The Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, has said that President Muhammadu Buhari is aware and concerned about the hike in the price of gas and is promising action to ameliorate the situation.
He said this while addressing State House correspondents after a meeting with the President in his office where he presented CEOs of two new agencies: the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission (NURC) and the Nigerian Downstream and Midstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) at the statehouse.
President Muhammadu Buhari is currently meeting with the CEOs of two new agencies: the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission (NURC), Farouk Ahmed and the Nigerian Downstream and Midstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA), Gbenga Komolafe at the statehouse.
They were led into the meeting with the President by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva.
Addressing journalists after the meeting, Sylva said the President is aware and concerned about the hike in the price of gas and is promising action to ameliorate the situation.
President Muhammadu Buhari has asked Nigerians to embrace gas as an alternative to fuel in the country.
The President made this call on Tuesday during the unveiling of the National Gas Expansion Programme and National Autogas Roll-out Initiative
“I, therefore, encourage everyone to embrace gas in form of LPG, CNG and LNG as an alternative fuel for autos and other prime-movers,” he said.
“The Minister of State Petroleum Resources is hereby directed to commence the process of hand over of mass transit buses to Organized Labour as part of our government’s pledge to continue providing the support that will ease the transportation challenges Nigerians are facing at this time.”
On his part, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, said the Ministry is focusing on the development of skills, technology and manpower as well as growth in the utilisation of LPG, CNG and LNG.
He said that the National Gas Expansion programme which was initiated this year to boost the utilization of gas in the short and medium-term “is expected to create two million jobs per annum, promote skills acquisition and enhance technology transfer in addition to growing the nation’s GDP.”
The Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kolo Kyari said from 2016 to 2019, the Federal Government had spent over three trillion Naira subsidizing the pump price of petroleum products particularly petrol.
Kyari insisted that the subsidy regime did not benefit the masses that President Buhari is passionate about.
According to the NNPC boss, the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have made it impossible to continue with the onerous subsidy regime.
SEE FULL STATEMENT HERE:
ECONOMY: PRESIDENT BUHARI APPRECIATES NIGERIANS FOR PATIENCE, URGES MORE USE OF GAS AS ALTERNATIVE TO PETROL
President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday in Abuja appreciated Nigerians and Organized Labour for restraint, understanding and patience as the country tackles myriad economic challenges, assuring that the Federal Government is working hard to ameliorate the situation.
Speaking at a virtually held event at the State House to unveil National Gas Expansion Programme and National Autogas Roll-out Initiative, President Buhari said:
“Let me now express my deep appreciation to Nigerians for their patience, and Organized Labour for its maturity and patriotism as we collectively navigate these global economic and other challenges.’’
The President urged Nigerians to embrace the use of gas as an alternative to fuel, noting that:
“It is no longer news that the vast Natural Gas resources, which Nigeria is endowed with have hitherto been used sub-optimally as a result of a dearth of gas processing facilities and infrastructural connectivity for effective and optimal domestic utilization.
“As I mentioned above, with a proven reserve of about 203 Trillion Cubic Feet (TCF) and the additional upside of 600 TCF ranking Nigeria as the 9th in the world currently, the need for domestic gas expansion and utilization is apparent.’’
President Buhari said the deregulation of the downstream sector had exposed many to price volatilities in the global market, urging attention to more affordable alternative for energy, especially with Nigeria’s heavy reserve.
“Therefore, the roll-out of the National Gas Expansion Programme, Auto-gas initiative is coming at the right time, especially in light of global crude oil market fluctuations coupled with the full deregulation of the local PMS market.
“These developments have made it imperative to focus on gas as an alternative fuel to move Nigeria from the conventional dependence on white products for autos and prime-movers of industrial applications to cleaner, more available, accessible and affordable energy source.
“The outcome will not only cushion the effect of the downstream deregulation that this government has to painfully implement, but also create new markets and enormous job opportunities for our people.’’
The President said the auto-gas initiative will lead to increased domestic gas utilization and enrich the trajectory of national economic growth and development, adding: “I, therefore, encourage everyone to embrace gas in form of LPG, CNG and LNG as an alternative fuel for autos and other prime-movers.’’
“The Minister of State Petroleum Resources is hereby directed to commence the process of hand over of mass transit buses to Organized Labour as part of our government’s pledge to continue providing the support that will ease the transportation challenges Nigerians are facing at this time.’’
In his remarks at the event, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Timipre Sylva said the Ministry is focusing on the development of skills, technology and manpower as well as growth in the utilisation of LPG, CNG and LNG.
He added that the National Gas Expansion programme which was initiated this year to boost the utilization of gas in the short and medium-term “is expected to create two million jobs per annum, promote skills acquisition and enhance technology transfer in addition to growing the nation’s GDP.”
The Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mele Kolo Kyari informed that from 2016 to 2019, the Federal Government had spent over three trillion Naira subsidizing the pump price of petroleum products particularly PMS, insisting that the subsidy regime did not benefit the masses that the President is passionate about.
He added that the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have made it impossible to continue with the onerous subsidy regime.
Residents of the Iju-Ishaga area of Lagos were on Thursday afternoon sent into a panic as a rancorous explosion rocked the neighborhood.
What started out as a wet and rather calm day quickly turned into a frenzy at about 3:30 pm when a loaded gas tanker exploded around the Iju Hill axis of Ajuwon road.
Some witnesses say at least one person died in the blast that comes at a moment when the nation is trying to come to terms with a similar carnage that left almost 30 including students, dead in Lokoja.
The incident in Lagos left 16 persons critically injured, while scores of buildings and many cars were destroyed, some beyond repair.
A Damaged Tanker?
Speaking to Channels Television on Thursday at the site of the explosion, LASEMA’s Director of Operations, Engr Olatunde Akinsanya said the 16 injured persons were taken to the Iju Water Works clinic.
Akinsanya revealed that the ill-fated 30 ton LPG tanker which was being operated by Manna Gas Ltd, was supposed to offload its content at a gas station, but the station’s owner reportedly refused to allow him because a seal had been broken, indicating that the content had been tampered with.
Enraged by the refusal of the station manager to offload the content in his tanker, the driver moved out of the premises.
A few meters away from the gas station, the front tire of the tanker burst and the gearbox compartment struck the ground causing a spark that led to an explosion when it came in contact with gas that was leaking from the tanker.
The vehicle ended in a ditch, where a second explosion erupted.
Eyewitnesses told Channels Television that the second explosion sent the tanker flying and destroying buildings in its path, including a church.
The impact of the explosion spread about 300 radii from the scene of the incident, the LASEMA official said.
It was not yet clear at the time of reporting this story whether the driver of the tanker was still alive as he seemed to have sustained third-degree burns.
“I would have died with my children”
Narrating her close shave with death, Mrs. Maduka Lovelyn, a fruit seller said she had just returned from the market and was arranging her wares when the first blast erupted.
Mrs. Maduka and her kids were tending to customers when they saw a thick cloud of smoke rising a few meters from where her stall is situated.
The perturbed mother said she and her children were lucky to have escaped because they fled at the first cry of “fire! fire!” by some other residents who were closer to the blast spot.
“We were scared as we saw the smoke, it was too much,” Mrs. Maduka stressed as she revealed how it took a race through marsh and mud to get her family to safety.
Increasing casualty figures
Earlier in the day, the Lagos State Government had put the casualty figure at 16, however, a post-disaster assessment late on Thursday revealed that the total number of casualties is 30, consisting of 10 adult females and 20 adult males.
LASEMA figures suggest that a total of 23 buildings were destroyed in the blast, while 15 vehicles were left with varying degrees of dents.
Prominent among the buildings destroyed are the X and Y Event Center and the Idera Oluwa Plank Market where 15 shanty shops were engulfed.
A tragedy, one too many
The fires stirred by the explosion have been extinguished and damping down has being carried out, but many questions trailing this incident are yet to be answered.
One such question is what should be done or is being done to ensure that there is no repeat of such an ugly incident, as Nigerians have witnessed such a horror too many times, with some happening in quick successions.
Thursday’s explosion comes just a few hours after 23 persons were killed following a tanker explosion at the Felele axis of Lokoja the Kogi State capital.
The accident occurred after a truck laden with Premium Motor Spirit lost control following a brake failure and rammed into five other oncoming vehicles.
Eyewitnesses say over 50 people may have been killed in the blaze, including some residents who were waiting to board commercial vehicles by the roadside.
Reacting to the explosion, the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, expressed shock and sorrow.
“It is very sad to learn of the tragic loss of lives, many vehicles, property and other valuables in the petrol tanker fire,” he said.
Two-day mourning was declared in honour of the victims of the tanker explosion, but the masses ask for more to be done.
As with several incidents of this nature, many become emotional, sometimes tempers run wild and people blame the government.
Often, promises are made with assurances that the root causes of these accidents will be looked into, and the people can only hope that in no distant time, words will be matched with action, to ensure that such disasters are averted.
According to the general manager of the Lagos state emergency management agency, LASEMA, Femi Osanyintolu there was a leakage from the gas cylinder before the explosion which also affected several shops and homes.
A British judge on Friday gave the green light for a private firm to seize more than $9 billion in assets from the Nigerian government over a failed natural gas deal.
