By William Breeze and Thomas Bethel, Herbert Smith Freehills (https://bit.ly/3SGS7yg) At first glance, one would expect African upstream finance to be in good shape: the price of oil is high by historical standards; gas is an essential transition fuel; the internal demand for hydrocarbons continues to grow; government support for upstream development continues; and returns in the sector are strong.
However, the picture regarding access to capital, and in particular debt financing, is significantly more complex.
In the second half of 2021 and the first half of 2022, many commercial banks were finalizing, and have now published, their net zero goals and strategies, in many cases related to their commitments by joining the Net-Zero Banking Alliance, with a particular focus on the impact on your oil and gas loan business.
This appears to have resulted in 6 to 12 months of very limited new financing activity, with many banks focusing solely on existing financings.
A limited number of commercial banks have pulled out of the upstream space altogether in certain markets, but things have calmed down in the last 12 months and many banks, while more selective than in the past, continue to lend upstream.
Clarity has emerged that the market is still open for business, and the obvious major supply and price issues globally have added to a sense of willingness to proceed with deals.
We have been working on several upstream financings in recent months with lenders committing new funds to the sector, including new borrower names and new developments, which is a welcome change compared to the market a year ago.
Environmental, social and governance requirements, the "ESG" of thousands of news articles and academic papers, are now ubiquitous in the banking market.
While some seek to use ESG (and in particular decarbonisation) as a very forceful instrument as a reason not to lend to a sector or project, most lenders are taking a more considered approach.
Assuming that a large (albeit potentially tapering) volume of oil and gas production is needed for decades to come (and even the most aggressive energy transition projections show a very significant supply requirement for some time), So ESG-focused lending can be a powerful tool to support and drive advancements and improvements upstream.
Another challenge for upstream finance is the approach taken by some politicians and NGOs. There are those who argue that there should be no more upstream development.
Leaving aside the financial and moral incoherence of this position (why should countries be denied the right to develop their natural resources for the good of their populations and use oil royalties to build hospitals and schools?), advertising The headwinds that the upstream sector generally attracts can have a chilling effect on banks' willingness to lend.
It is up to all market participants to champion responsible, best-in-class development with financing terms that help traders and investors manage assets as efficiently and prudently as possible.
There are, however, other sources of financing and the liquidity deficit due to the reduction in bank appetite has been less dramatic than it might have been otherwise.
Merchants, whether they are commodity houses or the trading arms of IOCs, remain active and provide financing (often on competitive terms) to secure consumption.
Some development banks, recognizing the economic and employment potential of upstream development and operations, continue to make loans.
A growing number of private credit investors, whether specialized or general funds, are making debt available to African upstream players, often attracted by attractive returns from lower positions in the capital structure.
And there was, until relatively recently, the beginning of a trend away from lending and instead turning to debt capital markets.
In our view, the banking market should not be dismissed too easily.
There is a wealth of institutional and individual knowledge that can help resolve financial complexities.
When market conditions are challenging, the value of a borrower being able to have a sensible conversation with their lenders and take a mutually productive approach to temporary difficulties should not be underestimated; bond investors do not have the same ability to communicate or respond flexibly to market conditions and private credit, with the life of the fund and IRR always in mind, may not be in a position to accept even brief cash flow shortfalls of cash; and waiver and restructuring talks are extremely difficult to convene and progress.
Although it may not seem like it from a borrower's perspective, bank debt is more consistently available (with no general periods when the market is said to be "closed") and is almost invariably much more competitively priced than bank money.
bonds or private credit.
It is inspiring to witness the energy and enthusiasm brought by the new generation of owners (the independent, often indigenous, who are buying the assets being shed by IOCs), which is serving to encourage lenders of all kinds to investing in a future that seeks to develop the natural resources Africa has been blessed with, seeking to be best-in-class from an ESG perspective, and driving constant improvement through ambitious yet achievable goals.
So we have a picture for oil and gas in Africa that is, perhaps more than ever, an almost overwhelming mix of challenge, change, complexity and opportunity.
But we are sure that this sector, and the innovative minds that manage, develop and finance it, will find their way, for the good of the continent and its people, while minimizing the damage to the planet.
