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Bold vision promises new dawn for Nigeria’s ailing petrochemical industry

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Estimated to hold 37 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, Nigeria is the second biggest oil-rich country in Africa, after Libya. The exploitation of these resources has been in the hands of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that was established in 1977 as a merger of the Nigerian National Oil Corporation and the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel. NNPC by law manages the joint venture between the Nigerian Government and international oil companies such as Shell, Agip, ExxonMobil, Total and Chevron.

Despite its rich resources, at present Nigeria’s state-dominated oil industry is declining, afflicted by systemic corruption, starved for international investment, and hit hard by weak oil prices. Despite that malaise, oil remains the country’s chief source of income.

A choice of paths

What many considered a watershed moment for the industry occurred earlier this year in the country’s election with two conflicting strategies for the development of the industry put forward by the two candidates.

The incumbent, Muhammadu Buhari’s planned to retain a nationalized oil industry under the NNPC banner while the vision of his opponent, Atiku Abubakar, was to sell off aging refineries to private buyers to liberalise the economy. In the end Buhari won a tight contest.

The importance of the oil and gas sector for the state cannot be underestimated with more than half of its revenue along with 85 per cent of its export revenue coming from the sector. Despite the 40 billion barrels of oil under its control, Nigeria’s ageing infrastructure can only produce around 2.5 million barrels of crude oil per day.

Adding to this malady is the state of its mid-stream and downstream infrastructure that many believe is in even worse condition than its upstream assets.  The refineries dotted around the Niger Delta region are at present producing less than half of the 500,000 barrel per day capacity, with this figure dropping to almost ten per cent late last year.

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New beginnings for NNPC

The man charged with implementing the president’s policy is Mallam Mele Kolo Kyari, who took on the role of group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) early this year. He quickly vowed to reverse the trend of petroleum imports into Nigeria by improving the existing refineries and encouraging private sector investment in the refineries.

“We must end the trend of fuel importation as an oil producing country,” he said at a press conference shortly after taking on the role. “We will deliver on the rehabilitation of the four refineries within the life of this administration and support the private sector to build refineries. We will support the Dangote refinery to come on stream on schedule and we will transform Nigeria into a net exporter of petroleum products by 2023”.

He added that the government’s target of raising crude oil production and reserves to three million barrels per day and 40 billion barrels respectively was possible and that he would galvanise the corporation to achieve it by 2023.

When it comes to rooting out the corruption that has plagued the industry in Nigeria he pointed out how much NNPC had changed over the past three years from the old image of a corruption-laden organisation, stressing that he would continue to entrench the culture of accountability in the affairs of the corporation.

“We are going to work to remove every element of discretion from our processes, because discretion is one of the greatest enablers of corruption”, he said. “NNPC will not be opaque, we’ll be transparent to all so that at the end of the day everyone will be in a position to assess us and say what we have done right or wrong”.

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Support from OPEC

The Secretary General of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo, has commended the NNPC for its ongoing reforms aimed at changing the fortunes of the corporation for the better.

“I am glad that you continue to march on with your projects despite the downturn in the Industry, he said. “We have seen the Industry globally suffer in terms of contraction in investment which affected capacity. You have not only been able to stay on course, but you also continue with these projects which are critical for the development of the corporation and the industry in Nigeria.”

“To lead such a sensitive and capital-intensive industry like oil and gas, you must have transparency and accountability as one of your core principles in order to drive change. I am glad I have known Mele Kyari for a very long time. He is a very capable and straightforward individual with a high level of integrity even as a very junior officer. So, he has a track record. I remain confident that together with his team, and with the support of government, he will accomplish the task”.

Building a Nigerian giant

Key to this strategy of reducing imports is the Dangote refinery that is under construction near Lagos. The 650,000 barrels per day (bpd) integrated refinery and petrochemical project will be Africa’s biggest oil refinery and the world’s biggest single-train facility upon completion in 2020. The facility will be able to process a variety of light and medium grades of crude to produce Euro-V quality clean fuels including gasoline and diesel as well as jet fuel and polypropylene.

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Nigeria in focus at Africa Oil Week

Relations between South Africa and Nigeria have been strained in recent months after several days of riots in South Africa in September that mainly targeted foreign-owned, including Nigerian, businesses.

But following a visit to South Africa by Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari tensions have eased. A further sign of the improving relationship is the visit of Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, to Africa Oil Week (Africa-OilWeek.com), the minister proclaiming himself being excited to be travelling to South Africa.

As the largest upstream event on the continent, Africa Oil Week has enjoyed attendance from the industry’s highest-level decision makers for over 25 years. This year is no different, with Nigeria’s brand new NPCC GMD making his international debut at the 2019 conference in Cape Town this November (4-8).