The Process and Industrial Developments Limited (P&ID) company — widely reported to be registered in the British Virgin Islands — was founded by two Irish business partners for the purpose of executing the 2010 deal with the Federal government.
The 20-year agreement would see P&ID “build a state-of-the-art gas processing plant to refine natural gas… (which) Nigeria would receive free of charge to power its national electric grid,” according to the P&ID website.
The company intended to sell the byproducts from the process on the global market for “profits in the billions of dollars,” P&ID said.
London court documents released on Friday suggest that the arrangement fell through in 2012.
An arbitration tribunal in England awarded the firm $6.6 billion (5.9 billion euros) in damages in January 2017.
P&ID said accrued interest had pushed that amount to more than $9 billion — about one-fifth of Nigeria’s declared foreign reserves of $45 billion.
The Nigerian government’s legal team argued that English courts did not have the jurisdiction to settle the dispute.
It added that the settlement was “manifestly excessive and penal,” according to court documents.
But Justice Christopher Butcher of the Commercial Court in London ruled on Friday that he was “prepared to make an order enforcing the final award”.
“I will receive submissions from the parties as to the precise form of order appropriate,” the justice wrote in his conclusion.
A lawyer representing P&ID told AFP that the firm intended to “begin the process of seizing Nigerian assets in order to satisfy this award as soon as possible,” the Bloomberg news agency reported.
Reacting to the British Court’s order, the Federal Government it would appeal.
The Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, Dayo Apata, said that the government has instructed its lawyers to appeal, adding that vigorous efforts to defend the nation’s interest in this matter, have been made.
Mr Apata further stated that the Federal Government would not relent in exploring every viable option in defending its interests.
At least three people were killed and another 79 people were unaccounted for after a gas explosion rocked a residential building in Russia’s Urals city of Magnitogorsk on Monday, a senior official said.
An entire section of the 12-storey residential building collapsed when a gas explosion tore through the high-rise in the industrial city of Magnitogorsk nearly 1,700 kilometers (1,050 miles) east of Moscow in the Ural mountains.
“Three people have been pulled alive from the rubble and three are dead,” Boris Dubrovsky, governor of the Chelyabinsk region where the city is located, said in a statement.
Officials said that the fate of 79 people was unclear, with police working to locate their whereabouts.
National television broadcast footage of the mangled heaps of concrete as hundreds of rescue workers combed the debris in temperatures of minus 18 Celsius (minus 0.4 F).
In a sign of the seriousness of the situation, President Vladimir Putin ordered emergencies minister Yevgeny Zinichev and health minister Veronika Skvortsova to travel to Magnitogorsk to personally oversee the rescue operation.
The Soviet-era high-rise was built in 1973 and was home to around 1,100 people. The residents have been evacuated.
A total of 110 people were registered as residents of the affected section of the building, regional authorities said. Sixteen of them have been evacuated, and another 15 were not home at the time of the blast.
Deadly gas explosions are relatively common in Russia where much of the infrastructure dates back to the Soviet era and safety requirements are often ignored
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Monday marked the completion of the offshore phase of a gas pipeline underneath the Black Sea, the latest sign of burgeoning cooperation between Ankara and Moscow.
Erdogan hailed the TurkStream pipeline, which aims to pump some 31.1 billion cubic meters of gas from Russia to Turkey annually, as a “new step” in Turkish-Russian energy cooperation, which he said showed the “high level” of relations between the two countries.
Ties between Russia and Turkey plunged to their lowest level in years in November 2015 when Turkish forces shot down a Russian warplane over Syria.
But after a reconciliation deal in 2016, relations have recovered with the remarkable speed with Putin and Erdogan cooperating closely over Syria, Turkey buying Russian-made air defence systems and Russia building Turkey’s first nuclear power plant.
Monday’s ceremony marked the completion of the building of two undersea lines stretching 930 kilometers (578 miles) across the Black Sea from Anapa in Russia to Kiyikoy in Turkey at a depth of some 2 kilometers (6,500 feet).
The pipeline was laid by the special pipe-laying vessel Pioneering Spirit, which is the area of some six football pitches. Putin and Erdogan watched via video link in Istanbul as the last section were welded and laid into the sea by the vessel.
Putin said he believed TurkStream and the Akkuyu nuclear power station would become “clear symbols of the growing development of Russia and Turkey’s multi-faceted partnership.”
“This (TurkStream) will, without doubt, turn Turkey into a serious European hub and this will, without doubt, have an effect on the geopolitical position of the Turkish Republic,” he added.
‘Political will and courage’
The onshore section of the pipeline in Turkey still needs to be built and TurkStream expects the gas to start being pumped at the end of 2019.