We look forward to discussing these topics and more with all delegates at the African Oil Week and wish you all an enjoyable and collaborative conference.
The Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPC Ltd) is collaborating with the Office of the Vice President on establishment of Gas Funding Company Ltd for injection of 20 million cylinders in the next five years.
The NNPC Ltd said the company’s establishment, which involved collaboration of other relevant stakeholders and being done under the Marketer Cylinder Owned Model, would boost Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) penetration.
Malam Mele Kyari, the Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO), NNPC, said this on Wednesday at the opening of India-Nigeria Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG summit) in Abuja.
The India-Nigeria LPG summit was hosted by the NNPC with the support of the Office of the Vice President and World LPG Association (WLPGA).
The summit is expected to translate into bilateral exchanges to foster mutual collaborations and opportunities for the Nigerian LPG industry to learn from India’s experience, one of the world’s most successful national LPG penetration initiatives.
The summit has its theme as: “Energising the Future: Leveraging the Indian Experience to Achieve Nigerian National LPG Aspiration.
” Kyari, represented by Mr Adeyemi Adetunji, the Group Executive Director, Downstream, NNPC, said the summit would be required to submit a report detailing gaps identified and recommendations on best practices from the Indian experience.
This, he said, would be for adoption in Nigeria by relevant stakeholders to achieve rapid National LPG penetration.
He said the summit would equally discuss the Nigerian experience and Indian example covering safe LPG handling, pricing and financial support.
According to him, this will enhance LPG affordability among the poor, communication strategies, ICT and infrastructure as well as collaboration on Cylinder management and manufacturing.
Kyari said Nigeria had identified its abundant gas resources as fuel for energy transition which informed its net zero commitments by 2060 and the declaration of 2021-2030 as Decade of Gas. “NNPC Ltd is an energy company with new investments in gas, power and renewables.
Key pipeline projects such as ELPS II, OB3 and AKK to deliver a total of 6.2 billion cubic feet of gas per day to demand nodes across the country are at various stages of completion.
“We have strong presence in the LPG value chain contributing about 45 per cent of domestic supply via JVs (Oso Bonny River Terminal) affiliates (Nigeria LNG Ltd and Ashtavinayak Hydocarbon Ltd) and subsidiaries of NPDC.
“The NNPC Ltd. is fully aligned with the Federal Government’s National Gas Expansion Programme (NGEP) and National LPG Expansion Plan initiatives and has a full-fledged LPG business unit established to commercially drive the National LPG penetration.
“Accordingly, NNPC Ltd is commissioned to deploy 740 LPG Micro Distribution Centres (MDCs) 37 Filing Plants and Skids in its 541 stations within the next three years,’’ he said.
Michael Kelly, the Chief Advocacy Officer and Deputy Managing Director, WLPGA, said the both countries had a powerful role to play in geopolitics for the rest of the century.
Kelly said the discussions would be followed up to foster the cooperation during its LPG week in Delhi in November, adding that looking at lessons learnt and grafting them into Nigerian context would be impactful.
He said the focus of the summit was to share India’s experience with the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PUMY) scheme implemented by the Indian Government in May 2016. This scheme pursued an aggressive LPG penetration drive, providing free cylinders, stoves and valves to end users.
This resulted to growth in LPG consumption in last 10 years, with the Indian National consumption currently at 30 million MT per annum and LPG penetration from 62 per cent in 2016 to 99 per cent in 2019. Mr Shrikant Vadya, Chairman, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. (IOC) expressed confidence that the summit would liberate the Indians to achieve Nigerian National LPG aspirations and strengthen India-Nigeria bilateral opportunities.
The Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) has reiterated its support to Nigeria’s energy transition and efforts of the Federal Government to actualise net zero carbon emission target by 2060.
MOMAN also said it had within the last one year organised several trainings for its members to improve efficiency and safety in the petroleum downstream sector operations.
Mr Olumide Adeosun made these known at a news conference to mark his first year anniversary as the chairman of the association on Friday in Lagos.
Adeosun said: “our members are committed to the energy transition and the sustainable decarbonisation of our respective businesses.
“As a collective, we have embarked on several impactful initiatives and projects that signals that commitment to cleaner energy.
