Shell Relocates Gas Pipeline Across Kolo Creek Underneath River

Shell Relocates Gas Pipeline Across Kolo Creek Underneath RiverThe Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) has relocated its Kolo Creek-Soku gas pipeline across Kolo River in Bayelsa from the river surface to the river bed.

A visit to the Kolo Creek Oilfield operated by SPDC shows that the gas pipeline is no longer located on the water surface across the creek.

Oil workers were seen refilling dug out sand from the creek.

SPDC had in October 2016 passed the gas pipeline above the surface of the Kolo River, hampering navigation by fishing canoes, transport boats amongst others in the channel.

The development had triggered resistance amongst environmentalists and residents affected by the blockade which compelled SPDC to remove the pipeline from the water surface and buried it under the riverbed.

Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), had in its advocacy urged SPDC to bury the pipeline to protect the economic interest of residents who used the creek as transport channel and fishing activities.

Reacting to the development, Head of Field Operations at ERA/FoEN,  Mr Alagoa Morris, noted that it was a welcome development and applauded SPDC for taking steps to correct the anomaly.

“It is a positive outcome of our advocacy efforts and we commend SPDC for taking steps to come back to bury the pipeline under the river bed, it shows that we are partners to ensure that the oil industry is run in a sustainable manner.

“We always demand justice and fair play and preach the principle of ‘live and let live’, with the pipeline underneath the Kolo River, fishermen and community people who use the creek will operate while Shell carries on its business as well.

“We in the environmental rights movement are keen on complimenting and strengthening the efforts of the regulatory authorities. We are not trouble makers as some of the industry operators perceive us, we do not shout for nothing.

“When they do well we applaud and commend them, and this is a win-win situation for Shell and its host community. This action makes further protests which we planned unnecessary,” Morris said.

Also, an Environmental Scientist and development worker at Connected Development (CODE), Ms Benita Siloko, noted that she was worried about the adverse impact of crossing the pipeline on water surface when she noticed the pipeline in December 2016 during the Christmas holidays.

“I had observed the pipeline across the water surface and opted to take photographs because it looked abnormal for a channel where boats and canoes pass, I am pleasantly surprised that they have corrected the problem.

“Oil firms must understand that the welfare and economic interest of oil bearing communities count while executing their projects.

“As an environmentalist I feel happy at the development, and it shows that with the support provided by the civil society advocacy groups like ERA/FoEN our communities would be a better place to live in,” Siloko said.

Nigeria’s Oil Production Shows Further Strain

Oil ProductionNigeria’s oil production showed further signs of strain on Thursday as intruders blocked access to Exxon Mobil’s terminal exporting in Qua Iboe, the country’s largest crude stream.

Exxon Mobil said that the terminal continued to operate even as the intruders blocked staff from gaining access from early morning hours.

The incident is the latest in a string of attacks and other problems at the oil infrastructure in Africa’s largest crude producer.

Militant activity in the oil-rich Niger Delta has taken out some 500,000 barrels per day of crude oil production from other companies in Nigeria, pushing oil output in Africa’s largest-producing nation to more than 22-year lows.

Nigeria’s Oil Output Down By 40% Due To Pipeline Vandalism

Pipeline-vandalismNigeria’s oil production has fallen by almost 40 percent to 1.4 million barrels a day due to militant attacks on facilities in the Delta region, its oil minister said on Monday.

Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu’s comments come amid a resurgence of militancy in the southern region which produces most of the crude oil that Nigeria relies on for around 70 percent of national income, and days after Britain’s foreign minister said local grievances need to be addressed.

Kachikwu said efforts would be made to engage with people in the area.

Nigerian oil output has been driven lower after attacks by a group calling itself the Niger Delta Avengers which says it wants a greater share of oil profits and independence for the swampy region where residents have long complained of poverty.

Attacks in the last few weeks have hit platforms belonging to Chevron and Shell.

“Because of the incessant attacks and disruption of production in the Niger Delta, as I talk to you now, we are now producing about 1.4 million barrels per day,” Kachikwu told the House of Representatives.

“We were at 2.2 million bpd but we have lost 800,000 barrels,” said Kachikwu, who was invited to address the lower house of parliament about the country’s oil sector.

The 2016 budget assumes oil production of 2.2 million barrels per day at $38 a barrel.

Nigeria has moved in army reinforcements to hunt the militants but British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond on Saturday said the government needed to the deal with the root causes of the conflict because a military confrontation could end in “disaster”.

Kachikwu echoed these sentiments when he told parliamentarians experience had shown that force alone tends not to solve problems.

“There are going to be robust engagements on what could have happened to the contract or relationship that used to exist between the Niger Delta and the Nigerian police that has suddenly resorted to sabotage,” said Kachikwu.

