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What Happened To Transparency?

By Simon Kolawolelive

LAGOS, Nigeria: At the annual Nigerian jamboree to the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, Texas, Dr. IbeKachikwu, the minister of state for petroleum resources, told a “world press conference” on May 5, 2017 that Nigeria’s refineries would soon have new investors.

He said 26 investors had indicated interest in the epileptic refineries. “By September, we will unveil the investors for the refineries,” the minister said smoothly, typically. “When we came onboard, the refineries were not working but as we speak, we have sizeable investment portfolio for them to an extent that we don’t know who to partner with for the investment.” 

Let’s say I didn’t go to school at all. Or let’s say it was evening school that I attended. These would still be my takeaways from the minister’s proclamations: one, our refineries are now in a position to attract investment; two, 26 investors have indicated interest in taking over the refineries (on a repair, operate and maintain, ROM, agreement); three, we have not taken a decision yet because there are so many suitors to choose from; and four, we will announce the favoured investors by September. Without attending Harvard Business School, I would still conclude that it appeared the process was going to be competitive and transparent. 

On May 11, 2017 (six days later, right?) Mr. Wale Tinubu, the CEO of Oando Plc, told the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) that the group had received approval of the government to “repair, operate and maintain” the Port Harcourt Refinery together with “our partner” Agip, a subsidiary of ENI, the Italian company indicted in the Malabu/OPL 245 affair. Tinubu said: “We plan to increase the refinery capacity from 30 per cent to 100 per cent.” Great news, as far I am concerned. We need the refineries back as soon as possible; we have had enough of the endless TAMs gulping billions of naira and spewing out virtually no products for decades. 

Now this is where I need your help. The last time I checked, with the help of Google, May and September are different months. There are June, July and August in-between. With the help of Google, I also discovered that the gap between when Kachikwu spoke in Houston and when Tinubu spoke in Lagos was a whopping six days — or, to make it simpler, less than one week. There are usually four weeks in a month, and from May 5, when Kachikwu spoke, to September, there are 17 weeks, according to the all-knowing Google. With Tinubu’s disclosure, should we assume that May is the new September? Or that September came early for Oando, Agip and Kachikwu? 

But I think Google is overrated. There were so many questions it could not answer. For instance, I asked: “Is Oando among the 26 investors Kachikwu boasted about in Houston?” I could not make head or tail of the results. Google came up with “FOX 26 Houston KRIV”. Nonsense. But I got more gibberish for other questions: did Oando and ENI send in a bid? Was it an unsolicited bid? Was it selective tendering? If it was competitive bidding, how many bids were received for Port Harcourt? How much did Oando/ENI bid? How much did others bid? How much did the bidders promise to invest? How many years will the ROM run? Are there concessions for the new operators? 

I can understand why Google got stuck — that almighty search machine likes transparency. If you do not make your information public, it cannot make it public for you. The best, or should I say the worst, Google would do is to suggest answers that it thinks are related to your questions, even when there is no connection whatsoever. If you google most of the major concessions and major contracts awarded by this government, you will get irrelevant answers on the process. For the same reason: transparency is very scarce in these major deals. We just wake up one day and hear that one company has been awarded a job. Not a word on the process. 

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying Oando should not take over the Port Harcourt Refinery. I have devoted a significant part of my column-writing career to promoting the cause of Nigerian companies. I believe that one day, made-in-Nigeria will be enjoyed all over the world. I want Nigerian companies to fly our flag honourably. Even though I have been called names and subjected to sickening innuendos for promoting Dangote, Globacom, Oando and Innosons, among others, I am not about to repent. Americans are proud of their Apple, Microsoft and Chevron, and my dream is that our people and our companies will become global brands too. 

That said, though, I am very worried about an emerging pattern in this administration. President Muhammadu Buhari campaigned on the strength of correcting the mistakes and misdeeds of the previous government, but I am seeing too much repetition for it to be coincidental. There is too much secrecy in the way many important things are done, and corruption, need we say, thrives on secrecy. Take away competition, take away transparency, take away accountability, and you have a perfect recipe for corruption. We cannot be sealing deals under the table without revealing the details to Nigerians and then claim we are building an open society.

