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Six Rivers Students, Two Others Get SPDC Scholarships

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The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Joint Venture (SPDC JV) has awarded scholarships to six Rivers and two Abia states’ students who came tops  in the 2017 Environmental Awareness Secondary Schools Quiz Competition for Land East Hub communities.
The eight were among the students from over 90 schools who participated in this year’s secondary schools quiz competition, and represented Community Secondary School, Owaza, Abia State,  Model Girls’ Secondary School, Rumueme, County Grammar School, Ikwerre/Etche and Community Secondary School, Aleto.
While Noble Uchechukwu and Chikere Nnamdi from Community Secondary School, Owaza, Abia State clinched the grand prize with their first position, Henry Divine-Favour and Lekia B. Favour of Model Girls’ Secondary School, Rumueme, Nwala Bright and Nwala David of County Grammar School, Ikwerre/Etche and Gift Eunice KaBari as well as Favour Nkajima of Community Secondary School, Aleto; grabbed the second, third and fourth positions, respectively.
Speaking while presenting the scholarships and prizes to the students at the event organized by SPDC JV in collaboration with Rivers, Imo and Abia states’ Ministries of Education in Port Harcourt, Shell External Manager, Igo Weli expressed delight that the event has offered many participants an avenue to learn from the younger generation, adding that the power in team work was cardinal in the success of the students.
Weli regretted that the violence experienced in the Niger Delta region in recent years had forced some major oil companies to relocate their administrative and operational offices from Rivers State to other states with favourable operating business environment, lamenting this quagmire has unleashed untold hardship on many vulnerable people and businesses with negative impact on the economy.
The general manager stressed that the relocation of the oil companies has stunted economic and human capacity development, dealt a devastating blow on job creation and empowerment opportunities while exacerbating cult-related violence and criminalities such as illegal oil bunkering and pipeline vandalism, kidnapping, armed robbery, among others.
While warning misguided elements engaged in criminal activities to desist forthwith as there do not proffer workable solutions to the problems of unemployment, Weli urged the people of the region, especially the youth to look inward and find meaningful ways of contributing to the economy of their communities, states and the country.
SPDC Asset Manager, Land East Hub, Ezugworie Chibogwu Samson said the company decided to award scholarship to the best finalists as a way of encouraging more students to participate in schools’ academic competitions and programmes.
Samson urged the students to realise that excellence does not end in quiz completions, and advised them to ensure that they internalise what they were taught and work hard to protect and preserve the environment for the benefit of all.
“If you don’t protect the environment, there would be no future for us to live. We must protect and preserve our environment to enable us have a future that we all deserve,” he said.
In his remarks, Permanent Secretary, Rivers State Ministry of Education, Mr Dagogo Hart, thanked SPDC for sustaining the environmental awareness programme amongst students despite dwindling revenues, adding that the theme of this year’s competition was apt because it enabled students have better understanding of the consequences of negative vices on the precious environment in communities, the states and nation at large.
Represented by the Director, Special Duties in the ministry, Reginald Osigbo, the permanent secretary appealed for not only sustainability but expansion of the programme to all in schools in SPDC catchment states while urging the students to educate themselves on the need to live environmentally-friendly and healthy lifestyle.
Representative of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Abia State, Mrs Comfort L. Kalu, commended SPDC for organising the competition.
She cautioned against indiscriminate abuse of the environment and the ecosystem, and encouraged all stakeholders to commit to activities that will help protect the environment.
Also speaking, Director of Scholarship, Rev Mrs Christy Ibeji, who represented the permanent secretary, Imo State Ministry of Education, solicited the assistance of SPDC in creating environmental awareness in the communities via the media, and pledged the support of the state government in ensuring the protection and preservation of the environment.
Speaking on behalf of the schools, Head Teacher in-charge of Quiz Competitions, Model Girls’ Secondary School, Rumueme, Madam Warmate Tuboala, expressed joy that the students made the school and the Rivers State Government proud as good ambassadors of the vision and dream of the Governor Nyesom Wike-led administration to reposition the state education sector for excellence.
On his part, winner of the first prize and speaker of Community Secondary School, Owaza, Chikere Nnamdi, thanked SPDC management for the encouragement and support, and expressed commitment of the champions to justify the confidence reposed in them.
The Tide reports that the subjects of the quiz competition include, English Language, Chemistry, Mathematics, Biology, as well as Environment and Sustainable Development.
The Tide also reports that Okpara Glory Ifeoma of Priscilla Memorial Secondary School, Oguta, Imo State, was rated the best student in Essay Writing Competition.
Highlights of the event were the presentation of textbooks, 17 Secrets Of High Flyer Students, laptops, Samsung Galaxy Tablets, and trophies, among others to the champions, by Weli and representative of the permanent secretary.
The syndicate/parley sessions was anchored by the SPDC General Manager, Safety & Environment, Chidube Nnene-Anochie.