President Muhammadu Buhari has extended a multi-million dollar amnesty signed with militants in 2009 but upset them by ending generous pipeline protection contracts.

“We are trying to look at the amnesty and what has happened. Policing is key, security is key and throwing economic palliative to those sectors are also key,” added Kachikwu.

He said the government was “trying to create funding mechanisms for some private investments including funding mechanisms for some modular refineries” and “actually getting them involved in the security of the facilities”.

Nigeria Faces Likely Oil Output Drop As Exxon Suspends Exports

Gas-flaring_Niger-delta_NigeriaU.S. oil major, Exxon Mobil Corp, says it has suspended exports from Nigeria’s top crude stream.

The suspension has added to economic strains from renewed activities of militants in the Niger Delta region that have cut production to its lowest in decades.

Reuters quoted Exxon Mobil as saying on Friday that it had declared a force majeure – a suspension of deliveries because of events beyond its control – on Nigeria’s Qua Iboe crude oil grade BFO-QUA, and that a portion of production had been curtailed after a drilling rig damaged a pipeline.

Last week, Chevron’s platform in the Delta was attacked by militants.

The outages adds to production problems at two of the other largest crude streams, Bonny Light and Forcados, which have already taken Nigeria’s output to a 22-year low.

Royal Dutch Shell shut a major pipeline earlier this week and declared force majeure on Bonny Light crude exports on Wednesday, while an attack in February on a pipeline also caused it to shut the 250,000 barrels per day Forcados export terminal.

Nigeria’s oil production has fallen to 1.65 million barrels per day (bpd) due to militant attacks, Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun, said on Friday, from 2.2 million bpd.

According to Reuters calculations, if outages at Qua Iboe and other streams are prolonged, Nigerian output could fall to around 1.2 million bpd.

This would be the lowest output since 1970, according to BP’s statistical review.

Nigeria had been Africa’s largest crude exporter with its economy heavily reliant on oil up until this year, when rampant oil theft and corruption has kept production well below capacity.

As a result, Angola has overtaken Nigeria as the continent’s largest producer since March, according to OPEC figures.

Nigeria Has Over 200 Years Of Gas – Omotowa

Natural GasThe Managing Director, Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), Babs Omotowa, believes gas is the future of Nigeria and has emphasized the need for authorities to put more effort into developing the gas industry.

Mr Omotowa was on Channels Television’s Business Morning on Friday where he spoke about the business of liquefied natural gas and issues in Nigeria’s gas industry.

He admitted that indeed the crash in oil price has had a huge impact on gas prices because 70% of gas price is linked to brent and the implication is that when brent goes down, gas price goes down as well.

However, he noted that gas remains the future for Nigeria.

“Nigeria is in the top ten gas reserves in the world. There is no doubt that most energy experts will tell you that Nigeria is actually more a gas province. I think we still have over 200 years of gas available in Nigeria.

“Remember we have 180 tcf of gas today. Most of that were found by accident. We were looking for oil, we suddenly found gas. We haven’t really gone out aggressively to look for gas and that’s one of the areas we need to focus on as a country.

“How do we incentivise to bring the investments that are required to build this infrastructure?

“We need foreign and local investors to come up with this sort of investment and as a country we need to spend more time thinking about how we can bring in investment to grow the gas industry because gas really is the future, oil was our past.

“Gas can give us not only liquefied gas or domestic power but petrochemicals which gives you a lot of manufacturing capabilities.

He put the potential revenue from the gas industry at about three billion US dollars annually.

While stating that government has to look at incentives to encourage investors, he asked legislators to also look carefully into laws governing the sector and warned against frivolities that could become burdens to investors.

Issues In Nigeria’s Gas Industry

Speaking about the issues that have come up in the gas industry, Mr Omotowa said that they were being addressed as positive results are already being seen.

He highlighted the issues of regulatory uncertainties with the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), under-funding of the industry, infrastructure, security of facilities and long contract approval processes.

“I think in fairness with the current administration since President Buhari has been on seat and the Minister of State for Petroleum, a lot of effort has gone into trying to address these issues.

Mr Omotowa also debunked the belief that the pricing for gas does not favour the company when it has to supply domestically as stiff pricing makes local purchasing hard to come by, so rather it focuses more on exporting it.

He noted that the pricing for gas domestically is “at the right levels” considering the price of domestic gas in the US is lower than the price in Nigeria.

He explained, “Our problem is not the price but that this industry is faced with expenses and costs that are simply not comparative.

“When you think about what we have to spend on security, community development and regulatory government agencies trying to impose so much taxes and fees on us, it just raises the cost up and once these prices are raised up by all these input cost, then the price has to be high.”

