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NNPC’s Funding Delays Threaten Nigeria’s 4mbpd Target

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The Federal Government’s crude oil growth projections of 4 million barrels per day (mbpd) and reserves of 40 billion barrels may remain a mirage as multi-billion dollar oil and gas projects expected to increase output and create thousands of jobs, are said to have been bungled by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

The projects, according to THISDAY investigations, include ExxonMobil’s Erha North and phase two of the Satellite field development project, Shell’s Bonga Southwest and North-west, the multi-billion dollar Nsikko project, Total’s Egina project and the Funiwa Gas project, some of which had been in the pipeline for more than five years.

The reluctance by the NNPC to commit to the projects, industry sources said, has prompted interested investors to pull out, while some of the projects have been abandoned.

But an official of the state-run oil company has blamed funding issues for the delay in the take-off of the projects, adding that they were not deliberately stalled.

Expressing shock at the NNPC’s surprising apathy towards these very vital projects, a source at the corporation told THISDAY at the weekend that the delays had not only resulted in cost overruns, but are constituting a major setback to government’s aspirations to increase oil production to 4 million barrels per day from the current 2.4 million daily output.

He also noted that the NNPC’s lack of interest in these projects undermines the objectives of the Nigerian Content Development Act, to grow indigenous capacity and create more job opportunities for teeming Nigerians.

Investigations by THISDAY revealed that the call for tender on the Erha North phase two project was conducted over two years ago and all the bids were submitted to NNPC in November 2011.

This was also applicable to the Satellite field development project phase two, but NNPC has since refused to move forward on both projects.

It was gathered that despite the fact that commercial bids for the Erha North phase two field development – a tie back to the main project – had since been concluded and submitted to the Group Executive Committee of NNPC by the National Petroleum Investment Management (NAPIMS), the investment arm of the corporation, no effort has been made to proceed to the next stage of the project.

A source at the Exploration and Production Division of NNPC, however, confirmed yesterday that the management of NNPC was actually ready to proceed with the second phase of the Erha North field, but would rather that the terms applicable to the development of the field as contained in the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) be applied retroactively.

ExxonMobil, the parent company of Mobil Nigeria Unlimited, has expressed concern over the fiscal terms in the PIB, insisting that if passed in its current form, it will affect the company’s investment in Nigeria.

THISDAY learnt that the Erha North phase two project has suffered four bids validity extensions in the last four years and the current validity extension will expire on December 31.  Obtaining a further extension would come at significant price increase or another tender process.

An official of Mobil, who did not want to be named, stated that if by January 1 the NNPC fails to give approval for the project, the development of the second phase of Erha North field would be suspended and the terms demobilised, which will result in significant cost escalation for Nigeria.

With respect to the second phase of the Satellite field project, which was a roll-over of phase one, THISDAY learnt that bids had already been taken and budget estimates put in place.

But more than one year later, the commercial bid opening was stopped by the NNPC, in what sources viewed as a deliberate attempt to truncate the whole exercise.

The directive halting the process, THISDAY learnt, was issued by the NNPC’s Group Executive Director (GED) in charge of Exploration and Production, Mr. Abiye Membere, who claimed the corporation wanted a price reduction.
The call for tenders on the project took place when Mr. Andrew Yakubu, who currently is the Group Managing Director of the corporation, was in charge of exploration and production.

Stopping the project, sources said, has called to question the three-tier tender process of the NNPC and Yakubu’s tenure in the Exploration and Production Division.

“The resultant effects are that contractors would have to demoblise their project teams and start laying off Nigerian workers. The Bonga SW/NW field development project, Egina field development project as well as the Funiwa Gas project are all victims of NNPC’s inability to bring to a close discussions started three years ago,” said the source.

The source disclosed that Yakubu, while serving as GED, had recommended the commencement of the Egina project to the Group Executive Committee, but “for inexplicable reason”, it never came up for discussion.

On the Funiwa gas project, THISDAY also reliably gathered that Chevron was forced to abandon plans to develop the multi-billion dollar Nsikko field development over the past few years owing to NNPC’s inability to propose a way forward and uncertainties surrounding the PIB, especially regarding the fiscal terms proposed in the bill.

The Nsikko field, in OPL 249, was expected to produce 150,000 barrels of oil within one year of initial startup. The initial date for the field to come on stream was 2011, but was later rescheduled to late 2012.

But five years after, the project has been abandoned due to delays in the passage of the PIB and NNPC’s inability to propose a way forward for the field’s development.
Similarly, the Funiwa gas project, which had been envisaged to create job opportunities for Nigerians, has since been stalled because its development was tied to the Brass Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project.

The development of Funiwa was put at $3 billion but has been stalled, because Brass LNG is yet to take off.

However, in a bid to defend the corporation’s role in stalling the major projects, an official of NNPC said yesterday that lack of funding was to blame for the delays.

He said aside from the issue of funding, there were other fundamental issues that the corporation needed to trash out. “For instance, how the projects would be managed by the partners,” he said.

He faulted claims that NNPC was not showing enough interest in the projects, stating that the oil companies wanted the projects run in a manner that would profit them, whereas the NNPC was working in the country’s interest.

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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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