” According to him, MOMAN has been engaging with the National Gas Expansion Programme (NGEP) to drive the expansion of the use of gas in Nigeria.
He said the association had recently reviewed the contents of the Federal Government’s Auto Gas policy and have sent in a memorandum with the association’s input to the policy.
“My members are ready to move as long there is regulatory and policy clarity,” he said.
Adeosun, who is also the Chief Executive of Ardova Plc, said as part of these efforts, the company had invested in the construction of a 20,000MT Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) storage facility in Ijora, Lagos.
He said this new capacity which would come on stream in 2023 would enable economies of scale for coastal gas delivery and help deepen the adoption of LPG as the cooking fuel of choice nationwide.
Adeosun also reiterated MOMAN’s position for the petroleum downstream sector going forward, especially with regards to the continued payment of fuel subsidy by the government.
He said: “We have tabled our recommendations to the government on our considered view on subsidy removal approach.
” It can best be summarised as full deregulation in phases.
These huge subsidy payments are simply not sustainable.
“The government should focus on palliatives for Nigerians such as mass transit, improve power supply, agriculture, education etc.
“Government may subsidise sectors that would stimulate sustainable economic growth.
“Overwhelmingly the right course of action is a clear trajectory toward full implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021, as it is a very well thought out legislation that would ultimately cause the petroleum industry in Nigeria to grow.
“ Listing some of the achievements of his administration in the past one year, Adeosun said it included engagements with stakeholders such as the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the National Assembly and the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.
He said MOMAN had also engaged the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, Dangote Refinery and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd. and the media.
“These engagements have all been in a bid to ensure that downstream positions and our customers’ interests are well articulated and documented.
“The goal has always been to develop good working relationships with the regulator and positively impact the petroleum sector,” Adeosun said.
He said MOMAN member companies, being the heritage of International Oil Companies (IOCs) who have operated in Nigeria in some cases for over 100 years, were the custodians of years of operational experience and evolved industry competencies.
Adeosun said: “It was our opinion that under investment arising from years of operation under the subsidy regime has led to a degradation of equipment, industry knowledge and practices.
“In response, MOMAN established regional collaborations with other industry associations across Africa.
We share best practices and collaborate on various fronts ” We have, therefore, pooled our resources and recently published compendiums of best practices for the downstream industry in Nigeria” he concluded.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has questioned the veracity of claims by a former high-level boxing and taekwondo official of widespread bribery and corruption within the movement.
In a series of interviews, Ho Kim accused the IOC of complicity in the elevation of CK Wu to the position of president of AIBA, now rebranded as the International Boxing Association (IBA).
Kim served under Wu as AIBA’s executive director for eight years until his dismissal in 2015. Kim also claimed to have facilitated the delivery of cash and cars to IOC members in order to ensure taekwondo was accepted as an Olympic sport in 2000. This was through his then role as head of marketing and PR at the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF).
The IOC described Kim as a long-time “persona non grata” within the movement.
It confirmed the South Korean official had not contacted the IOC ethics commission, or its integrity and compliance hotline, with his accusations.
The IOC said in a statement: “The International Boxing Association (AIBA), how it was called at the time, dismissed Mr Ho Kim in June 2015. “Throughout all this time, even before his dismissal, Mr Ho Kim was for many years a persona non grata at the IOC.
” The IOC implied Kim’s role had been a factor in its decision to suspend recognition of AIBA in 2019 due to governance concerns.
The IBA remains blacklisted and, as a consequence, boxing has been left off the initial list of sports proposed for the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.
The IOC referenced a report by an inquiry committee into AIBA in 2019, which led to its suspension, which found: “Mr Ho Kim … continues to provide regular information to the IOC regarding the management of AIBA.
“The opacity of the relationship between AIBA and this former executive director appears to be confirmed by the AIBA expenses 2018, which include consultancy fee payments to Mr Ho Kim; Deloitte was not able to ascertain the basis of such payments.
” Wu was elected president of AIBA in 2006. He has been accused of presiding over a culture of corruption and of plunging the organisation into a financial crisis prior to his departure in 2017. These are however charges he continues to deny.