We just woke up one day to learn that GE had secured the concession to take over the railways. How did it happen? What are the details of the deal? Is this the best possible deal Nigeria can get? We were just watching TV one evening and learnt that the federal government had finally signed a renegotiated concession agreement with the Global Steel Holding Limited (GSHL) for Ajaokuta Steel. Up till today, we don’t know the details. Ask questions and what you get as answer is: who paid you to ask? As a journalist, I’m used to the blackmail. I would have quit this job the day I joined if I had to pay attention to personal attacks. 

By the way, I know a bit about the procurement options. I know of “sole sourcing”, where you go to one provider only because no other provider does it — like buying a Rolls Royce from the maker. “Selective tendering” allows you to approach a few providers who meet certain criteria. There is “repeat procurement”, where you return to earlier provider because of time constraints and because they did a previous job well. All these need strong justifications because you are restricting competition, which is a major element of procurement. And then there is “competitive bidding”, where you throw it open to all. In all, Nigerians deserve to know the process adopted. 

Get me right. I am not saying anything illegal is being done in the case of the Port Harcourt Refinery. It just lacks transparency. That’s my point. And what about other moral issues? ENI again? As I write this, many Nigerians are being prosecuted or wanted by the EFCC for their involvement in the OPL 245 deal. They are being accused of taking part in an elaborate bribery scheme. But ENI, which is at the centre of it all and is being prosecuted by an Italian prosecutor for its role in the $1.3 billion affair, is cornering more deals in Nigeria without getting as much as a slap on the wrist. The impression being created is that our anti-graft war is very narrow. 

I sympathise with the government over the limitations imposed by procurement rules, particularly the constraint of speed, but the process was designed for a purpose. More so, this government has been in power for nearly two years, which means a lot could still have been accomplished over the years in spite of the constraints. And, remember, there are many options that can shorten the process which the government has been using for a while now. The biggest headache, though, is that there is too much opaqueness for us to conclude that transparency is a guiding principle. The chaos over the concessioning of Port Harcourt Refinery is a very good example. Dissonance.

 

Equatorial Guinea, Arabian Energy Reach Bioko Oil Terminal Deal

Following the signing of an agreement between the Government of Equatorial Guinea and Arabian Energy DMCC to work together on the Bioko Oil Terminal in Saudi Arabia, the realization of the petroleum tank farm gained some important momentum.

On May 11, the two sides agreed to collaborate on the development, implementation, construction and financing of the $500 million project. Bioko Oil Terminal aims to become West Africa’s largest oil and petroleum products storage facility and will transform Equatorial Guinea into a pivotal trading and services hub in the region.

“The Bioko Oil Terminal is a first of its kind storage facility for West Africa and would bring to the region energy security and transport economies of scale and efficiencies like we have never been before,” said H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons of Equatorial Guinea. “We welcome the addition of Arabian Energy and look forward to working together to move this project into realization.”

Bioko Oil Terminal brings several advantages for the region. It creates an African center for the distribution of petroleum products and crude oil and would stimulate the West and Central African industry through job creation and the reduction of imports. The tank farm would attract investment, build local financial capacity and increase shipments to key exports markets.

With 22 storage tanks and a total capacity of 1.2 million cubic meters, Bioko Oil Terminal would be built in two phases, the first consisting of refined production and the second capable of storing, handling and blending middle distillates and lights ends such as diesel, jet fuel, gasoline and naphtha, as well as crude oil. The shared terminal infrastructure will be operated on a “first come, first served” basis.

Ghana’s 400 Mw Bridge Power Project Gets GE Support

GE last week announced that it will supply the power generation equipment for the Bridge Power plant project in Tema, Ghana. The equipment, which will be used in the first phase of the project, will collectively generate 200 MW of power. An additional 200 MW of power will be deployed in stage two of the project.

The equipment scope includes GE’s TM2500 gas turbine generator sets  and GE’s steam turbines in a combined cycle (CC) configuration. This will be the first time the TM2500 gas turbines will be used in a combined cycle configuration globally and marks a milestone for the technology, which was also selected this week for Angola’s ambitious electrification program led by PRODEL.

