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Covid-19 Increased Global Debt By $24trn – OPEC Scribe

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The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) says the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic increased global debt by $24 trillion, taking it to $281 trillion during the crisis.
Speaking at the 135th meeting of the Economic Commission Board (ECB) of OPEC, the cartel’s Secretary-General, Dr. Sanusi Barkindo, urged member countries to be wary of the inflationary effect of their borrowings as the $24 trillion is more than the United States annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Barkindo spoke just as the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) may, again, run into troubled waters this month as Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo) yesterday opposed the passage of the proposed legislation in its present state, seeking a review of its provisions on the gas sector.
Barkindo also reiterated his earlier position that oil demand will hit pre-pandemic levels by the fourth quarter of 2021 to exceed 99 million barrels per day.
The meeting of the ECB, the organisation’s statutory economic think-tank, which meets in advance of the ordinary meetings of the OPEC conference, focused on reviewing the conditions of the global oil market, emerging trends related to the oil industry, including demand, supply and stock movements, as well as the recovery prospects for the world economy.
Barkindo highlighted the contributions of the Declaration of Cooperation (DoC) of participating countries, which continue to support the global oil market through voluntary production adjustments in the interest of market stability.
On OPEC forecast for demand recovery, Barkindo stated that the market optimism was a reaction to the more than 2.4 billion vaccine doses that have now been administered globally.
Also, there are signs that the international community is ramping up its support to developing countries to help bolster their acquisition of life-saving vaccines.
He said these efforts were drawing the world closer to bringing the pandemic under control, and thereby helping accelerate the global economic recovery, as the latest market developments point to much better conditions and improved prospects.
On market fundamentals, Barkindo stated that in terms of the global economy, the GDP growth forecast has risen from 4.4 per cent in November 2020 to 5.5 per cent in June 2021.
He added that an upward momentum into the second half of the year is being expected.
He restated his earlier forecast that China and the US will see the lion’s share of growth in 2021, with China’s economy expanding by 8.5 per cent and the US by 6.4 per cent.
According to him, India, despite having to confront a devastating second-wave of COVID-19 infections is still forecast to achieve a growth of 9.5 per cent.
He said: “The forecast for world oil demand has decreased from 6.2 mb/d in November 2020 to 6 mb/d in June 2021. The outlook for later this year looks especially promising with demand slated to exceed 99 mb/d in the fourth quarter. This prospect would bring us back close to pre-pandemic levels.”

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Ex-Lawmaker Volunteers For Petroleum Sector Deregulation 

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An ex-lawmaker, Sen. Ben Murray Bruce, has announced that he is willing to serve as a volunteer in deregulating the country’s petroleum sector.
This follows the ex-lawmaker’s faulting of Nigeria losing over N5trilion annually as a result of fuel subsidy.
Bruce, who represented Bayelsa East Senatorial District in the 8th Senate, on his verified Twitter handle, decried what he described as ignorance and ineptitude of government agencies responsible for fuel subsidy.
“We cannot keep losing five trillion naira annually. I am able and willing, and I volunteer myself to lead the team to deregulate our petroleum sector.
“I will execute this flawlessly such that no Nigerian will be on the street protesting.
“The ineptitude and ignorance of the government agencies responsible for this are mind-boggling,” Bruce tweeted.

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Stakeholders Urge FG To Shift From Fossil Fuel

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Stakeholders in the extractive industry have said that as a fossil fuel dependent country, Nigeria must develop its own strategy to engage in shifting global focus away from oil.
This was the conversation at a recent one day capacity building workshop for media and Civil Society Organisations in Nigeria, organised by the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development, through its Natural Resource and Extractive Programme, in partnership with Natural Resource Governance Institute.
The hybrid workshop, themed, “Oil Dependency in Nigeria: Imagining a Future Beyond Oil”, had over 50 participants, including journalists from the extractive sector, CSOs, and social media influencers in attendance.
The workshop, according to the organisers, was geared towards improving the understanding of oil dependency and the nexus with energy transition to better communicate the impact on Nigeria and the Nigerian economy.
Senior Officer, NRGI, Ms. Tengi George-Ikoli, explained that Nigeria was at a critical point in its development, hence as a fossil fuel-dependent country, it is important that Nigeria develops its own strategy to engage the shifting global focus away from oil.
“Nigeria must develop its own medium to long term strategy to mitigate the likely export and government revenue losses from a shrinking market base as these countries look to reducing oil reliance beyond 2030.
“Nigeria must make strategic decisions in the way it spends its limited revenues, take economic diversification more seriously, leveraging regional and global opportunities beyond oil, and including new frontier possibilities available in the green economy”, she said.
Also, Deputy Director, Development Practice, CJID, Mr. Akintunde Babatunde, said as energy transition persists globally, Nigeria as a monolithic fossil fuel dependent economy has to prepare for what the shift to cleaner energy sources means for its economy.
“Data is pointing us to the fact that Nigeria will likely lose a majority of its foreign exchange earnings and revenues for both the federal and subnational government.
“In fact, it is already happening, because Nigeria is at a critical point in its development process, it is important for professionals to discuss the way forward on how the decisions we make as a country are more important now than ever”, he said.
Earlier, the Acting Executive Director at CJID, Tobi Oluwatola, harped on the need for capacity building for the media and CSOs, noting that they are in the best position to enlighten the public from an informed perspective.
“It is time for Civil Society Organisations, journalists, and policy experts to have this discussion, most especially as Nigeria plans to achieve net zero by 2060. There is a need for CSOs to be empowered with the right skills to be able to do the right advocacy and accountability work in Nigeria”, he stated.

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Nigeria To Construct Gas Pipeline To Europe Through Morocco

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Nigeria has given the state-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPC) the greenlight to implement a deal on construction of a gas pipeline to Europe through Morocco.
This follows reports of surging demand for African energy supplies from the EU that is seeking to wean itself of dependence on Russian oil and gas.
“This gas pipeline is to take gas to 15 West African countries and to Europe and through Morocco to Spain and others,” said the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva.
“It is only after the engineering design of the pipeline has been made that we will know exactly (what) the cost of the pipeline will be. When that time comes, we will be talking about funding,” he added.
Nigeria is a member of the Opec group of major oil producers and has huge gas reserves – the largest proven reserves in Africa and the seventh largest globally.
On May 30, Tanzania transported 60,000 tonnes of coal to the Netherlands.
Last month, Botswana’s President, Mokgweetsi Masisi, said European nations had “flooded” his country with requests to supply coal.

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