Gas Master Plan

Mr Omotowa also explained the different aspects of the proposed Gas Master Plan which was expected to help create a much better business environment in the gas indutry.

First was the area of appropriate gas pricing which he believes has seen progress, as gas price has moved up significantly.

“You had aspects that had to do with trying to have domestic gas obligations for upstream companies. I think we’ve seen progress because I think we are producing a lot more gas to domestic now than we used to before.

“There are aspects to do with increasing the export activities with Brass LNG, OK LNG, and Train 7. I think we are a bit slow on that aspect.

“There have also been aspects to do with building petrochemical plants. Again, we haven’t made much progress in that front.

“So in totality, when you look at the gas master plan, I think in many areas there have been progress and in some areas I think we are still behind but it’s not to be unexpected, because it’s not a plan that was to be completed in a year.

“However, I think we are on the right track, I think with this current administration; the President, the Minister of State for Petroleum, we are really seeing much effort in the right direction.”

Nigerian Government Recieves $42bn From Shell In Five Years

ShellShell petroleum Development Company of Nigeria says the sum of 42 billion US dollars was paid to the federal government as economic contribution to the joint venture partners from 2011 to 2015.

In its sustainability report 2015 released on Monday, the oil giant noted that government also received 4.95 billion dollars in 2015 as production entitlement, taxes, royalties and fees.

Meanwhile, the Bayelsa State government has sealed the Gbaran Ubie Oil and Gas production facility owned by Royal Dutch Shell on court orders.

A statement issued by the Executive Secretary of the state’s Physical Planning and Development Board, Boro Ige-Edaba, said that this is to enable the board to conduct environmental, health, technical integrity and safety checks at the facility.

Buhari Sends Judge On Retirement For Misconduct

BuhariPresident Muhammadu Buhari has approved the compulsory retirement from office of Hon. Justice Lambo Akanbi of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt.

The judge was sent on compulsory Retirement with immediate effect after the National Judicial council (NJC) suspended him and recommended his retirement to the President for misconduct.

In a press statement, the Acting Director of the NJC, Mr Soji Oye, said the NJC made the recommendation to the President after its 74th meeting held on the November 4 and 5.

Shell Petroleum Company of Nigeria had made several allegations against Justice Lambo which were contained in a petition sent to the NJC.

The allegations include, the unilateral appointment of one Mr Emeka Nkwo as a referee and valuer in about three suits despite not been proposed by parties in the suit.

The judge also heard and concluded a case without dealing with a notice of preliminary objection on the jurisdiction of his court.

Justice Akanbi also sat on a case in the Federal High Court Yenagoa without the fiat of the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court who had already transferred a new judge to the state.

Shell Asks Ship Owners To Sign Letter Of Comfort

Shell-petroleumShip owners exporting Nigerian oil would have to sign a “Letter of Comfort” (LOC) to guarantee it is not stolen.

This is according to Royal Dutch Shell.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) had in July, banned more than 100 tankers from Nigeria’s waters, citing a directive from President Muhammadu Buhari who wants to trace and recover sums of money allegedly stolen from the oil sector.

In September, the NNPC lifted the ban but asked ship owners to sign a Letter of Comfort to “Guarantee to Indemnify” against any illicit use of their vessel. This led some owners to reject pending bookings.

According to a statement by Shell, the company is putting its reputation on the table that warrants the cargo is not stolen and this should remove any concern ship owners have around bad title down the oil chain.

Traders say oil companies, trading houses and tanker owners were ensuring that actions taken by Nigeria to prevent oil theft did not affect the market

Imo Assembly To Issue Bench Warrant On Defiant Oil Companies

imo-state-house-of-asemblyThe Imo State House of Assembly has threatened to issue a bench warrant on top officials of some oil companies doing business and operating in Imo State.

This threat is coming after the oil companies failed to honour an invitation to appear before the lawmakers in order to explain the reason for allegedly failing in their Corporate Social Responsibility to both the host communities and state government, especially in the payment of outstanding ground rents and other statutory payments amounting to N40 billion.

Before ordering the officials out of the Assembly premises in deep anger, the Speaker, Rt Honourable Acho Ihim, told the officials that a new date will be fixed for the top management officials of the oil companies to appear before the house.

Mr Ihim stated that failure to honour the invitation will be tantamount to compelling the House to invoke Section 129 (B) of the 1999 Constitution, which invokes a bench warrant on the top officials wherever they may be.

Oil companies involved includes Shell, Chevron, Addax, Agip and Waltersmith Oil.

However, efforts to speak with the officials present at the House of Assembly proved abortive, as they all turned down interviews.

In June, the Imo State House of Assembly passed a bill urging the State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, to demand the immediate payment of outstanding ground rents and other statutory payments amounting to 40 billion Naira from oil companies operating in the state since 1978.