The aim is that half of the gas pumped through the pipeline will go to ensure the energy needs of western Turkish cities like Istanbul, Bursa and Izmir and the other half sent on to other European countries.
Despite in theory being on opposite sides of the Syrian civil war, regime backer Russia and rebel supporter Turkey have worked closely to end the conflict and stave off a government assault to re-take the key region of Idlib.
Meanwhile, Ankara and Moscow have agreed on terms on the delivery of S-400 missiles in a deal that had alarmed NATO member Turkey’s Western allies.
“We have never determined our bilateral relations with Russia according to demands or pressure from other countries,” Erdogan said to loud applause.
Putin meanwhile personally praised Erdogan, saying the TurkStream project could not have been released without the Turkish president.
“Such a project needs political will and courage. Because in the circumstances of growing competition such projects cannot be without this,” he said.
Both leaders also reaffirmed their goal to lift annual bilateral trade volumes to $100 billion, which Putin said was the same as between Russia and China.
“Why should it be less with Turkey? We will achieve this result. I don’t even doubt this,” said Putin.
At least three people were killed and dozens injured after a tanker truck carrying natural gas caught fire in Ghana’s capital, Accra, triggering explosions at two fuel stations, emergency services said on Sunday.
Ghana National Fire Service spokesman, Billy Angalate, said two of the victims died at the scene of the incident in the Legon area of the city on Saturday night, and the third in hospital.
“In all, 35 people were affected. Out of the 35, three of them died, the rest are at the hospital. Five them, as at 1:00 am (0100 GMT), were sent to the intensive care unit,” he told AFP.
The fire and explosions, which gutted a liquefied gas filling station and a nearby petrol station, sent local residents running from their homes.
Ghana’s capital was the scene of a similar fire and explosion at a petrol station in June 2015 which killed more than 150.
Angalate said one of the dead on Saturday died after jumping from a flyover at the busy Atomic Junction roundabout, where there are three fuel stations, transport services and restaurants.
It is also near a high school and the University of Ghana campus.
The country’s deputy minister of information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, said the government deployed about 12 fire trucks and 200 police personnel to cordon off the scene and manage traffic.
“A lot of people quickly rushed away, which is what saved a lot of lives but also caused a lot of panic,” he added.
The latest incident sparked outrage among some Ghanaians on social media about the safety of filling stations, many of which are located near schools, hospitals and businesses.
A petition was created addressed to President Nana Akufo-Addo, demanding better regulation and inspection of existing and proposed facilities.
They include siting them at least 50 metres from homes and 100 metres from schools and hospitals.
Abena Awuku, a Ghanaian living in the Netherlands, proposed the measures on the change.org site, saying fuel stations were “all disasters waiting to happen and the time to act is now”.
“There was a similar incident two years ago and we were fed lies and empty promises about regulations going to be put in place but then we had to witness this,” she told AFP later.
“These deaths could have easily been prevented, so let’s prevent them from ever occurring again in the future.”
Nigeria’s Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has restated the need for African leaders to come up with reforms that will ensure development in the oil and gas sector.
Professor Osinbajo expressed confidence that such reforms would go a long way in cushioning the losses incurred as a result of the fall in the price of oil.
He said this on Monday at the opening ceremony of the extra ordinary session of the Council of Ministers of African Petroleum Producers in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
The Acting President, however, noted that the reforms must be targeted at improving oil production which is at its lowest point in recent times.
He said that the volatility in the global oil market has affected the economies of various oil producing countries which consequently led to a devaluation of currencies.
Professor Osinbajo also decried the fall in oil prices in the last three years and its detrimental influence on the international and domestic market, reiterating that it must be addressed by reforming the sector to withstand any shocks that may arise in the near future.
On their parts, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachiwu; and the Executive Secretary of African Petroleum Producers Organisation, Mahaman Gaya, recommended the adoption of technology for optimal performance in the sector.
They also explained how to resolve the lack of access to modern energy assets which they said has led to the use of traditional energy resources such as kerosene by a majority of the African population.
The event was convened to accelerate development in the sector through the sharing of best international practices among oil producing countries in Africa.
Observers at the gathering, however, stressed the need for the continent to develop other sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing for diversification of income generation.
The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, says no laws have been breached by the ministry in the process of engaging pre-shipment inspection agents and monitoring and evaluation agents for oil and gas exports from Nigeria.
The minister said this while appearing before the House of Representatives Committee on Public Procurement which is investigating allegations of abuse, breach and violation of the public procurement act in the process of engaging the consultants.
The minister disagreed with the lawmakers who told her that the Nigeria Export supervision scheme under which the agents are being engaged requires budgetary approval from the national assembly.