“The Bridge Power plant successfully brings together the need for a cost-effective fuel solution, in this case liquefied petroleum gas, with an integrated power solution driven by GE’s latest flexible technology” said Leslie Nelson, CEO, GE’s Gas Power Systems for Sub Saharan Africa.

The 400 megawatt (MW) Bridge Power and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) import, storage, and transportation infrastructure project will address Ghana’s long-term energy requirements by providing enough electricity for the equivalent of up to 17 percent of the country’s capacity. Upon completion, it will be Africa’s first LPG fired power plant and the world’s largest plant of its kind. The fuel-flexible plant will also be capable of being fueled by LPG, natural gas or diesel.

Bridge Power is being developed by the Early Power Limited (“EPL”) consortium under a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the Electricity Corporation of Ghana (ECG). The EPL consortium comprises of Endeavor Energy, a leading independent power development and generation company focused on Africa; Sage, a leading independent trading firm in Ghana; and GE (General Electric).

The Bridge power plant project will bring much needed electricity to Ghana and is expected to have an immediate positive impact on the reliable operation of schools, factories, offices, other local businesses, hospitals, and households. The project is another example of how GE works with the government, corporate customers and other stakeholders in Ghana.

Together, GE and its customers in Ghana support economic growth through infrastructure development in the power, oil & gas and healthcare sectors. In March this year, GE opened a 5,600 square meter oil & gas facility in Takoradi, that will serve as a primary service center for deep-water offshore projects.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nigeria’s Aiteo In Record 90kpod Output

Integrated energy group Aiteo has announced a peak production of 90kpod just one year after its acquisition of sub-Sharan Africa’s reputedly largest onshore oil bloc OML 29.

Aiteo acquired OML 29 in September, 2015 when oil major Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) fully exited the facility. At the time of the divestment, average production was 23Kbpod. But Aiteo, one of the frontline sponsors of the justconcluded 16th Oil and Gas (NOG) Conference held in the country’s capital Abuja, says it has tripled this figure leveraging the diversity and skills of its work force and bona fides as a dynamic international energy conglomerate.

It’s CEO and Vice Chairman Benedict Peters said the company grew production from 23kbbl/d upon takeover of operations to a peak of 90Kbbl/d in one year. He also highlighted several existing and developing projects that could potentially grow Aiteo’s asset production to over 150 kbopd and 200mmscf/d. 

He said: “Our outlook is bright with 3 producing oil fields and viable crude exports via Bonny terminal. We also have contingent resources to appraise and prospective ones to explore in the medium-to-long term, including full 3D coverage and 2P NNS reserves at 1.6bn bbl. Put simply, we have a clear vision for the future with the experience and assets crucial to providing oil and gas consistently on a regional and global scale.”  

Aiteo’s ambitious five-year objectives include tackling the power challenges in Nigeria head-on through its legacy investments in the gas-to-power value chain. “This is a testament to our commitment to the transformation of the entire oil & gas value chain into a world-class landscape,” Peters added.

The company’s main subsidiary Aiteo Eastern E&P is also a major infrastructure provider for Nigeria’s oil industry as the operator of the 97km Nembe Creek Trunk Line, an industry-wide evacuation pipeline for produced fluids covering much of the country’s Eastern Delta region.

Aiteo’s Group Managing Director Mr. Chike Onyejekwe said: “Our growth drivers remain strong leadership, high commitment and motivation, technical and commercial excellence and superior asset base. In the next five years, our operations will continue to be guided by these qualities as we leverage our capabilities comparable to oil majors elsewhere in the world. Indeed, the future is Aiteo.”

In the interim, Aiteo says it is developing a pipeline of power generation projects across Nigeria. The company is confident that its significant gas resources at OML 29 will transform the country’s oil rich Niger Delta region into a power generation hub of repute before long.

AITEO Group is an international energy conglomerate in the forefront of innovative solutions with strategic investments across the energy value chain – petroleum products storage and distribution; natural gas; power; and exploration and production.   