NLNG Constructs Laboratory In UNN

NLNGThe Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas limited (NLNG), is constructing a multi-million Naira engineering laboratory at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

Inspecting the construction site at the university, the Deputy Managing Director of NLNG, Mr Isa Inuwa said the project which costs about 320 million Naira is part of the company’s contribution to complement the various efforts of government in improving standards.

Mr Inuwa also explained that the laboratory which would be equipped with the state of the art facility is to boost engineering education capacity in the country.

NLNG is jointly owned by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (49%), Shell (25.6%), Total LNG Nigeria Limited (15%) and ENI (10.4%).

It was incorporated as a limited liability company on May 17, 1989, to harness Nigeria’s vast natural gas resources and produce Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) for export.

Shell Must Match Government’s Commitment To Clean Oil Spills – Amnesty International

NigerDelta1_OilSPillHuman rights Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Amnesty International on Thursday said Shell must match the Nigerian government’s new commitment to tackle oil pollution in the Niger Delta by dramatically improving how it cleans up spills.

“President Muhammadu Buhari’s announcement on Wednesday of a trust fund to pay for the clean-up of the Ogoniland region in the Niger Delta, but if Shell’s ineffective clean-up methods are not fully overhauled, its impact will be limited.

“It is scandalous that Shell – which now wants the world to trust it to drill in the Arctic – has failed to properly implement the UN’s expert advice on oil spill response after so long,” said Mark Dummett, Amnesty International’s Researcher on Business and Human Rights.

“President Buhari’s initiative will fail, and the Ogoni people will continue to suffer, as long as Shell fails to make significant changes to the way it approaches oil spill clean-up”, he added

The establishment of the trust fund was a key recommendation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), which published a study on oil pollution in Ogoniland four years ago. The UNEP study also called for Shell’s clean-up methods to be urgently overhauled, including reviewing its methodology and addressing serious delays in responding to spills.

But researchers from Amnesty International investigating spill sites in the region have this month “found oil on the soil and in nearby water bodies, in areas where Shell contractors are reported to have recently carried out remediation.

The fund will be overseen by representatives of the Ogoni people, the United Nations, the oil companies operating in Nigeria and the government itself.

According to the government, stakeholders will pay an initial $10 million into the fund.

“$10 million is far below the $1 billion that the UNEP said should be paid into the fund to cover the first five years of a clean-up job which could take up to 30 years. The UNEP study recommended that the contributions should be made by both the oil industry and the government.

“Ogoniland has been devastated by years of oil spills and Shell’s clean-up operations have been utterly ineffective,”

“In 2011 UNEP highlighted numerous serious problems with the way Shell cleans up oil sites. But we have visited multiple sites and found oil pollution lying all around. From what we are seeing, little has changed since then.” said Dummett.

A statement on Wednesday said that President Buhari “approved several actions to fast-track the long delayed implementation” of the UNEP report including the establishment of the fund.

The establishment of the fund was a key demand of Nigerian and international organizations, including Amnesty International, who wrote a joint letter to President Buhari requesting such action on 4 August 2015 four years after the UNEP’s report was published.

Shell was forced to leave Ogoniland in 1993, but its pipelines run through the area and it is responsible for leakages from these pipes.

Ogoniland is only one part of the Niger Delta that has been affected by oil pollution. Royal Dutch Shell and the Italian multinational oil giant ENI have admitted to more than 550 oil spills in the Niger Delta last year, according to an Amnesty International analysis of the companies’ latest figures.

By contrast, on average, there were only 10 spills a year across the whole of Europe between 1971 and 2011.

Naira Trades In Tight Spread As Oil Firms Sell Dollars

naira-notesThe naira traded within a range at which it has been stuck for almost a month on the interbank market, supported by dollar sales from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)and oil companies, dealers said on Monday.

The naira closed unchanged at 199 naira to the dollar, while it traded at 224 naira against the greenback at the parallel market, operated by bureau de change agents.

The central bank scrapped its bi-weekly forex auctions last month and fixed its clearing rate at 198 naira to the dollar, in a move to curb speculation on the currency. The naira has since been trading at around 197 to 199 to the dollar.

A total of 104.5 million dollar sales were carried out on Monday at a range of 197 to 199 naira to the dollar, just before the market closed, Thomson Reuters data showed, with dealers attributing some of the trades to a central bank forex sale.

The local units of Chevron sold $30.4 million while Shell sold an undisclosed amount to some lenders to buy naira for local use on Monday.

The central bank this month fixed the rate at which banks can buy dollars from oil companies at not more than 2 naira spread to its clearing rate, its latest attempt to prop up the currency hit by the drop in oil prices.