Sequel to the new increase in the pump price of petrol in the country, the President of the Independent Petroleum Markers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Mr Chinedu Okonkwo, has urged the Federal Government to give legal backing to illegal refining otherwise known as ‘kpo fire’.
According to him, the upgrade of the operations of ‘kpo fire’, particularly in the Niger Delta, will boost the availability of fuel in the country and reduce the cost of buying fuel by end users.
Okonkwo who made this known while speaking on a life radio interview in Port Harcourt, last Friday night, explained that since the nation’s refineries are not functioning, there was bound to be an unstable pump price because the market is deregulated and products are being imported.
According to him, if the ‘kpo fire’ refining is upgraded and given a legal backing by the government, and the operators are trained and licensed to operate, there will be fuel availability in the country.
“If there is proper legislation that will enable the illegal refineries upgrade by giving them license and the required training to operate, it will not only make petroleum products available, but it will also create massive employment for the youths.
“We are already making efforts to partner with the Petroleum University in Efurun in Delta State so that training could be given to those operating the ‘kpo fire’ refineries, instead of destroying the environment.
“This would not be done in isolation, but we are still talking with government on how to give adequate legislation and license to these people to enable them do better, rather than pushing them aside, which we, of course, know is difficult to stop.
“We can bring them together, and put them in clusters and they can do better when given the training and license to operate, and you will see that it will bridge the gap, and serve as modular refineries”, he said.
Agreeing with Okonkwo’s position, a senior staff in one of the multinational oil companies, Engr. Chigozie Elendu, said the total dependence on importation of fuel without the local refineries working, in the regime of deregulation, would not be healthy for the country.
He said there was a need to encourage modular refinery and upgrade the ‘kpo fire’ refining, which according to him, has already flooded the market.
By: Corlins Walter
SPDC Debunks Allegations Of Involvement In Oil Theft
The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC), says allegations of involvement in oil theft at its Bonny Crude Export Terminal is misleading.
A media (not The Tide) had reported that a 2 million barrels crude deficit between 2016 and 2018 reported at the Bonny terminal operated by SPDC had caused a dispute amongst several oil firms that use the oil export facility.
Aiteo Exploration and Production Company claimed that SPDC shortchanged it of 1,022,029 barrels of crude while using the Bonny Crude Export Terminal operated by SPDC between 2016 and 2018.
Aiteo is an indigenous oil firm which acquired OML 29 for US$2.4 billion following SPDC’s 2015 divestment of its 45 per cent stake from the asset.
OML 29 includes the 97-kilometer NCTL which has capacity to lift up to 180,000 barrels per day of crude from oilfields in Bayelsa and Rivers States to the Bonny terminal.
In a statement, made available to newsmen at the weekend, Media Relations Manager of SPDC, Mr Bamidele Odugbesan, described the claim as factually incorrect.
“The crude theft/diversion allegation is also factually incorrect.
“This is a distinct issue that relates to the directive by the Department of Petroleum Resources to SPDC as operator of the Bonny Oil and Gas Terminal, an asset belonging to the SPDC Joint Venture, to implement a crude re-allocation programme between injectors into the SPDC JV’s Trans Niger Pipeline and injectors into the NCTL.
“Crude allocation review and re-allocation is a normal industry practice to re-allocate previous provisional allocated volumes under the directive and supervision of DPR, and this is not an exercise resulting from crude diversion, underreporting or theft at the terminal.
“This industry practice is not peculiar to the SPDC-operated Bonny Oil and Gas Terminal alone and does not translate into any loss of volumes to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“The re-allocation in issue was initiated by SPDC as operator of the Bonny Oil and Gas Terminal, while the DPR validated and confirmed it for implementation for the concerned oil producers.
“Crude oil production metering and allocation are subject to specific guidelines issued by the industry regulator, DPR. SPDC strictly adheres to these guidelines and the implementation is regularly verified by the regulator,” Odugbesan stated.
