue to ensure that the provisions of the Nigerian Content Act are adhered to in relation to any contract or operation in the oil and gas industry.

Sugar Mills Can Contribute 411mw to National Grid

THE National Sugar Development Council, NSDC, is convinced that the sugar sector could contribute as much as 411 megawatts of electricity to the national grid. Lateef Busari, executive secretary, NSDC, disclosed this when he led a delegation of the council on a visit to Paul Orhii, director general, National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, on Monday, September 15.

Orhii
Orhii

Busari said the move by the council would also create more than 115,000 direct jobs and production of 161 million litres of ethanol. “Sugarcane is now seen as an energy crop through the production of sugar. The sugar industry will be able to generate electricity and also to produce ethanol which can be used in running vehicles. The new and profitable sugar industry which is set to emerge by 2020 to 2022, will see the creation of over 115,000 direct jobs, the production of 161 million litres of ethanol and production of 411MW of electricity through cogeneration.

“For every tonne of cane which is processed, approximately 11 units of energy can be extracted from the sugarcane plant. About 70 litres per tonne cane can be fermented into ethanol from the sugar in the cane, representing about 14 percent of the total energy content. Another 0.33 of methane can be generated per tonne cane via the anaerobic digestion of the liquid by-products of fermentation, boosting the sugar-juice’s energy contribution up to 17 percent. Expanding sugarcane cultivation for electricity and ethanol production might also provide rural employment opportunities and could help mitigate the exodus of rural workers into the cities. The direct capital investment required for creating new jobs in cane energy is 10 percent to 25 percent of that required in mining or petrochemical,” he said.

According to Busari, the government has increased local production and utilisation of the commodity. “Last year, we imported about 1.3million metric tonnes and it is because the prices were lower, so the refineries that are refining the raw sugar which we were importing were able to increase their capacity utilisation. Capacity utilisation jumped from 60 percent to 75 percent that means they processed more sugar. More people were buying sugar because the price was lower. Our priority is simple, to ensure self-sufficiency in sugar production. In other words, it is to ensure that Nigeria is able to produce all the sugar it consumes. We believe that it is an achievable target because we have all that is required to be able to produce sugar. We have the human capacity, we have the land, and we have over nine million hectares of land, of which 80 percent is arable. We have the good weather, we have good soil, sugarcane needs a lot of water and we have a sizeable source of water.”

Renewable Energy To Boost Power Supply

THE proposed national policy on renewable energy and energy efficiency is expected to boost electricity supply nationwide. Chinedu Nebo, minister of power, disclosed this at the stakeholders’ forum on renewable energy in Abuja, on Saturday, September 13. Nebo assured that the proposed policy framework would drive renewable energy issues that would be well accepted internally and externally.

Nebo
Nebo

The minister urged participants at the workshop to do all within their capacities to fast track it. He said this was a key element in government’s renewed efforts to increase and expand access to electricity by Nigerians, especially in the rural areas. He said the power sector had been marred in the past, partly due to unnecessary emphasis on the national grid, which had been proven to be incapable to reach communities that were far flung and remote.

The new matrix, he said had been based on greater access, easy cost recovery mechanism and indeed guide with approach to ensure that more Nigerians have access to electricity. The minister then urged the participants at the workshop drawn from the industry, civil society groups, non-governmental organisations, and other stakeholders to brace-up to the challenge of championing a new order that would drive the nation’s power sector. Nebo described the policy as a document that would push the nation far ahead of its peers on the continent.

Soji Adelaja, presidential aide on the north-east transformation, earlier in his keynote address assured participants that the policy would take Nigeria into the global picture as a country serious and ready to address its power challenges. He said that the policy was long overdue against the backdrop of the compelling need for Nigeria to harness its vast energy potential.

Adelaja said that with the abundant wind, solar and biomass in all parts of Nigeria, it had become far cheaper to explore renewable energy sources, away from the undue emphasis on the national grid. For entrepreneurs, renewable energy sources also elicit mature thinking and real value for money, as it helps investors to recoup their investments from renewable energy sources quickly.

— Sep. 29, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT

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