Mallam Melee Kyari will be setting out the future vision of the NNPC under his leadership and participating in a session titled ‘Atlantic Transform Margin (Liberia to Nigeria)’, where he will provide a deep insight into the current operating landscape in some of the most highly sought-after regions.

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National Issues

#ENDSARS: Buhari to address the Nation at 7pm on Thursday

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President Muhammadu Buhari will make will make a national broadcast Thursday, October 22, 2020 at 7pm.

This was stated in a Press Statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adriana

According to him, “Following detailed briefing by security chiefs on the current situation in the country, President Muhammadu Buhari

”Television, radio and other electronic media outlets are enjoined to hook up to the network services of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and Radio Nigeria respectively for the broadcast”.

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#ENDSARS: ‘Military offensive on protesters is an abomination, Akande -Sadipe talks tough

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Akande-Sadipe

The Chairperson, House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora Affairs, Hon. Tolulope Akande-Sadipe has called on President Muhammed Buhari to address the killing of unarmed protesters across the nation, while condemning the killing of protesters by Armed Security operatives in the country.

Tolulope Akande Sadipe in a statement made available to journalists on Wednesday said, “I weep for my beloved country, Nigeria. This is the Darkest Moment in our Nation. The Current Action is Unacceptable”.

She wondered why men of the Nigerian Army turned on the people they were meant to Protect, firing live bullets at citizens holding the Nigerian Flag and chanting the National Anthem, describing such as an “Abomination”.

“I, as a member of the House of Representatives cannot keep quiet in the midst of this abominable action. I was duly elected to be the voice of my people and my people are weeping”, she said.

She opined that the protests were about a generation trying to end the systematic rot that pervades the society, which had eaten deep into the fabrics of the Nation.

The APC chieftain  continued, “We need to be honest with one another on this matter. We need to face the truth on ground. The youths were out there because they are tired and fed up of victimization, daily oppression, injustice, unemployment, untapped talents, lack of opportunity, poor healthcare, poor education and lack of infrastructure and power across the Nation. The Youths are protesting for a better future for themselves and their children. The #EndSARS PROTEST stands for the systematic ROT in our Nation.

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“This was about the realities on ground. This was about the ROT since independence. This was about genuine service to the people who elected us to represent them. This was not about the President, this was not about the current administration, this was not about North and South, this was not about Religion. This was not about party affiliation. This was about a Generation trying to end the systematic ROT that pervades our society”.

Speaking against the backdrop that there are some external forces pushing for the destruction of Nigeria, the lawmaker representing Oluyole Federal Constituency  said the Federal Government should genuinely address issues.

“Those alluding, that there is a 5th Columnist within or external, there is a solution. If there is a 5th columnist or external negative force, pushing for the destruction of Nigeria, if we do the right thing, by genuinely addressing the issues that have led to the distrust between leadership and our youths, by addressing the rot that has pervaded our Nation. The 5th columnist in our midst or external negative force, would fail. But with this action, what have we said to the Youth and to the world.

“This is the time to make the wrongs right and it is not by bringing out the Army to shoot its own citizens, that we achieve this. We can still put a stop to this inferno. We must realize that no position is permanent and it is the country we make that we shall all live in”, she added.

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Concluding, she empathized with all the families of fallen Youth Patriots, praying that their death would not be in vain.

 

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National Issues

Nigeria Excluded From 2022 US Visa Lottery

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Nigeria has been barred from the US visa lottery application for 2022, a document obtained from the US Government website showed. 

In a 19-page document published on the website, Nigeria is the only African country barred from the visa lottery.

“For DV-2022, persons born in the following countries are not eligible to apply, because more than, 50,000 natives of these countries immigrated to the United States in the previous five years: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (including Hong Kong SAR), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam,” the document read. “Persons born in Macau SAR and Taiwan are eligible.”

Although natives of other African countries are allowed to apply, the document explained that “persons born in the areas administered prior to June 1967 by Israel, Jordan, Syria, and Egypt are chargeable, respectively, to Israel, Jordan, Syria, and Egypt,” it said.

“Persons born in the Gaza Strip are chargeable to Egypt; persons born in the West Bank are chargeable to Jordan; persons born in the Golan Heights are chargeable to Syria.”

In the document captioned “Instructions for the 2022 diversity immigrant visa program (dv-2022),” applicants must meet certain guidelines to be eligible for the visa lottery.

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“The Department of State determines selectees through a randomized computer drawing,” the statement added.

“The Department of State distributes diversity visas among six geographic regions, and no single country may receive more than seven per cent of the available DVs in any one year.”

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