Russia’s gas export monopoly, Gazprom, is preparing to invest £1billion to become one of Britain’s biggest fuel suppliers, The Sunday Times has reported.
The state-run Gazprom is expected to lodge an offer this week for a network of 800 petrol stations and the Lindsey oil refinery at Killingholme, Lincolnshire, the paper stated.
It added that “the assets have been put up for sale by Total, the French oil group. It has hired JP Morgan, the investment bank, to sell its UK business, which employs 5,000 people. The business is expected to fetch more than £1 billion.”
However, Gazprom could not immediately be reached for comment.
The prospect of the Kremlin-controlled energy giant owning key parts of the UK oil infrastructure could worry the government, the paper wrote.
It indicated that, “when Gazprom was rumoured to be looking at a bid for Centrica, owner of British Gas, in 2006, ministers met to examine the possible consequences resulting from any takeover of a major UK energy supplier.”
Gazprom is expected to bid for the Total assets through its oil arm, Gazprom Neft.
Included in the Total sale is the 247km underground pipeline from Lindsey to the Buncefield fuel depot, which serves southeast England and Heathrow airport, the paper said.
It, however, noted that much of the site was destroyed in an explosion in 2005 but there were plans to rebuild it.
TotalEnergies Makes Case For Accelerated PIA Implementation
TotalEnergies EP Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of TotalEnergies, has said the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act must be accelerated as the window for investments in fossil fuels is narrowing.
The Managing Director, TotalEnergies EP Nigeria Limited, Mr Mike Sangster, said this recently at the management session of the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists in Lagos.
Sangster, who was represented by the company’s Deputy Managing Director, Deepwater, Mr Victor Bandele, described the PIA as the most significant legislation to impact the oil and gas landscape due to its ramifications on the industry and country at large.
He said, “The Act is expected to eliminate regulatory/legal hurdles, attract critical investments, unlock financial resources, accelerate local content development, and enhance employment, among other opportunities.
“The fact is the PIA implementation must be accelerated. The window for investments into fossil fuels is narrowing. Very few years would remain for access to urgent funds to develop the Nigerian petroleum industry to launch it into that era of energy transition and prosperity that the world envisions.”
To unlock and maximise the potential of the PIA, he highlighted the need for the political will for a consistent implementation of the provisions of the law and continuous engagement and consultations with all stakeholders for the unflinching support necessary for the success of the law.
“Too frequent amendments will foster policy instability and instigate apprehension among investors. Too many litigations against oil companies threaten operational stability and induce long-term uncertainties. Insecurity is a huge challenge,” Sangster said..
He stressed the need for proper/transparent management of the transition from the now-defunct regulatory agencies to the new ones.
According to him, the case for investments envisaged by the PIA still has to be made in view of climate concerns and the attention on energy transition.
He said, “We must appreciate that although fossil fuels will remain the main source of energy for the world for some time to come, the march to renewable energies is irreversible.
“Nigeria may not have much choice over the speed and velocity of the energy transition. It is therefore very urgent that the country takes maximum advantage of the deregulation of the industry and other welcome provisions of the PIA to exploit her petroleum resources, build critical infrastructure and position competitively in the energy transition.”
Marketers Fear Fuel Price May Hit N170 Per Litre
Petroleum product marketers in the country, under the umbrella of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, IPMAN, and the Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, PETROAN, have warned that the retail price of petrol may hit N170 per litre.
This is an increase in the current N162-N165 per litre price of the product.
The marketers said the anticipated increased in the pump price of the Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, popularly known as petrol, is as a result of the rising cost of the product at the depots.
According to them, the depot price is projected to increase from N159/litre to N165/litre, if not brought under control.
The National Public Relations Officer of IPMAN, Chief Ukadike Chinedu, who spoke on the possible increase in the pump price of petrol, said this was bound to happen unless the increase in depot price is addressed.
The marketers’ warning is coming amid emerging queues at fuel stations in Abuja and some parts of the country due to scarcity of the product.
The marketers claim supply drop, but, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, says there is enough petrol to last the country through the Yuletide and beyond.
NNPC said it has over 1.7 billion litres of petrol in stock and more products are expected to arrive Nigeria daily over the coming weeks and months.
