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Alison-Madueke: FG to Hold Oil Licensing Round This Year

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Petroleum Minister, Dizeani Alison Madueke

 

James Emejo with agency Reports
Nigeria continues to set its sights on holding an oil licensing round for marginal fields before the end of this year, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, has said.

“We sincerely hope to have a new round this year, for marginal fields,” Alison-Madueke said on the sidelines of the annual Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja yesterday, but declined to speak further, reported Reuters.

Last October, the minister had said the government planned to hold bid rounds for major and marginal fields before the year is up, but it is uncertain if there would be enough time to hold the tenders before the year runs out.

She is also in licence renewal talks with Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron over existing onshore fields, after ExxonMobil signed a renewal earlier this year.

The minister added that the Federal Government was in talks with international oil companies (IOCs) and local oil and gas companies to reach an agreement on fiscal terms proposed in the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
“There’s always the intent to try and strike a balance, particularly from the side of government,” she said, noting that there “seemed to be such disparity in terms of where we stood on the fiscals.”

The PIB is a comprehensive legislation aimed at instituting reforms in the oil and gas sector and increasing the country’s share of profits from oil pumped off its shores.

The government has argued that extraction laws going back to 1993 are based on crude at $20 a barrel and unrealistic at prices that are now more than four times as high. But the IOCs have warned Nigeria against deterring investment.

Alison-Madueke, who admitted some imperfections in the PIB, however, said that the bill was still open for discussion.

Her submission followed a heated debate over the perceived flaws in the PIB, particularly the fiscal regime, which was said to have put the indigenous oil companies and multinationals at a disadvantage while favouring the government.

According to the Managing Director, Seplat Petroleum Development Company, Mr. Austin Avuru, the PIB allowed no access to assets and offered harsh gas fiscal terms including doubling of gas taxes as well as tough tax and royalty rates for small fields, while government’s take in the Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) had increased to 77 per cent from 30 per cent.

He also said the proposed bill does not offer the much taunted incentives for existing and new players because there had been slight increase in government’s share of the joint venture from 86 per cent to 91 per cent as well as negative to 60 per cent in gas ventures.

But in defence of the legislation, the minister insisted that the PIB was a huge bill, which was better addressed in separate parts.
She noted that the underlying intent of the PIB was to engender competitiveness in the industry, adding that there were ongoing discussions with multilateral companies who have raised concerns over the bill’s fiscal regime.

She said in the proposed bill, all cost-based incentives had now been replaced with production-based incentives while it would also increase participation of new players in the Nigerian oil and gas sector through the proposed new acreage management system which involves the release of acreages that have been held without activity due to certain constraints.

This, she said, would boost exploration activities, which had been limited.
She said the government would continue discussions with the multinationals “because there seems to be disparity in terms of where we stand on the fiscals.”

Continuing, Alison-Madueke said the fiscal reforms in the PIB, if passed, would be the most comprehensive in four decades, describing the increased government take from oil revenues in the PIB as small and fair, given sustained higher oil prices.

“Nigeria is not alone in the tightening of fiscal terms,” she said. “The goal has always been to find a fair balance between the government and the contractors’ shares.”

“The government is not in the business of oil and gas to make a loss for the country. At the same time, the intent is to remain competitive to attract investment,” Alison-Madueke told delegates at the economic summit.
She said a large part of the issues raised would have to be dealt with in the regulation so they could be looked at and amended.

However, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, AminuTambuwal, who was represented by the Chairman, House Committee on Banking and Currency, Hon. Chukwudi Onyereri, said that the PIB was the most critical bill in the National Assembly, adding that all clauses of the bill would be considered on merit.

He urged all parties to take their grievances or contributions to a public hearing on the bill before it is passed into law as any objection tendered after its passage would have no effect.

The public hearing on the bill is scheduled for the first quarter of next year.
He said: “If there are things they (multinationals) have to thrash out, let them thrash it out now before it comes out, because when it is passed into law, it does not have any individual opinion anymore. What they should do is to break up all these arguments, and come to the public hearing.”

In his contribution, the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. Andrew Yakubu, said although the PIB was not a perfect document, it incorporated well thought through challenges, which would benefit indigenous companies.

Represented by the Group Executive Director, Exploration and Production, NNPC, Mr. Abiye Membere, he said the cost reduction initiatives in the industry was a collective one and cautioned against overbloated costs.

The indigenous operators, however, observed that the sectoral reforms were left unaddressed in the proposed PIB, as refineries were not even mentioned while regulation had been weakened.

Meanwhile, the Managing Director of Shell Petroleum Deveopment Company (SPDC), Mutiu Sumonu, has revealed that the Federal Government generated N7 trillion (about $46 million) from deep-water operations of the oil industry in the last six years.