World Taekwondo said it had “absolutely no knowledge” of Kim’s claims.
He had claimed that IOC officials with voting rights were bought off with cash in brown envelopes in order to ensure its inclusion as a full medal sport at Sydney 2000. World Taekwondo — which dropped Federation from its name in June 2017 — said in a statement: “World Taekwondo has absolutely no knowledge about any of these allegations against the former administration.
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By NJ Ayuk, CEO of the African Energy Chamber (www.EnergyChamber.org) After US energy company Enron grabbed global headlines in the early 2000s for accounting and corporate fraud, attention quickly turned to those responsible for the company's actions.
Ultimately, Enron executives Kenneth Lay, Jeffrey Skilling, and Andrew Fastow were convicted of federal felonies.
That was the appropriate response.
When corporations engage in illegal behavior, the people responsible face repercussions, and often do.
Why, then, have the executives of Swiss-based mining and commodity multinational Glencore Plc been spared the consequences of responsibility for years of corrupt behavior?
In May, two of the company's subsidiaries pleaded guilty to various charges of market manipulation and bribery in various countries following extensive investigations by Brazil, the United Kingdom and the United States.
A month later, a Glencore subsidiary pleaded guilty to seven bribery charges related to its oil operations in Cameroon, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and South Sudan.
I realize that the US, UK and Brazil have imposed over $1.5 billion in fines on Glencore, and more could follow after the Swiss and Dutch investigations are completed.
But the repercussions should not be limited to fines.
No company has pleaded guilty to so much corruption.
We find it extremely troubling that executives who sanctioned and profited from corruption have, thus far, escaped unscathed.
The African Energy Chamber firmly believes that Glencore's leaders must be held accountable for their actions.
Anything less sends the message that “bribery is a necessary evil” in regions of the world like Africa.
That is not true.
Now is the time to make that reality very clear to the corporate leaders who do business here.
Brazen behavior It is important to note that Glencore's actions were more than a one-time event.
Glencore International AG and its subsidiaries bribed officials in seven countries for more than a decade.
In fact, corrupt behavior was well ingrained in the company culture.
The bribe was simply one of their operating expenses.
It is also galling to see how Glencore behaved in African countries.
In 2015, for example, when Glencore wanted to buy cargoes of oil from Nigeria, it handed over $50,000 per cargo for what it described as "advance payment."
The result for Glencore: $124 million in illicit profits.
The results for Nigerian government, business and communities: missed opportunities to engage in productive partnerships with companies interested in creating jobs, supporting local businesses, sharing knowledge and fostering economic growth.
Glencore has also managed to avoid the consequences of unethical business dealings in Africa.
In one case, after the company was sued for breach of contract in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and fined $16 million in damages, Glencore paid the judge $500,000 and the lawsuit “was gone”.
Glencore has admitted to paying $27.5 million in bribes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo alone.
Imagine if Glencore were an African company Adding insult to injury in the Glencore scandal are the obvious double standards we have been seeing.
Consider IOC due diligence and know-your-customer (KYC) policies for doing business in Africa.
IOCs tell local business representatives who dare to bribe or tip a police officer harassing them on the streets that they don't do due diligence.
They will never be contracted for the provision of goods or services.
I want to be clear: I respect companies that demonstrate high standards of ethical behavior.
The problem arises when those standards are not applied uniformly.
At the same time that African companies are being scrutinized for the slightest hint of corrupt behaviour, Glencore continues to do business with oil, gas and mining companies that claim to be champions of transparency.
Banks also continue to work with Glencore.
Aside from some negative attention and financial repercussions, Glencore appears to be avoiding serious consequences for its actions.
Last spring, I petitioned the Oslo-based Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) to terminate Glencore's membership, pointing out that the company's participation in the EITI began when Glencore was engaged in the exact type of behavior that the initiative strives to eradicate.
That has not happened.
EITI raised concerns about Glencore's behavior in a statement from its chairman, Rt Hon Helen Clark, but nothing else has emerged.
Their silence is a betrayal of the very principles they hold dear.
Let's look at the sanctions imposed on Glencore.
They're big, but when you consider Glencore's size and resources, it's hard to imagine they'll have a significant impact.