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Final Investment Decision For Kenya Oil Set

A high ranking officer of oil exploration company Tullow Oil has said the Final Investment Decision (FID) for the early oil pilot scheme in Kenya’s oil rich South Lokichar basin is expected between June and July, Oil In Kenya, a Kenyan news website with an eye for oil and gas, quotes Anthony Mwangi Tullow Oil’s director of government, public affairs and communication.  

Mwangi was speaking at the recently held 2nd Turkana Oil and Gas Conference in Lodwar. The explorer then expects early oil at a rate of 2,000 barrels of oil a day through road transport to commence in July 2017 from where it shall be stored for up to 8 months as to when adequate export amounts of over 600,000 barrels shall be achieved.

Already the company says it holds about 70,000 barrels at the Ngamia and Amosing fields that was extracted during the extensive well testing programme. The early oil according to Mwangi will enable the country acquire knowledge on how to access markets with factors such as refineries to be contracted to refine the waxy oil yet to be identified.

“Since it is clear that the Mombasa refinery cannot refine our crude oil we need to identify specialized refineries in East Asia such as Malaysia and India to handle this oil before we start exporting 100,000 barrels a day,” Mwangi said.

This will be ongoing as work on the pipeline continues with efforts to identify the project designer expected to conclude in the next fortnight. To date field development studies ongoing as well as the early oil pilot scheme and Expression of Interest on pipeline.

The environmental impact assessment is also to be carried out  with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) coming in as a joint venture partner with the work surely to be carried out as per World Bank standards,” says commissioner for petroleum Martin Heya.

Tullow Oil estimates that the investment in the oil and gas sector in the Eastern Africa region could reach $100 billion in the next five years providing numerous employment opportunities for skilled residents.

To date Tullow Oil estimates to have spent about $1.5Billion used so far in its activities that including 31 wells exploration and appraisal wells, training and capacity building a majority of which is recoverable. as per the latest estimates Kenya has 750 million barrels of recoverable oil.

The website also reports that Africa Oil, Tullow's partner in the Turkana region, has reiterated that the South Lokichar basin could see 2-4 Potential basin-openers in late 2016 and beyond as well as 4-8 Appraisal and exploration drilling targets raising hopes of renewed activity in Kenya’s Blocks 10BB and 13T.

Africa Oil has also said the partners continue to advance Appraisal and Exploration Drilling Targets for consideration in the next drilling program with focus on appraisal/step out opportunities in northern area of Lokichar Basin.

SOURCE: http://www.oilnewskenya.com/

Crude Oil Production Drop In Nigeria, Libya

 

Terror activities by Boko Haram in Nigeria and Islamic State in Libya have led to decline in crude oil production, a crude oil productio survey carried out by Platts indicated in a report.

The report also revealed a significant drop of crude oil production in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) member states. Libya and Nigeria are OPEC members from the African continent.

Nigerian output dipped by 40,000 b/d to 1.86 million b/d as a slightly shorter loading program was exacerbated by the declaration of force majeure on Brass River crude exports on December 24. Trading sources said exports of the grade restarted in the latter part of this week.

December also saw the restart of the 125,000 b/d Kaduna refinery and the two refineries at Port Harcourt with combined nameplate capacity of 210,000 b/d.

By early January, all four of the country's plants were online for the first time since July last year, although utilization rates were unclear. Nigeria's total nameplate capacity is 445,000 b/d.

A United Nations (UN)-brokered deal between Libya's two rival governments in late December has so far failed to bring about greater political stability, as shown by the recent spate of attacks carried out by the so-called Islamic State.

Libyan production in December averaged 380,000 b/d, largely unchanged from November and still below the 480,000 b/d achieved in March, which was its strongest month in 2015.

Libya's oil output continues to languish at a fraction of the 1.58 million b/d level pumped before the 2011 uprising due to instability in the country and technical difficulties at oil fields.

Crude prices, meanwhile, remain under pressure from oversupply and brimming stocks, and are trading at multi-year lows.