Bayelsa, NOSDRA To Investigate Oil Spill In Koluama
Officials of the Bayelsa State Government have led some environmentalists, officials of the Ministry of Minerial Resources and Environment and National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) to the site of the recent oil spill in Koluama, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state.
According to the government officials, the visit was to assure the affected communities of government’s efforts to ascertain the source of the spill, extent of the spill and its effects on the livelihoods of the people.
The oil spill happened on January 16 near Funiwa offshore facilities, off the Atlantic coast.
The Senior Special Assistant to the Bayelsa State Governor on Oil and Gas, Mr. Timi Seimiebo, who led the visitation team, urged the people of the community to remain calm.
He said samples taken from the oil spill site would be sent for laboratory analysis to know the oil exploration company responsible for it.
According to Seimiebo, “Once the samples have been tested and the identity of the company is known, we will ask them to stand up to their responsibility as an oil company.”
Also speaking, an environmentalist and Head of Field Operations, Environment Rights Action, Comrade Alagoa Morris, explained that though the visit was not the statutory Joint Investigative Visit (JIV), the trip was a fact-finding mission to assess the level of impact on the people and environment.
“The visit was an assessment trip to see things and suggest the way forward given the fact that no oil company has owned up. It cannot be a JIV because no oil company was represented so we shall submit an interim report to guide our further action,” Morris said.
Also, Youth President of Koluama 1, one of the areas worst hit by the spill, Mr Kiwei Emmanuel, said the regulators, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA), took samples from the sediments at the coastline for laboratory tests to trace the source of pollution.
Emmanuel said members of the team also saw heaps of fishing nets, fishing gear and accessories destroyed by the pollution, and traced the spread of the crude along the coast into the creeks and mangrove vegetation.
The oil spill, which occurred last week in the Koluama community of Bayelsa State, has attracted public attention following the denial by Chevron Oil Company that it was responsible for it as earlier claimed by the residents of the community.
While Chevron Oil Limited owns Funiwa Oil Platform, Conoil Limited owns Auntie Julie Oil Platform in the area.
The oil spill has affected aquatic life and the mainstay of the community’s economy, which is fishing.
The Chairman of the KEFFES Rural Development Foundation, Mr. Mathew Sele-epri, said he got in touch with the major operators in the area as soon as he heard about the spill.
“As I took a boat ride in the affected parts of the water, I saw dead fishes floating. And I noticed that the ecosystem was being damaged and aquatic life had been grossly affected,” he said
Fast-Track Domestic Refining Capacity To End Unstable Petrol Pricing –LCCI
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) says accelerated domestic refining and processing of petroleum products would end the unstable petroleum pricing in the country.
Director-General of the Chamber, Dr. Muda Yusuf, made the remark in an interview with The Tide source in Lagos, at the weekend.
He explained that this action was necessary to prevent both the deregulation policy from being derailed and a return to a subsidy regime fraught with corrupt practices.
Yusuf also called for a competitive market framework to enable the deregulation achieve positive impact, saying that quick approval of domestic refinery operations would boost access to petroleum products for economic development
The LCCI DG blamed the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation’s (NNPC) monopolistic supply structure for the inability of Nigerians and the economy to benefit from the positives of deregulation.
Yusuf stressed that government needs to urgently put appropriate structures in place to ensure a level playing field and for the deregulation regime to achieve its objectives, because private sector players were strapped for foreign exchange to import petroleum products, while the refineries remained comatose.
“A deregulated pricing regime is typically volatile, oscillating with global oil price. However, deregulation without competition would not give desired outcomes”, Yusuf said.
He regretted that, ”We are still immersed in a monopolistic structure even as we claim to have deregulated the petroleum downstream sector”.
The LCCI DG said that to cushion the effects of petrol price increases on domestic prices, there was also an urgent need to scale up investment in mass transit transportation systems.
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