On the contrary: Glencore appears to be prospering.
In a recent article, UK-based Proactive Investors Limited noted that Glencore shares have risen in value by more than 50% in the past year.
“One reason is that all the ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) bluster about ending coal use is now being dismissed by one European country after another, and Glencore produces a lot of coal,” Proactive writes.
And that's only part of the picture for Glencore.
As Christopher Helman wrote for Forbes, “Glencore is in the enviable position of being among the world's largest energy traders at a time of rising prices and scarcity, as well as one of the largest miners of metals such as copper, aluminum and cobalt, all vital.
in the manufacture of batteries for electric vehicles and other alternative energy sources”.
Which means that while billions of dollars in fines may sting a bit, Glencore probably won't feel it in the long run.
Glencore's African victims are not so bulletproof, but we have yet to hear of compensating them for the corruption and injustices that have taken place in their countries.
Africans, then and now, need good governance to meet their needs, grow the economy, address energy poverty, create jobs and business opportunities, and foster stability.
Bribery undermines all of that.
Currently, African oil and gas producing countries are struggling to maintain their energy industries, which are capable of supporting the goals listed above, against tremendous pressure from environmentalists and Western countries who want to see an immediate transition to green energy in our continent.
Yes, Europe has relaxed a bit in looking to Africa to help lessen its dependence on Russian oil, but that won't last forever.
Glencore's corrupt acts and manipulation have robbed African countries of some of the precious time they need to fully capitalize on their oil and gas resources.
And the damage doesn't stop there.
As I have written more than once, corruption is not a new problem in Africa, but it is one that many are working to eliminate.
Corruption robs people of justice.
Instead of empowering people to improve their lives, it entrenches communities in poverty.
It is an ingredient for dissatisfaction, lack of trust in government leaders, instability and even violence.
Yes, every corrupt act Glencore engaged in involved another party: a scope had to accept their bribes.
But the company's “full” acceptance of the bribe and the grotesquely large payments it handed out only helped corruption become more entrenched in Africa.
Once again, Glencore's corruption is more than a company: it all goes back to the people who make the decisions.
So yes, investigating Glencore was the right decision.
The financial sanctions were appropriate.
But those steps are simply not enough.
Glencore should face the same kind of repercussions that African companies would face for continued blatant corruption.
You shouldn't be doing business as usual.
And neither should the executives behind Glencore's stock.
President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Limited and it’s subsidiaries to step in and fix section 4 of the East-West Road.
The portion of the road is from Eleme roundabout to Onne Junction, through the tax credit scheme.
Buhari made the remarks at the opening ceremony of a meeting of the 5th National Council on Niger Delta in Uyo on Thursday.
“The East-West Road project which is now being handled by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, is the largest infrastructure project in Nigeria.
“It is a very strategic road, connecting the country’s busiest and foremost commercial cities in the region.
“This would be expeditiously addressed, considering the importance of the road to our national economy,” Buhari said.
Buhari, who was represented by Mr Mohammed Abdullahi, the Minister of Environment, reassured that the completion of the East-West Road was a top priority for this administration.
The President noted that one of the cardinal mandates of his administration was to tackle corruption.
He explained that Forensic Audit of NNDC had been submitted, noting that the implementation of it’s recommendations had begun in phases.
“I hereby assure you that this process will eventually bring about the constitution of a new Board for the Commission, which is the desire of most stakeholders in the region,” he said.
Mr Umana Umana, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, said the objective of the conference was to canvass for more and sustained collaboration with development partners and other stakeholders in the formulation and implementation of policies and programmes designed for the improvement of life in the Niger Delta Region.
Umana said the meeting was important item in the ministry and other stakeholders for the opportunity to take stock of collective engagement with the mandate of reinventing the Niger Delta Region.
He said that the theme of the council meeting was: “Harnessing 21st Century Development Initiatives and Strategies for Greater Development impacts in the Niger Delta Region.
” He said the theme further addressed the urgent need to constantly develop new strategies that could help Federal Government to reposition the Niger Delta for a better economic standing on infrastructure, healthcare, manpower development and security.