Brent futures sank as low as $27.10/barrel on January 20, the lowest level since early November 2003. OPEC's own crude basket, representing streams from all 13 member countries, stood at $22.48/b on January 20.

OPEC is not due to meet until June 2, but the relentless fall in prices has renewed calls for an emergency meeting from the group's more cash-strapped members. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro earlier this week called for an emergency meeting to stabilize oil prices.

So far, there has been no sign from Saudi Arabia that it is ready to abandon the market share strategy that it persuaded OPEC to adopt in November 2014.

Saudi Oil Minister Ali Naimi told an event in Riyadh on Sunday he was optimistic that world oil markets would stabilize, that oil prices would improve and that major producing countries would cooperate with each other.

When OPEC decided in late 2014 to defend its market share rather than reduce output, it maintained the 30 million b/d ceiling that had been in place since the beginning of 2012.

At the group's recent meeting on December 4, however, ministers failed to agree on a ceiling level, thus removing the remaining notional constraint on freewheeling production.

Fuel Retailer Opens Another Java House Restaurant

 

Vivo Energy Uganda, the company that distributes and markets Shell branded fuels and lubricants, has invested in a programme to upgrade its Shell service stations to offer a wider range of services.

The new programme targets both shoppers and motorists who visit Shell service stations by partnering with professionals who share in its ambition to invest and grow and provide better services to customers.

Vivo Energy Uganda’s latest partnership is with Java Coffee House, a food and beverages retailer. The former will be setting up food joints at Shell fuel stations. On Monday the partnership saw another Java outlet opened at Shell Lugogo bypass.

The Managing Director Vivo Energy Uganda, Hans Paulsen, said that Vivo Energy understands that customers are looking for more than just a fill-up when they drive to the Shell forecourts.

Paulsen said that it’s not just about the quality fuels and lubricants sold to the customers, but about delivering a complete service station experience. He said that Shell fuel stations are looking forward to growing this partnership.

“Across our network we are looking to upgrade our service stations to a modern format and that is why this partnership with Java house with its well-known and high quality service restaurant brands is so important to us” Paulsen said.

He further noted that the partnership will see Vivo Energy strategically add Java house restaurants to a number of Shell service stations in Uganda to offer customers the best and most memorable convenience retail experience.

The Business Development manager Java House, Sam Imende said that they are delighted to have partnered with Vivo Energy Uganda, allowing it to operate outlets at Shell service stations in Uganda.

“This partnership will benefit customers, giving them more convenience, quality and choice. We have a great relationship with Vivo Energy Uganda and are looking forward to increase our chain to more Shell service stations”, he said.

The opening of Java house at Shell lugogo comes with a promotion where customers who Fuel up at Shell Lugogo any day, from Monday to Friday between 7am to 9am for 100,000 win a Java House breakfast pack and a Kiddies Meal Promo where customers who Fuel up at Shell Lugogo before 10am on Saturday 30th January will win a free kiddie meal at Java Coffee house.

 

Besigye: Oil Shouldn’t Be A Curse

 

Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) presidential candidate Kizza Besigye has said oil in Bunyoro region, western Uganda, shouldn’t be a curse but a blessing to the nation.

The former military officer, now a leading opposition figure, was speaking at various political rallies in Hoima district in Bunyoro this weekend as he lobbied to be elected the next president of Uganda.

“Oil can never become a curse to a nation when there is good governance & a leadership that believes in equal opportunities and shared prosperity,” Besigye, who faulted the sitting government for keeping the people of Bunyoro in poverty, stated.

He promisingly added that “Our government will ensure that the people of Hoima benefit from their resources especially oil that is ozzing from their ground. Our government will make sure their resources (oil) will work for”

There is increasing unrest in Bunyoro region that government is not doing enough to see to it that indegineous people benefit from the natural resource. The fears have also been expressed by kingdom officials including the King of Bunyoro, Omukama Rukirabasaija Agutamba Solomon Gafabusa Iguru I.

Besigye’s sentiments are also shared by a wide section of Ugandans who believe that the current government lacks the moral capacity to use oil revenue appropriately. They fear oil money will be mismanagement and lead the country into a resource curse or what many call oil curse.

