Oil & Energy
Atiku Reiterates Call For Privatisation Of NNPC, Refineries
A former Vice President of Nigeria, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has again called on the Federal Government to sell off the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and its refineries.
Abubakar repeated the call as part of his recommendations for defusing Nigeria’s high unemployment time bomb.
His statement was in reaction to a report from Bloomberg Business on Saturday that Nigeria will soon have the highest unemployment rate on Earth, with an over 33 percent rate.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) had said Nigeria’s unemployment rate rose to 33.3 per cent in the final quarter of last year, indicating that 23.2 million or one in three working age Nigerians have no jobs or trade. This is the highest unemployment rate in Nigeria in at least 13 years and the second-highest in the world.
In his statement yesterday, Atiku said the Bloomberg report had proven him right on the state of the economy.
“I have never felt so bad at being proven right, as I am by the report from Bloomberg Business on Saturday, March 27, 2021 that Nigeria is to emerge as the nation with the highest unemployment rate on Earth, at just over 33%.
“We warned about this, but repeated warnings by myself and other patriots were scorned. And now this.
“How did Nigeria get here? We got here by abandoning the people-centred leadership and free trade and deregulatory policies of the Obasanjo years (which saw us maintain an almost single digit unemployment rate), and implementing discredited command and control policies that have led to massive capital flight from Nigeria.
“And even with the paucity of funds, we continue to ramp up government involvement in sectors that ought to be left to the private sector, with the latest being the ill advised $1.5 billion so called rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt Refinery that has failed to turn a profit for years.”
According to him, the government must realise that the insecurity Nigeria is facing is the result of youth unemployment.
“Idleness is the worst feature of unemployment because it channels the energy of our youth away from production, and towards destruction, and that is why Nigeria is now the third most terrorised nation on Earth,” he said.
The Peoples Democratic Party leader suggested that a stipend should be given to every family monthly to cater for academic needs of their wards.
“In 2020, I recommended that to immediately and drastically bring down youth unemployment, every family in Nigeria with at least one school age child, and earning less than $800 per annum should receive a monthly stipend of 5000 Naira from the government via their BVN and NIN on the condition that they verifiably keep their children in school.
“My recommendation still stands, and stands even stronger now that we have crossed the rubicon in youth unemployment.
“If we can get the 13.5 million out of school Nigerian children into school, we will turn the corner in one generation. If we do not do this, then the floodgates of unemployment will be further opened next year, and in the years to come.”
Oil & Energy
Agency Conducts Mega Mineral Clinic In FCT
The Nigerian Geological Survey Agency (NGSA) has concluded its mega mineral clinic to ensure that goals scored in area of geosciences data generation are digested by investors.
Director-General of the agency, Dr Abdulrazaq Garba, said this on Saturday in Abuja, at an occasion of its Mineral Promotion, Sensitisation and Dissemination (Mineral clinic), organised by the agency.
Garba said the aim of the clinic was to encourage Nigerians to take advantage of the investment opportunities offered by the geosciences data generation.
He said the programme was a milestone of the agency’s commitment to mineral promotion, sensitisation, and dissemination, which are in line with the present administration’s agenda.
He said the NGSA would go the extra mile to ensure that geoscience information on Nigeria’s mineral resources is disseminated to the public for investment purposes.
He stated further that more wealth and jobs can be created if investors take advantage of the data.
According to him, the aim of the mineral clinics is to expose investors, academia, students and stakeholders, through sensitisation and dissemination of geoscientific information on various solid mineral deposits in the country as well as respond to inquiries from the public.
“The mineral clinic is like an Open Day. In our effort to make available geosciences on a continuous basis, we will present three recent publications to the public.
“These publications are Phosphate Resources of Nigeria, Evaluation of Brine along the Benue Trough and Assessment of graphite occurrences in Saulawa Village, Birnin Gwari, Kaduna State, Northwest,” he said.
The Director-General said the agency would be more fulfilled, when people deployed the generated geosciences data available for economic transformation of the country.
He said one of the agency’s mandate was to generate geoscience data for wealth creation and national development.
“To achieve this, the over 100-year-old exploration agency stepped up exploration and assessment of projects in greenfield and brownfield, using a unified sampling and data capturing system in line with international best practices.
“The data generated by the NGSA prompted the agency to re-organise the Mineral Clinic in six geopolitical zones, which was a huge success.
“In the zones, over 400 potential investors attended the mineral clinic and over 100 samples of rocks and minerals were tested with Hand-Held XRF free of charge.
Oil & Energy
Presidential Panel Wants Stiffer Penalties For Crude Oil Thieves
The Federal Government’s Special Investigative Panel on Oil Theft/Losses has called for deliberate conversations to drive legal reforms that would provide stiffer penalties to culpable entities involved in oil theft.
Chairman of the Panel, retired Maj.-Gen. Barry Ndiomu, made the call in his address of welcome recently at a One-Day Stakeholders Conference on Oil Theft/Losses in Abuja.