However, the IPMAN spokesman said: “I want you to know that the availability of petrol is a problem. Most tank farms don’t have products, and the place to go and buy products is from the few ones that have.
Creating a scenario of how the anticipated price hike will come about, Chinedu stated that as a result of the unavailability of the product at most tank farms and marketers buying from the few ones that have the product, profiteering will set in and they (marketers) will be selling at N159 to N160 per litre
He added: “You (marketers) will now consider moving the product to your filling stations, particularly for marketers who don’t get bridging claims.
“This marketer will pay close to N100,000 to be able to send the product to his station. Now, when the product gets to his station, that product’s cost is almost at N163/litre. So, will he use only N2 margin to sell petrol, knowing that he will pay staff, power bill, taxes, etc?”
Chinedu stated: “Marketers should not be held responsible when the pump price increases. Many tank farms don’t have products. So marketers don’t have any option because if they buy, they sell.
“If there is surplus, you will see marketers selling at N162/litre or below, but right now, you hardly find anyone selling at that price. I also want to let you know that by next week, products will be close to N165/litre at depots.”
President PETROAN, Billy Gillis-Harry, confirmed the position of IPMAN, noting that retailers of petrol at filling stations would adjust their prices upwards beyond the N165/litre if depots continued to sell at unapproved rates.
NCDMB Commends TotalEnergies On In-Country Investment Policy
The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Mr. Simbi Wabote, has described TotalEnergies as top performing multinational oil company in the use of local content recommendations by the Federal Government.
Wabote, who gave this commendation at the IKD1 Topside delivery Sail Away ceremony of the IKIKE Field Development Project at the Rumuolumeni Yard of the Saipem Contracting Nigeria Limited, Port Harcourt described the top oil and gas multinational as having kept the faith the Nigerian oil and gas industry among upstream players amidst challenges and uncertainties in the past 10 years.
According to him, “it is on record that TotalEnergies has been the only upstream company taking key Final Investments Decisions on major projects in the last 10years. The company has continuously kept faith with Nigeria’s oil and gas industry despite the ups and downs”. The first was the Egina Project, which saw almost $20 billion being spent in the country. Today, we are doing this Sail Away as an additional module and some other fabrications that have happened in the country. Again, huge investment by Total, particularly in the areas of tie-back to existing facilities, Total has done extremely well.
“Other companies have been talking about tie-back opportunities but the discussion we have seen around them is how to do those activities outside the country when you have a lot of Nigerians unemployed, a lot of fabrication yards currently without a job.Today, Nigeria has a capacity of almost 15,000 metric tonnes fabrication capacity courtesy of Total establishing most of those yards.”
He further said, “Nigeria is keen to have strategic partners such as TotalEnergies to enable us realise our targets especially in consideration of the enactment of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA). The Board is delighted to note the TotalEnergies is committed to sustained investments in the gas sector with consideration for renewable energy”
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, TotalEnergies Nigeria’s, Mike Sangster, noted that the IKIKE Project was a template for future development also said, “The IKIKE Field Development Project, coming on the heels of the Egina Project is a further commitment of TotalEnergies to Nigeria and the growth of the oil and gas sector.”
Sangster observed that the IKIKE Project, while meeting the incremental 32,000bpd, also aims to “Capitalise on lessons learnt from previous projects (OFON2, OML 58 Upgrade)to assure a development with strategy fit for context, maximise local content at sustainable cost, simplified design, economic and fast execution to first oil and create a template for future similar developments of TotalEnergies.”
He added that the Sail Away was a signal to the completion of the last platform to enable tie-back of the IKIKE Project to the Amenam Production towards unlocking over 32,000 barrels of oil per day from second quarter of 2022.
On his part, the IKIKE Project Manager, Modestus Nwosu, stated that with the IKD1 Topside delivery, the project, a Joint Venture between the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (60%) and TotalEnergies (40%) had met 74% completion.
Also speaking, Managing Director, Saipem Nigeria Limited, Walter Peviani, which locally fabricated the IKD1 Topside at its Port Harcourt Yard in collaboration with local firms, IGPES, and other subcontractors, thanked TotalEnergies for believing in their capacity to deliver on time without Lost Time Injury (LTI) or incident amidst industry challenges including Covid-19.
By: Tonye Nria-Dappa
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