The resource curse, also known as the paradox of plenty, refers to the paradox that countries and regions with an abundance of natural resources, specifically point-source non-renewable resources like minerals and fuels, tend to have less economic growth and worse development outcomes than countries with fewer natural resources.

Countries that are rich in petroleum tend to have less democracy, less economic stability,  a decline in the competitiveness of other economic sectors (Dutch disease), and more frequent civil wars than countries without oil.

Total Calls For More Startupper Of The Year Contest Entries

 

Open registration for the "Startupper of the Year by Total" contest, which began November 1, 2015, ends Sunday, January 31, 2016 at 11 p.m. GMT. So don't wait any longer to submit your entry at the online registration site, http://startupper.total.com/.

"Startupper of the Year by Total" is a Total contest being held in 34 African countries.[1] It aims to identify and provide financial and other support to the best projects to create or grow a business under two years old in Uganda. The winning projects will be awarded the "Startupper of the year 2016 by Total" label, along with financial aid and coaching from Total Uganda.

Entry is free and open to any Ugandan national aged 35 or under.  A jury of professionals will shortlist up to 10 of the best projects in Uganda based on criteria such as innovativeness, originality, boldness, growth potential and ability to improve people's living conditions.

The list of finalists will be published on the contest's website no later than February 28, 2016. After contestants make their final presentations, no later than March 15, 2016, the jury will select up to three of the best projects, which will be announced at an official awards presentation ceremony.

Complete rules for the contest are freely accessible online at [http://startupper.total.com/].

The "Startupper of the Year by Total" contest is part of our overall policy to support the socioeconomic development of all our host countries worldwide. It is a very concrete initiative to help strengthen the economic base and employment locally, in Africa, by helping the boldest, most innovative entrepreneurs carry out their projects. The contest aims to foster new initiatives, while upholding Total's core values.

[1] Algeria, Angola, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of Guinea, Republic of the Congo, Reunion, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Vivo Energy Uganda Rewards Shell Select Customers

 

Vivo Energy Uganda, the company that distributes and markets Shell branded fuels and lubricants, has made shopping at Shell Select Stores more rewarding for customers who spent at least 50,000 shillings at the participating Shell  Select Stores in Kampala from October to December 2015. 

For each visit that was made to the Shell Select Store, customers were required to spend at least 50,000 shillings to enter a draw that would enable them stand a chance to win free shopping worth 50,000 shillings for 12 weeks and a grand prize of a kitchen make over that includes fridges, microwaves, coffee makers, kettles, steamers and blenders. 

Vivo Energy Uganda recently conducted the draw and the five lucky winners of the kitchen makeover are; Wamala Joseph, Deborah Mwesigwa, Kayiwa Vanita, Kagwa Mariam and Dhamuluka Julius. 

Speaking at the award ceremony held at Shell Kasangati, Vivo Energy country sale director Edward Walugembe said “As a market leader, defending your position involves staying meaningfully and relevantly connected to our customers. We continuously give them reason to choose us as we make our Shell Select stores the more convenient offer to our customer. The promotion aimed to reward our most loyal customers as a way of expressing our appreciation. We encourage the public to continue shopping at our Shell Select Stores for even more exciting promotions in the New Year”. 

The winners expressed their appreciation and joy on receiving their prizes. Mariam Kagwa particularly stated that she feels extremely lucky to have been one of the winners among so many other shoppers. She added that this reward has motivated her to continue her loyalty to the Shell Select store which she often visits.  

Vivo Energy invested in a programme to refurbish Shell Select Stores to offer a wider range of services to both motorists who fuel and service their vehicles at Shell as well as shoppers seeking quick and convenient shopping.  

The company has also partnered with quick service restaurants at different Shell Service stations and opened up new restaurants at the stations including Kahwa2go at Shell Jinja road, Café Pap at Shell Bukoto, KFC restaurants at Shell Kabalagala and Shell Kira road, Java House at Shell Lugogo as well as Prunes Express at Shell Bugolobi. All these efforts are aimed to improve convenience and a better customer experience at Shell stations.

 

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