Umana said that the ministry was partnering relevant agencies, development partners, International Oil Company (IOCs) and other stakeholders on infrastructure development, investment in social services and institutional capacity building for Niger Delta Region to achieve it’s mandate.
Umana who is also the Chairman of Council, promised to publish a compendium of projects undertaken by the ministry in all the Niger Delta Region.
Africa Oil Week (AOW) (https://Africa-OilWeek.com) is proud to announce Seplat Energy Plc. as a gold sponsor of Africa Oil Week. Nigeria's independent energy company will be represented at AOW, which takes place in the heart of Cape Town. Organized by Hyve Group Plc., this unmissable event will bring together key energy stakeholders from 3-7 October in Cape Town under the theme: Sustainable Growth in a Low Carbon World.
Seplat Energy Plc is listed on the Nigerian and London Stock Exchanges with a strategic focus on the Niger Delta of Nigeria.
The company was formed in June 2009 to specifically pursue oil and gas exploration and production opportunities in Nigeria, and in particular divestment opportunities arising from the portfolios of the parent IOC.
Seplat Energy remains committed to its mission of providing diversified and profitable energy solutions in a sustainable manner through operational excellence, a skilled workforce and an effective partnership.
Seplat Energy will be well represented at AOW 2022 as sponsors of the Evening Networking reception taking place on Tuesday 4th October.
The reception is a great opportunity to enjoy drinks with colleagues and fellow delegates on site while relaxing after the first day of content.
The reception is open to both Africa Oil Week and Africa Green Energy Summit attendees.
Seplat Energy CEO Roger Brown will introduce the session, "Energy Security in an Ever-Changing Energy Landscape."
Seplat Energy's mission is to lead the energy transition in Nigeria that also drives social and economic prosperity.
Its main objective is to meet Nigeria's energy needs in a responsible manner.
CEO Roger Thompson Brown explains how the name change reflects the company's beliefs for the future.
“Our name change to Seplat Energy reflects our belief that the biggest opportunity ahead is to supply the right mix of energy for Nigeria's young and rapidly growing population and drive Nigeria's transition to cleaner, more affordable energy.
make it accessible to everyone."
Paul Sinclair, Vice President of Energy and Director of Government Relations at Africa Oil Week, said: "We are pleased to welcome Seplat Energy as a Gold Sponsor of AOW 2022, and we thank them for their support."
“Seplat Energy's mission is to lead Nigeria's energy transition with accessible, affordable and reliable energy, which is a great reflection of the spirit of AOW,” added Sinclair.
More information at https://www.SeplatEnergy.com
The Senate and quest for good governance, accountability
The Senate and quest for good governance, accountability
By Kingsley Okoye, News Agency of Nigeria
Since the return to civil rule in 1999, Nigeria’s journey to good governance has continued to evolve with positive and sometimes, not very palatable legislative narratives.
The legislature which is one of the pillars of democracy not only makes laws but also ensures accountability in public spending.
Although the parliament has received commendation for its strides in the delivery of dividends of democracy, observers say that the two chambers of the National Assembly, the Senate and House of Representatives, can do better given some incidents that have taken place over the years.
With particular reference to the Senate, some political analysts say they are uncomfortable with some of the unpleasant narratives that have emanated from the red chamber over the years.
Since the latest democratic experience, the Senate has produced numerous legislations that testify to its contributions as a bastion of democracy in the nation.
Some observers of developments in the nation’s political scene disagree and point out that, for instance, several probes of government Ministries, Agencies and Departments (MDAs) through the Senate Public Accounts Committee have not produced expected results.
Some of the recent high profile probes are that of the N1.05 billion Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, Akwa Ibom and the N61.1 billion Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF).
For instance, Mr Imohimi Onogie, an Abuja-based criminal expert and law lecturer, said the Senate probes have not been effective because they often give culprits opportunity for unnecessary defence.
“Imagine, the Senate committee on the Oron probe asking the rector to go and bring details.
The fact that the rector and others parties appeared before the probe panel with little details make them culpable,” he said.
Similarly, a recent media report quoted Mr Seun Lawal, a political analyst, as saying that the Senate should demonstrate that it is capable of ensuring that those entrusted with public resources are held accountable.