Under the theme, “Protecting Petroleum Industry Assets for Improved Economy”, Ndiomu said frank discussions must be held to enable the country “crack the code” and put an end to the criminal enterprise of oil theft.
Ndiomu, who is also the Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), expressed regret that the menace of oil theft has had enormous negative impact on Nigeria’s crude oil production, plunging output to a 13-year low of 800,000bpd.
He reiterated that strategic consultations have been held with state governments of the Niger Delta Region and other critical stakeholders to that effect.
“On the side of the law enforcement and security agencies, visits were made to the Chief of Army and Navel Staff, to the DG-DSS, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, the EFCC, among others.
“These engagements availed us information on the challenges their respective organisations faced in securing our nation’s oil assets and combating oil theft.
“These efforts provided us new knowledge and elicited honest discussion amongst Panel Members that led to some obvious conclusion signifying that theft and lose of crude oil stemmed from the twin issues of complicity and negligence,’’ Ndiomu said.
He further explained that the emergent picture suggests the existence of a sophisticated network of complicity between elements from the host communities, security agencies and industry players.
He added that they include both government and private institutions alike, as well as international collaborators.
“The conception of this conference is part of the panel’s strategy to obtain additional inputs, information and data on the subject matter. Today’s event therefore aims at consolidating on what has been achieved so far”, Ndiomu said.
The Chairman, however, advocated for application of modern technologies to protect oil assets and a review of security architecture in the region.
“This should be done with a view to stem the sophisticated network of complicity between elements from the host communities, security agencies and industry players”.
The Tide’s source reports that the event attracted officials from the Presidency, National Assembly, traditional rulers from oil communities, security, military and paramilitary, as well as other stakeholders from the oil and gas sector.
Oil & Energy
Iraq Announces Deals To Boost Oil And Gas Output
Iraq has been saying it wants to produce more oil and gas for a while now but turning stated ambitions into reality has taken a while.
This week, the country took a big step towards that reality when it signed a slew of deals with foreign companies as part of plans to boost both crude oil and natural gas production considerably.
Gas production growth appears to be especially important because right now, Iraq is heavily reliant on neighbor Iran for its gas needs, which puts it into a vulnerable position.
The government in Baghdad inked deals with one Emirati company and two Chinese ones, aiming for oil production growth of a quarter of a million barrels daily and additional natural gas output of 800 million cu ft daily.
Iraq is OPEC’s second-largest oil producer, pumping 4.5 million barrels every day. In previous years government officials had said production capacity could grow to 5 million bpd and even 6 million bpd but little has been done to advance these plans.
The reasons for that slow progress include the politically unstable situation in the country, the dynamics of the oil industry that has seen companies prioritize low-cost, fast-return projects after the last two downturns, and predictions of peak oil demand.
Several oil majors, including Exxon, left Iraq altogether in the past few years, citing the uncertain outlook for its oil industry. Yet successive governments did not give up their plans for greater oil production despite the OPEC+ output quotas, and significantly higher natural gas production.
One of the companies that will be helping Iraq advance these plans is UAE-based Crescent Petroleum. The firm signed three long-term contracts for the exploration and development of three oil and gas fields.
Two of these fields—Gilabat-Qumar and Khashim, in the province of Dyala—are expected to begin producing natural gas within 18 months at a rate of 250 million cu ft daily, Crescent Petroleum said. The third field that Crescent Petroleum will explore is in the province of Basra.
The second of Baghdad’s new oil and gas development partners, Chinese United Energy Group inked a deal with the government to develop the Sindbad oil field, also in Basra.
The third company that signed a deal with the Iraqi government was also Chinese, Geo-Jade Petroleum Co. It will develop the Huwaiza oil field and the Naft Khana field, both near the Iranian border, Reuters noted in a report on the news.
All the contracts signed this week have a duration of 20 years and should help boost Iraq’s energy security in the natural gas department, reducing its bill for gas imports from Iran at a time when its economy is struggling to remain operational.
As a result of the deals signed this week, Iraq could suspend natural gas imports in three years, according to Prime Minister Mohammed Al-Sudani. Commenting on the deals, Al-Sudani said gas imports from Iran are costing the Baghdad budget between $5.5 and $6.8 billion a year, Zawya reported.
“We have decided to enter the global gas market and we will push ahead with projects to develop our gas resources and stop gas flaring because shortages in domestic gas supply are the main cause of our electricity supply problems,” Al-Sudani said.
To further these plans, Iraq will also launch tenders for exploration blocks in the northern, western and central parts of the country in the near future, Oil Minister Hayan Abdel-Ghanisaid this week.
Oil output should also grow. According to the IMF, this year, Iraq could produce 4.6 million bpd, up from 4.4 million bpd last year, The National reported. By 2027, oil production could reach 5 million bpd, the IMF also forecast. Perhaps Iraq’s oil and gas ambitions finally have a chance of panning out.
Kennedy reports for Oilprice.com
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