Speaking Tuesday at the economic summit in Abuja, Sunmonu said: “There is a perception out there that government is not making money from deep water operations, that the multinationals are making it from the deep-water.
“Up to 2011, we actually have deep-water not too long ago; 2005, that was the first one. Up to 2011 government had made about $46 billion from deep-water.

“The multinationals spent $46 billion, because in deep-water, the multinationals put up all the investment, government does not put up any investment.

“So the multinationals put up the $46 billion and they have also realised about $11 billion but government has realised about $46 billion, so it is not true that government is not making any money from deep water operations.”

He said there was the need to strike a balance between government and the industry’s take to enhance investment.

However, in reaction to Sumonu’s statement, Membere said for the IOCs to see the $46 billion expenditure in the deep-water concessions as revenue that was realised by the Federal Government, while the IOCs made $11 billion, was grossly misleading.

“There is no way somebody who takes 80 per cent profit share will get $11 billion out of a $46 billion business,” he said.

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Lagos state government shuts down all schools over #EndSARS protests

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The Lagos State Government has ordered the closure of public and private schools in the state indefinitely.
This was announced in a press statement by the state’s Head of Public Affairs, Ministry of Education, Kayode Abayomi, on Monday.
The statement was titled, ‘Lagos directs students to stay at home’.
It quoted the Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Folasade Adefisayo, as saying that the schools were shut down over “tension generated by the #EndSARS protests.”
The statement read in part, “The Lagos State Government has directed all pupils/students in public and private schools to stay at home following the tension generated by the anti-SARS protests.
“A new date of resumption for all classes will be announced as soon as possible.”
Adefisayo added that “the safety of the pupils/students, parents and all staff working in schools is paramount at this critical period”.
She however advised parents to “keep an eye on their wards and not allow them to be used as willing tools in the hands of those who might want to hijack the protests to unleash mayhem on the society”.
The Commissioner also encouraged schools to “utilize other means of distance teaching and learning i.e radio, television and online media as they have been doing during and post the recent COVID-19 lockdown”.

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Siberian Husky Awaits Trial For Allegedly Murdering Neighbor Cat

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A Siberian Husky in Denver was accused of killing a neighbor’s cat and now sits in an animal shelter awaiting a trial.

Zuma, the 12-year-old dog who lives with Kevin and Valerie Kickham, reportedly wandered over to a neighbor’s yard in Central Park early August and took the life of a seven-year-old Tabby cat, according to FOX 31 News.

“It was only this one moment in time that I lost track of Zuma and something did occur,” Kevin confessed to the outlet with Valerie by his side.

Denver Animal Protection eventually picked Zuma up and has held him in their shelter since the alleged incident.

While Kevin and Valerie “feel bad” about the loss of the cat, they are very concerned for Zuma, whom they have sheltered since he was eight weeks old and call “son.”

“He’s very much our child,” stated Valerie.

“I remember him taking part of his first Thanksgiving turkey,” Kevin recalled fondly. “We fed him turkey in the bowl and next thing you know he actually jumped up and grabbed a piece of turkey for himself.”

A spokesperson for the Denver Animal Protection told the outlet that a judge may exonerate Zuma. If found guilty, however, Zuma could be put to sleep or relocated “somewhere outside the city.”

“It’s not a scenario that’s ideal,” explained Kevin.

While they await the trial date set for mid-November, the Kickhams are allowed weekly visits to the shelter.

“Both of our last visits he wasn’t excited,” Kevin told the news source. “It’s been very hard.”

With the life expectancy of a Siberian Husky ranging from 12 to 15 years, the couple are fearful they may not have much more time together with Zuma.

“We know that it’s not going to be much longer,” Kevin added. “We’ve cherished every moment with him.”

The outlet said they have reached out to the family of the feline victim, but there has been no response.

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#EndSARS: If there’s no change after one week, we will protest again – Naira Marley

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Controversial Nigerian singer, Naira Marley has vowed to initiate a second phase of the #EndSars protest in the coming week if terms are not met.

This is coming after the incessant brutality and harassment of Nigerian youths by officers of the Special Anti-Robbery Squads, SARs.

The first phase of the protest started today, October 8th, led by celebrities like Runtown, Falz, and others within Lagos state.

Naira Marley who earlier backed out of the #EndSars protest applauded youths who supported the movement and has promised to lead a second phase.

The Tesumole crooner wrote in a tweet, “Respect to all the youths out there fighting for their rights and what’s right. God bless y’all.

“After a week if there’s no changes on this fsars issue as promised by nigeriapoliceforce then we will get back out there stronger. Stay safe and protest peacefully if u re protesting.

#endsars protest

“They know My own crowd ya werey gan o #uncontrollably. I told y’all already 99% Marlians are not on twitter.

“Some of y’all will remain follower and never become a leader.”

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