Having virtually eliminated Legislature-Executive friction which has hampered governance in the past, the Senate insists that it has the created the environment to effectively discharge its duties.
Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, said that the 9th Senate has fared well in promoting accountability and transparency in public spending, adding that probes remain only one of the numerous functions of the Senate.
At its second anniversary session in June 2021, Lawan in a speech entitled “Beholding the Silver Lining in Nigeria”, said the Senate has shown exceptional patriotism in seeking solutions to challenges facing Nigeria.
“The 9th Senate has also aligned with the executive in the fight against corruption, because the malaise has been a bane in our development efforts.
“The achievements we made in transparency and accountability are reflected in our dutiful oversight functions, the exposure of inordinate practices during public hearings, and budget defenses and in seeking clarifications for hazy expenditures and procurements, are feats that we have to sustain, to harness the longer-term benefits,” Lawan said.
The cumulative effect of these interventions, according to Lawan, is that Nigeria moved out of recession in the last quarter of 2020 with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate of 0.51 per cent in real terms in the first quarter of 2021; and improved job opportunities for youths.
The Senate President said through national assembly legislative duties, jobs have been created, citing the N-Power approval which produced over 500,000 employment opportunities for Nigerians in the last two years alone.
According to him, 742 bills were introduced into the 9th Senate in the last two years, out of which 58 have been passed, while 355 bills have sailed through first reading.
He said 175 bills have also gone through second reading and are before relevant committees for further legislative actions.
Notable among the bills are deep offshore and inland basin production sharing contracts act 2004 (amendment bill, 2009); the finance bill 2019 (Nigeria Tax and Fiscal Law) (SB.
The latter saw the amendment of seven existing tax laws and the Companies and Allied Matters Act, Cap C20 LFN 2004 (Repeal and Reenactment) Bill 2019 (SB.
270), have also been passed.
He said the deep offshore and inland basin production sharing contract act amendment bill, 2019, passed by the Senate and had since received presidential assent would increase revenue accruing from International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in the country from 150 million dollars to 1.5 billion dollars annually.
Other bills recently passed by the Senate to drive and accelerate national development are the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), the Electoral Act, Electricity Bill 2022, National Health Insurance Authority Bill 2022 to ensure universal health coverage for 83 million Nigerians among other bills.
Lawan’s position is supported by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs; Sen. Ajibola Basiru in a recent statement said the 9th Senate has been proactive in discharging its duties.
Basiru said the Red Chamber had helped to provide a window for the Federal Government to realise at least N320 billion by amending a relevant oil sector Bills.
He said the Senate took deliberate steps towards improving revenues from other sources notably Value Added Tax (VAT).
“Accordingly, it passed an Executive Bill which proposed an increase in VAT from 5 per cent to 7.5 per cent in record time by invoking its powers under Order 79(1) of the Senate Standing Rules.
“Another laudable and progressive intervention was the extensive work done on the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract (Amendment) Act 2019, to repeal and replace Section 16 of the Act,” he said.
According to him, the agenda entitled: “A National Assembly that Works for Nigeria” significantly serves as the guide for both Chambers of the National Assembly.
He said the passing of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), now Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) has given a definitive legal framework for the oil and gas sector.
According to the Convener, Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room and Country Director, Acton Aid Nigeria, Mrs Ene Obi, said the Senate has done well in the discharge of its responsibilities, especially in promoting electoral reforms through the Electoral Act Amendment Bill. She said that Civil Society Organisations were committed to working with the National Assembly in promoting good governance and accountability.
Dr Romanus Okoro, a Financial Analyst and an anti-corruption crusader urged the Senate, through its Public Account Committee, to re-introduce and pass the Federal Audit Bill. Okoro said the passage of the bill would further engender national development as recurring issues of financial impropriety in expenditure of MDAs and other forms of corruption would be checked.
According to him the bill will empower the office of Auditor General for the Federation to independently check financial corruption in MDAs, deepen transparency and block financial leakages.
Okoro believes the law would help address cases of recurring inability of MDAs to provide factual responses to queries on their expenditures raised by the audit reports at public hearings of the Public Account Committee of the Senate.
