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BP Puts Containment Cap On Gushing Oil Pipe

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British Petroleum (BP) BP has made promising strides in its latest bid to capture some of the oil spewing from its ruptured deep-sea well in the Gulf of Mexico.

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama has called off an overseas trip and prepared for another visit on Friday to the spill-stricken U.S. Gulf Coast.

BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles said the containment cap “should work” by capturing upward of 90 percent of the gushing oil.

“I’d like to see us capture 90 plus per cent of this flow. I think that’s possible with this design,” Suttles told CBS TV.

“It should work,” he added in another interview with CNN.

After failing days ago to plug the well, BP Plc managed on Thursday to shear away the gushing well pipe a mile (1.6 km) below the ocean surface, then lowered a containment cap over the jagged hole left atop the crippled wellhead assembly in its latest bid to curtail the oil flow.

British energy giant BP, facing a criminal probe by the U.S. government, civil lawsuits, lost share value and growing questions about credit-worthiness, set an eagerly awaited investors’ briefing conference call with chief executive Tony Hayward for 9 a.m. EDT (1300 GMT).

BP shares were up four per cent in European trading on Friday after word of the apparent progress in curbing the spill.

Pressure is building on BP to suspend dividend payments, which total 10.5 billion dollars a year, and divert cash to dealing with the spill and clean-up.

Hayward was coy on the issue on Thursday, telling reporters in Houston, “We will meet our obligations to stakeholders.”

Two Democratic U.S. senators have called on BP to suspend shareholder dividends until the full cost of the cleanup is known.

London-based investment bank Evolution Securities said in a research note, “We believe BP will bow to political pressure in the U.S. and suspend dividend payments for the remainder of 2010.”

The placement of the cylindrical containment cap was confirmed by the U.S. disaster response chief, Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, in a statement describing the move as a “positive development” but “only a temporary and partial fix.”

“It will be some time before we can confirm that this method will work and to what extent it will mitigate the release of oil into the environment,” Allen said.

Once the containment cap is firmly in place over the wellhead, the plan is to start funneling at least some of the escaping oil and gas into a large hose that would carry it from the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico to the surface, where it would be collected in ships and safely removed.

Confronting one of the biggest tests of his presidency as his party girds for tough congressional elections in November, Obama called off a trip to Australia and Indonesia set for this month to focus more on the oil spill and other matters.

The White House said in a statement early on Friday that Obama spoke on Thursday night to Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to inform them of his decision.

The trip had been scheduled for June 13-19.

Crude oil has been pouring unchecked into the Gulf of Mexico at up to 19,000 barrels (800,000 gallons/three million litres) a day since an explosion April 20.

The explosion demolished a BP-contracted drilling platform off the coast of Louisiana, killin  g 11 crewmen and unleashing an environmental disaster of epic proportions.

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Firm Launches New Radio Campaign For Product

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An oil and gas firm, 11 Plc, has launched a new jingle for its mobil super lubricants.
The firm in a statement recently indicated that it is the sole distributor of Mobil fuel and lubricant brands in Nigeria, noting that the radio campaign was aimed at making the brand Nigerian customers’ choice.
“The campaign, which hit the airwaves three weeks ago, was launched to create fresh awareness for all category users of the premium lubricants during the Easter and Ramadan period and beyond”, the statement said.
According to the firm, Mobil Superbrand is a global family of premium passenger vehicle engine oils that provides different levels of protection to match whatever conditions users of the products may encounter.
The company said its vision was to be the number one business group in Nigeria in terms of sustained service, quality and reliability and the first brand of preference by the consumers whilst conducting operations with high safety standards and environmental compliance.
It added that it aimed to provide the best in class products, services and solutions to customers with a focus on safety and environmental standards.

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Arik Air Explains Flight Cancellation In PH Airport

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Arik Airline has clarified that the incident that resulted in passengers getting stranded at Port Harcourt Airport last Tuesday was due to adverse weather conditions.
This was disclosed in a statement signed by the Public Relations Manager of the airline, Adebanji Ola.
Some passengers of the Arik Air had expressed frustration over being left stranded at Port Harcourt Airport after their flight to Lagos was abruptly cancelled.
The affected passengers, scheduled for the flight from Port Harcourt to Lagos State, got upset by the development, and took to social media platforms to express their grievances.
Nevertheless, the airline had in the statement, reiterated its commitment to safety, highlighting its strict policy to avoid flying in inclement weather conditions, which they said had necessitated the cancellation of the affected flight.
It extended its apologies to customers whose travel plans were disrupted by the unforeseen circumstances, reaffirming its dedication to prioritising passenger welfare.
“We are aware of a recent story circulated in social media alleging that passengers were left stranded at Port Harcourt Airport under our care. It is imperative that we provide clarity on this matter to rectify any misconceptions.
“In the evening of Tuesday, April 2, 2024, our flight W3 744 Lagos-Port Harcourt was compelled to make an air return due to adverse weather conditions, specifically heavy rainfall and thunderstorms in Port Harcourt.
“Consequently, both the Lagos-Port Harcourt (W3 744) and Port Harcourt-Lagos (W3 745) flights had to be cancelled.
“It is crucial to note that by the time of the cancellation, our banking facilities at the airport had ceased operations, rendering funds unfeasible at that moment.
“However, the passengers were promptly briefed on the situation and advised to return the following day for re-protection on available flights”, it stated.
The statement added that on Wednesday, April 3, 2024, all the affected passengers from both Lagos and Port Harcourt were successfully accommodated on available morning and evening flights.

Corlins Walter

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Settlement On Course For Redundancy Benefits – Aero Airline 

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The Aero Contractors Airline has affirmed  its commitment to clear the remaining five per cent of redundancy benefits owed its workers.
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the airline, Captain Ado Sanusi, in a press release said the firm was intensifying efforts to address outstanding financial commitments.
He faulted the move by workers union, the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), to issue a press statement, despite ongoing efforts to resolve the issue amicably.
“This should not be an opportunity for disharmony, dialogue is a process. There was a letter written, there was a process agreed upon, and all of a sudden they went to the press. We are ready to resolve the issue”, the CEO stated.
NAAPE had recently issued a letter threatening to go on a protest over non-payment of outstanding redundancy benefits to its members.
The group accused the management of Aero Contractors of depriving the affected former workers access to their entitled benefits.
The protest letter, addressed to the management of the airline, read in part: “Consequent upon the avalanche of complaints received from our members who have been deprived of their fundamental entitlements and denied the rightful collection of their redundancy benefits in the last seven years and given the anguish and mental agonies suffered by them, We are compelled, as responsible representatives of these eminent men/women, including the dead, to protest through this letter and express our bitterness over management’s seeming lackadaisical attitude, insincerity and insensitivity to the continued wellbeing of these great Nigerians”.
The Aero CEO, however, clarified that in the last seven years, the company has paid approximately 95 per cent of the redundancy benefits.
“We should be given credit because this management initiated the process of paying off redundancy. We want our prospective investors to understand that we are a very responsible company, and we take our obligations seriously, not only for staff but also in other areas.
“We update them on a day-to-day basis to ensure business continuity. It is a very tough environment in which we are operating”, he said.
Sanusi stressed the importance of maintaining transparency and communication with stakeholders throughout the process.
He said despite challenges posed by fluctuating exchange rates and fuel costs, Aero Contractors remained steadfast in its efforts to uphold its obligations and ensure business continuity.

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