Susan Serekara-Nwikhana & Mirian Obusele

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Oil & Energy

BUA Group, A’Ibom Sign MoU For Refinery’s Access Road

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Bua Group has signed a memorandum of understanding, (MoU), with Akwa Ibom State Government, and the host communities in Ibeno Local Government Area, for the construction of access road to the proposed Bua Refinery and Petrochemical plant site in Ibeno, last week.
Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Power and Petroleum Development, Dr. John Etim, who presided over the signing of the MoU, applauded BUA for their commitment to the project, prompt documentation and the preparation of the site towards the construction of the refinery.
Etim said that the refinery project will bridge the gap between host communities and Akwa Ibom State, thereby bringing about more developments in the oil and gas sector of the State.
The Commissioner called on all parties concerned to be committed to the terms of agreement and to ensure that peace dominates their relationship, while appealing to the host communities to protect the facilities which is now in their custody
“The refinery and petrochemical project is in line with the Governor’s vision to industrialise the State, develop local capacity in key industries where value can be added and raw materials sourced locally.”
Speaking shortly after the MoU signing, the Chairman of Ibeno local government, Williams Mkpa, expressed delight over the development, describing it as a giant stride in the industrialisation vision of the Akwa Ibom State Government.
The paramount ruler of the area, Owong Effiong Archianga, assured the company of his people’s unalloyed support and cooperation to see to the actualisation of the project.

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Oil & Energy

CSO Urges Oil Communities To Challenge PIA In Court

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A Civil Society Organisation, Policy Alert, has faulted President Muhammadu Buhari’s signing of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021, urging communities to test the provisions of the Act before the courts.
President Buhari had signed the erstwhile Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, into law last Monday amidst protests from community groups and many other stakeholders that the Bill do not adequately cover the rights and interests of the host communities.
In a statement signed by its Communications and Stakeholders Engagement Officer, Mrs. Nneka Luke-Ndumere, Policy Alert, which is working for economic and ecological justice, described the presidential assent to the PIB as “grossly insensitive and problematic.
“It is sad that the bill has been assented to in the most controversial manner despite its many obvious flaws and its rejection by many stakeholders,” the statement read.
It added: “For example, the controversial provision for a direct payment of 30 percent profit oil and profit gas to the Frontier Exploration Fund potentially shortchanges the oil producing states and local governments of some of its thirteen percent derivation as it bypasses the requirement in section 162 (2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) which provides that all revenues be channeled through the federation account.
“This is most unfair, viewed against the ceding of only three percent of previous years’ operating expenses to the Host Communities Development Trust Fund and the punitive provision to charge costs of any damage to facilities against the community’s Fund, among other obnoxious provisions.
“That Mr. President has gone ahead to give assent to these vexing provisions only reinforces the politics of exclusion and expropriation that has for long characterised the relationship between the Nigerian state and the oil producing communities.
“We are also concerned that the host communities’ component of the legislation flies in the face of one of its stated objectives to address tensions between host communities and companies as it has all the ingredients for escalating rather than abating such conflicts.
“At a time when fossil fuel investments are being deprioritised elsewhere as a result of the global energy transition, it is unfortunate that this Act failed to provide a bridge between the current era of fossil fuel dependency and the low-carbon energy future that Nigeria aspires to within the framework of government’s much vaunted commitments under the Paris Agreement.”
The statement also said: “Granted, the new legal framework introduces some predictability and clarity to the governance and fiscal arrangements in the oil and gas industry. We are also not oblivious to certain clauses that respond to some of our earlier demands, such as those providing that the Board of Trustees of the Host Communities Development Trust will now be determined in consultation with the host communities, with  membership drawn from community members. But that is just as far as it goes.
“As a tool for improved benefit sharing to host communities, the Act falls flat on its face. It actually ridicules the exertions of the host communities and advocacy groups that have clamoured over the years for a law that yields some space for participation, direct socio-economic benefits and environmental remediation for oil-rich communities.
“The theatre of action will now have to move to the communities and the courts of law. As implementation of the Act gets underway over the next 12 months, we urge host communities and civil society groups to begin to seek interpretation of some of its more controversial provisions before the courts.”

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Oil & Energy

Kyari Tasks Greenfield Refinery On Fuel Importation

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The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari, has charged members of the Board of the NNPC Greenfield Refinery Limited (NGRL), to explore all available options to bring an end to the current challenge of petroleum products importation.
Mallam Kyari gave the charge Thursday while inaugurating the Board of the newly incorporated subsidiary of the Corporation, NNPC Greenfield Refinery Limited (NGRL), at the NNPC Towers, Abuja.
The NNPC Greenfield Refinery Limited is a subsidiary of the Corporation set up in December 2020 with a mandate to oversee the establishment and operation of new refineries.
The GMD, who is also the Chairman of the NGRL Board, challenged members of the Board to focus on profitability in order to remain afloat and avoid liquidation.
“As a business, this is a big opportunity for us and this company’s balance sheet must change positively. Going forward, with the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), I can tell you that if you continue to post negative for three years, you are out. So, there is really no excuse”, Mallam Kyari stated.
He urged the Board and Management Team of the new company to set up a proper structure with the required skills, technology and financing to drive the company’s operations, adding that he was optimistic that the company would be able to achieve its mandate.
“Our company must grow and we can’t do well except we are able to process our production whether it is the liquid or gas. If we don’t monetise it then we have done nothing. This is really a new chapter and we are committed to making it work,” he said.
The NNPC helmsman stated that all the Corporation’s initiatives in the areas of new refineries, condensate refineries and equity acquisition in credible private refineries were geared towards ensuring energy security for the country.
In his remarks, the Alternate Chairman of the Board and Group Executive Director, Refinery and Petrochemicals, Engr. Mustapha Yakubu, declared that the operations of the company would be guided by the principles of cost effectiveness in line with the new Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), noting that profitability would be the key focus.
Speaking in similar vein, the Group General Manager, Greenfield Refineries and Project Division (GRPD) and Managing Director of the NGRL, Engr. Bege Talson, disclosed that the Division was working with third party investors to establish greenfield, modular and condensate refineries with a combined capacity of 250,000barrels per stream day (bpsd).

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