DIEZANI Alison-Madueke, minister of petroleum resources, has endorsed the forthcoming 2nd international conference on petroleum refining and petrochemicals being organised by the University of Port Harcourt, UNIPORT, in collaboration with Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals. The conference is scheduled to hold at the Presidential Hotel, Port Harcourt, from August 28 to 29. It has four sub-themes namely: Need to develop the non-fuel downstream sector; opportunities and challenges for entrepreneurs on sustainable refinery and petrochemical products; funding indigenous research and development in developing countries; and economic growth on the back of the petrochemicals sector.
The minister’s endorsement was communicated to the organisers after she was briefed about the elaborate plans to hold the world-class conference for which many international scholars and project experts have also offered to deliver papers. A statement issued by Godwin Igwe, director of the Centre for Gas, Refining and Petrochemicals, CGRP, of the University, said the theme of the conference is “Creating wealth through diversification, transformation and development of our refineries and petrochemical industries”.
According to him, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals Limited, IEPL, Petroleum Technology Development Fund, PTDF, and the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Authority, PPPRA, among others have shown tremendous interest in the conference.
Reginald C. Stanley, executive secretary of PPPRA,; Tim Okon, group coordinator of Corporate Planning & Strategy, CP&S, and director of NNPC Transformation, Umar Buba Bindir, director General/CEO, NOTAP, federal ministry of science & technology, and Manish Mundra, managing director of Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals have accepted to speak at the conference.
Igwe stated that the Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Joseph Ajienka, and Chairman of the Governing Board of CGRP, Engr. Tony Ogbuigwe, who is also the group executive director of Refineries and Petrochemicals at the NNPC, have promised that the international conference would meet global standard.
Problems Power Minister Inherited
BARRING any unforeseen development, workers of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria will start receiving the pay cheques for their severance benefits any moment from this week in preparation for the conclusion of the privatisation of the power sector. Chinedu Nebo, minister of power, said there has been a directive for the payment of the PHCN workers, this week. He said that a proper audit of the payment processes, which delayed the final disbursement of funds to the workers, had been concluded.
The minister said the federal government had so far disbursed N21.2bn to the three segments of the nation’s electricity supply industry. The segments, according to him, are electricity generation, transmission and distribution companies. “These include the release of African Development Bank loan of $100m to the Transmission Company of Nigeria, for critical transmission projects, and the release of N5.2bn special intervention fund to distribution and generation companies for operation and maintenance services,” he said.
The minister’s explanation on the disbursed funds may not be unconnected with allegations by the National Assembly that lack of budgetary allocations for the operations of the PHCN successor companies had negatively impacted on their performances. Nebo observed that the sector was confronted with numerous challenges when he assumed office, but gave an assurance that the government was resolute in its resolve to fix the decay in the industry.
“When I assumed office, there were numerous challenges that posed a cog in the wheel of progress vis-a-vis the power reform agenda, which included among others, labour negotiations, which were stalled because of complaints about non-coverage of temporary staff in the settlement scheme. There were existing schisms between TCN and Manitoba Hydro International of Canada, because of unclear delineation of roles. Consequently, workers of the company weren’t allowed access to their offices; the transmission network, which hitherto had received very little investment, was becoming increasingly unstable and more sensitive to new generation. There was uncertainty and loss of confidence among some of our key investors and critical development partners about the commitment of the government to the reform process and the transformation of the power sector in general. We were faced with the arduous task of getting the sector back on the transformation track. I stand here to tell you that we have managed to steer the ship in the right direction and have recorded some significant achievements ever since.”
Nebo said the recent loss of 1,598 megawatts of electricity due to vandalism at two critical gas pipelines supplying gas to eight power plants in the country was a typical setback encountered by the ministry.
Breaking New Grounds
MARGINAL fields account for only 2.1 percent of the country’s total crude production, which translates into a daily production of about 60,000 barrels of oil per day. George Osahon, director, Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, said that the marginal fields’ grew their reserves to 302.6 million barrels as at 2013 from 141 million barrels in 2004.
Osahon said of the 24 marginal fields awarded in 2003 and the five fields awarded on a discretionary basis, only nine are producing. He listed the active and productive marginal fields’ owners as Platform Petroleum, owner of Asuokpu/Umutu field; Walter Smith and Morris Petroleum, owners of the Ibigwe field and Frontier Oil, owner of the Uquo field. Others are Britania-U, owners of Ajapa field; Midwestern Oil and Gas and Suntrust, owners of Umusadege field and Pillar Oil, owner of Obodogwa/Obodeti field.
He further stated that out of the five marginal fields that were awarded on a discretionary basis, only Oriental Energy, owner of two of the fields Okwok and Ebok fields and Niger Delta Petroleum Development Company, owner of Ogbelle field, are involved in active production.
Osahon further noted that the country’s crude reserves holding is currently skewed in favour of Joint Ventures, JV, and Production Sharing Contracts, PSC, and accounting for 70.86 percent and 22.67 percent respectively. He stated that Joint Ventures and Production Sharing Contracts still hold majority of the country’s gas reserves, accounting for 77.73 percent and 14.52 percent respectively.
The DPR boss, however, stated that the challenges facing the marginal operators have been adequately analyzed and remedial legislation and actions are being proposed, especially as some of the marginal field operators are beginning to break new grounds in the area of unlocking stranded molecules through deployment of new technologies to create opportunities for employment and empowerment among others.
Compiled by Anayo Ezugwu
— Aug. 12, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT