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Chevron Executives Barred From Leaving Brazil Over Spill

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A Brazilian court on Saturday barred 17 executives from Chevron and Transocean from leaving Brazil, pending criminal charges related to a high-profile oil spill last November.

A federal judge in Rio de Janeiro state granted a request from prosecutors who are pressing for charges against both firms, a spokesman for prosecutor, Eduardo Oliveira said in a phone interview.

George Buck, who heads Chevron’s Brazil unit, and the other 16 executives must turn in their passports to the police within 24 hours, the spokesman said.

Charges are expected to be filed on Tuesday or Wednesday, according to the prosecutors’ press office.

The court decision came a day after the Brazilian navy spotted a thin stain of oil extending for about 0.6 mile in offshore field Frade, which was also the site of last year’s spill. United States-based Chevron said in a statement it halted production at Frade on Saturday after winning permission from Brazilian oil industry regulator ANP.

Neither Chevron nor any of its executives “have been formally notified of any action by the judiciary yet,” the company statement said. “Any legal decision will be abided by the company and its employees. We will defend the company and its employees.”

Prosecutors want to press a criminal indictment of Buck and other executives from Chevron and Swiss-based offshore drilling company Transocean, three government sources said in January. Transocean’s rig was used in the Frade field.

It is up to a judge to determine whether to accept the charges and proceed with indictments.

Chevron’s spill in November leaked as many as 3,000 barrels from sea-floor cracks. It resulted in an $11 billion civil lawsuit, the largest environmental damages case in Brazil’s history, although the total amount of oil was less than 0.1 percent of the BP spill in 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico.

Chevron’s troubles in Brazil could force it to rethink Latin American strategies. A shortage of trained workers, engineers and equipment has driven up costs in Brazil, and Chevron faces an $18 billion environmental verdict in Ecuador.

Chevron is stopping production plans to better assess its “reservoir management plans” in Brazil, where it has spent over $2 billion developing the largest foreign-run oil field. The suspension will shut down a field with the capacity to produce 80,000 barrels a day, more than 3 per cent of Brazil’s oil output.

Chevron, which made public on Thursday the request to suspend output at Frade, said the plan was supported by its partners in the field: Brazilian state oil company Petrobras and Frade Japan, which is owned by Japan’s Inpex, Japanese trading house Sojitz and Japanese state oil and metals group JOGMEC.

Chevron owns 52 per cent of Frade and operates the field. Petrobras owns 30 percent and Frade Japan, 18 per cent.

“The decision to request the temporary shut-in of production is a precautionary measure,” Chevron said in the statement. “The company will conduct a comprehensive technical study and prepare a complementary study to better understand the geological features of the area, working with partners.”

Navy staff found the stain on Friday after flying over the area off Brazil’s Atlantic coast, according to a statement late on Friday. The navy, the ANP and environmental protection agency Ibama will monitor and coordinate actions with Chevron to control the stain, the statement added.

Most of the oil coming from the leak is being captured by specially built containment devices, Chevron said, adding additional devices would be installed as needed.

Chevron said on Thursday there was no evidence that the new leak and the one in November were related.

Natural oil leaks in the Campos Basin, home to the Frade field, are common, Cleveland Jones, a geologist at UFRJ, the state university of Rio de Janeiro, said in an interview.

“Until there is some proof, there is a good chance that this leak is a natural occurrence, not something to do with Chevron,” he said. “Leaks of this size are common, and are how people realized there was oil in the area in the first place.”’

ANP, Brazil’s navy and Ibama officials will meet early next week to assess the situation.

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Global Geopolitics, Neo-Colonialism Fuelling Apathy Against Crude Oil, DPR Hints

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The Department of Petroleum Resources(DPR), yesterday, allayed concerns over the future of crude oil globally, stating that the resource would continue to remain relevant for decades to come due to a number of emerging factors.

In his goodwill address at the ongoing 45th edition of the Society of Petroleum Engineers Nigeria Council(SPENC), Nigeria Annual International Conference and Exhibition(NAICE), Director and Chief Executive of the DPR, Engr Sarki Auwalu, argued that the current apathy towards crude oil is not driven by technical and economic considerations alone.

According to him, the ongoing narratives of the relative significance of each energy type and the clamour of ‘end of oil era’ is not informed by technical and economic considerations alone but by global geopolitics and the vagaries of neo-colonialism as well.

Auwalu maintained that crude oil’s continued relevance in decades to come is because of some of its features as an energy resource, which includes availability, accessibility, affordability, reliability, and efficiency.

This character of petroleum, he explained, gives it a degree of comparative advantage over emerging energy alternatives for secured and stable energy supply.

He said, “I would like to sum up the future of energy in these words: ‘for the foreseeable future, we would continue to see a mix of all energy sources – coal, oil, gas, nuclear, renewables – in the supply equation. Whereas renewable sources will make steady in-roads in the global mix, oil and gas will be relevant in decades to come’.

“This conclusion is informed by the outcomes of market analysis and forecasts based on demand-supply equilibrium, socio-economic fundamentals, climate change and environmental considerations as well as technology and innovation that is shaping the dynamics of global outlook.

“However, we would not delude ourselves that change is not happening; we must continually re-invent the industry and find ways to improve the environmental credentials of oil and gas by deploying technologies for carbon reduction and management to maintain its acceptability as fuel.”

He insisted that Africa, other oil-producing countries and members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries(OPEC), must be key stakeholders in global energy discourse and ensure their voices and views are well articulated in discussions about the future of oil and gas.

“Indeed, as Africans, it must take its destiny in its hand and rewrite history, by leveraging abundant human and natural resources which nature has bequeathed on this great continent to create wealth for its people, eliminate poverty, and improve social-economic conditions while driving value for the globe. Only Africa can grow Africa,” he noted.

On its part, Auwalu disclosed that Nigeria had risen to the occasion, and had started using its oil and gas resources to drive value for national development in the face of challenges posed by energy transition and global dynamics.

Specifically, he explained that the DPR was fostering innovative ideas and creating opportunities for investments and sustainability in the petroleum industry, especially most recently, through the establishment of the National Oil and Gas Excellence Centre(NOGEC).

NOGEC, the DPR chief executive noted, was designed as a one-stop shop to drive safety, cost efficiency and value for the Nigerian oil and gas industry.

In addition, he said the DPR identified the need to formulate the Maximum Economic Recovery(MER) Strategy for Nigeria to guarantee the actualisation of sustainable resource optimization and the economic benefits arising therefrom.

The framework of the MER, he explained, was hinged on six pillars, namely: reserves maturation and production optimization; exploration and resources maturation; improved oil recovery and enhanced oil recovery (IOR/EOR) implementation; asset stewardship; performance evaluation and rewards; and risk management.

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MOSIEND Threatens ExxonMobil Operations Over N82bn Court Judgement

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The Movement for the Survival of Izon Ethnic Nationality in the Niger Delta, MOSIEND has issued the American oil firm, ExxonMobil, 14-days ultimatum to pay the N82 billion awarded against them by the Federal High Court, for damaging the environment of her host communities in Ibeno, Akwa Ibom State or have her operations disrupted.
Vice-Chairman, MOSIEND, Akwa Ibom chapter, Mr. Patrick Afaiko, who gave the ultimatum said it will not fold it hands to watch the company carry-out its clandestine and habitual manner of damaging the environment without adequate compensation.
Afaiko noted instead of paying the N82bn compensation to Ibeno communities that were affected by oil spillage, ExxonMobil has gone ahead to appeal against the High Court judgement.
He observed that rather than assuaging the damage done to the people and the environment, ExxonMobil has choosen to spend huge sums of money going from one court to the other in order to subvert justice.
“ExxonMobil has appealed against the judgment of the High Court which directed that it should pay N82bn to communities in Ibeno LGA and environs that were affected by its oil spillage some years ago.
“It is more saddening to note that ExxonMobil rather than paying for the great damage it had done to our aquatic life, choose to spend all that sum going from one court to another.
“It is glaring the insidiousness of ExxonMobil for its inapproachable disposition depicted in the wanton sack of workers who are now indigents and the keeping of all major contracts and sharing same amongst its executives is insensitive, ruthless, oppressive and treacherous, as can be seen in all its policies and activities towards the host communities and catchment areas over the years.
“It is based on these and more that MOSIEND in its decisive resolution agreed never to fold its hands and watch ExxonMobil proceed with its habitual and clandestine manner of damaging our land and aquatic life without quantum compensation”.
MOSIEND warned that after the expiration of the ultimatum on the 8th of August, 2021, it will mobilise its units, clans, chapters, national and sister ethnic organisations including militants to shut down ExxonMobil operations at Eket Terminal.
“ExxonMobil should, as a matter of concern, abide by this order to avert the unforeseen consequences of actions that will follow. MOSIEND will not tolerate this callousness anymore. We want to use this platform to urge all local and foreign workers to vacate the terminal for their own safety. He who is down, fears no fall. We can no longer stomach their devilish treatment.
“We are also calling on Governor Udom Emmanuel, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Slyva; past ministers for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu and Mr Odein Ajumogobia, who have strong ties with ExxonMobil to prevail on the company to as a matter of urgency, engage the Local Government, the King and good people of Ibeno for discussions and prompt payment of compensations, rather than hiding under the cover of judiciary to avert justice and fairness which is a sinequanon for peace.
“ExxonMobil ought not to be operating and making profit while the affected indigenes suffer untold hardship due largely to the reckless and unprofessional conduct of their staff, causing misfortune, hence, leaving the casualties redundant and jobless for years, not even some sort of palliative to cushion shock and agony of the victims.
“ExxonMobil will be held responsible for any consequences that will arise from the actions. We will apply all conventional and unconventional strategies to drive home our demand. The Niger Delta people have been taken for granted for too long, this multinational has been taking our patience, tolerance and cooperation for granted”, MOSIEND.

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Shell Unveils First Female Managing Director For Deep-Water Nigeria

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World energy giant, Shell, has named Elohor Aiboni as the Managing Director of its Nigeria deep-water business, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited (SNEPCo) with effect from 1st August 2021.
Elohor is the first female to lead a Shell exploration company in the over 60 years of Shell’s operations in Nigeria. She succeeds Bayo Ojulari who retired on 31st July 2021 after five years as SNEPCo’s MD and over 30 years of service in the Shell group.
Until this appointment, Elohor was the Bonga Asset Manager responsible for overseeing end-to-end production delivery for Nigeria’s pioneer deep-water Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel, Bonga, an offshore asset that has produced over 900 million barrels of oil since it began operations in 2005.
“Elohor’s appointment is a product of diligence, competence and commitment to the Shell ideals and core values amidst our strong focus on diversity and inclusion,” Shell’s Senior Vice President for Nigeria, Marno de Jong, said, adding: “We take pride in our intention of being one of the most diverse and inclusive organisations in the world, and focus on further improving inclusion and representation in critical areas including gender.”
Elohor joins over 300 women in senior leadership positions in the Shell Group representing more than 31 percent of executive positions in the leading global energy company.
Her 19-year career in Shell has seen her move from a field engineer to several roles in production operations; project and asset management; operations readiness and assurance. She was at a time the Business Adviser to the Executive Vice President for Shell Sub-Saharan Africa, and had also managed third-party interface across several Shell assets in Nigeria and Kazakhstan.
Prior to her role as Bonga Asset Manager, Elohor led production delivery for shallow offshore as Asset Manager for Sea Eagle FPSO in Nigeria’s Niger Delta.
Elohor holds a master’s degree in Integrated Environmental Management from the University of Bath, UK and a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from University of Benin, Nigeria.

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