Ahead of their Sept. 22 resumption date and less than one year to the inauguration of a new Senate, observers say the 9th Senate has performed well though there is still enough time to contribute more to the development of the nation.
****If used please credit the author and News Agency of Nigeria
The Sierra Leone Petroleum Directorate will be coming to Cape Town to attend and participate in this year's African Energy Week (AEW) conference and exhibition (www.AECWeek.com), Africa's premier event for the petroleum sector.
oil and gas taking place from 18 to 21 October - as a bronze sponsor.
With AEW 2022 representing the best platform where energy investment and market optimization agreements are discussed, negotiated and signed, and Sierra Leone seeking to attract foreign direct investment to maximize exploration activities and infrastructure development, the involvement of the Petroleum Directorate as a bronze sponsor it will be crucial in driving investment in upstream oil and gas in the West African country.
Since its inception in 2003, the Sierra Leone Petroleum Directorate has played an active role in promoting the potential of the country's hydrocarbon market.
Responsible for enacting competitive tax terms, launching massive exploration campaigns, and creating strategic alliances with International Oil Companies (IOCs) and regional parties such as the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), as well as the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons of Equatorial Guinea, the Directorate has been and continues to be fundamental in unlocking its resources and taking advantage of regional associations.
Now, with the regulator launching the country's fifth licensing round in 2022 and seeking better collaboration with IOCs and other African oil and gas producing countries and companies, AEW 2022 presents the best platform for Sierra Leone to accelerate its market development.
of oil and gas.
Following the discovery of an estimated recoverable resource of 8.2 trillion cubic feet of gas and 234 million barrels of oil by Innoson Oil and Gas in the country in April 2021 and the launch of new drilling campaigns, Sierra Leone is on the cusp of major oil operations and gas discoveries.
As such, there are numerous opportunities available to investors as the country seeks accelerated development in 2022 and beyond.
“The Chamber welcomes the Sierra Leone Petroleum Directorate as a bronze sponsor in this year's edition of AEW.
With Sierra Leone moving with great determination towards the prosperity of its hydrocarbon sector, AEW 2022 is the best place to sign game-changing energy deals.
With only 26% of the country's population having access to electricity, hydrocarbon resources will play a key role in driving electrification and driving socio-economic growth.
In this regard, the Chamber wishes to extend cooperation with the management to ensure that the country achieves its energy security goals”, says NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber (AEC), adding that, “The moment of investing in African oil and gas is now, and countries like Sierra Leone offer lucrative opportunities that the Chamber urges investors to take advantage of.” Representing a thriving and highly attractive hydrocarbon market, the presence of the Sierra Leone Petroleum Directorate at AEW will be crucial in shaping important discussions on the best approaches to maximize the exploration, production and exploitation of hydrocarbon resources to make that energy poverty becomes history in Africa.
As a bronze sponsor, the Sierra Leone Petroleum Directorate will have access to exclusive networking forums and panel discussions at AEW 2022, Africa's largest and most diverse energy event, where the regulator will promote investment opportunities in the upstream and midstream segments of Sierra Leone.
while establishing contacts with potential project partners and investors, as the country seeks to position itself as a net producer of hydrocarbons.
This week, a high-level delegation led by the Hon. Tom Alweendo, Minister of Mines and Energy of Namibia, is making a diplomatic visit to the regional gas leader, Equatorial Guinea, with the aim of strengthening energy ties and expanding local content dialogue between the two nations.
With the visit underway, a series of bilateral meetings, site visits and collaborative discussions paved the way for further cooperation between the two nations.
During the visit, the Namibian delegation composed of H.E. Minister Alweendo; the Commissioner of Petroleum, Maggy Shino; and the director general of the Namibian National Petroleum Corporation (NAMCOR), Immanuel Mulunga, among other dignitaries, paid a visit to the Punta Europa liquefied natural gas (LNG) complex in Equatorial Guinea (EG LNG), where the delegation obtained information about facility operations, challenges and successes.
For Namibia, the site visit provided a unique understanding of how the facility operates, while for Equatorial Guinea, the opportunity to share best practices regarding gas monetization in Africa.
Since then, several bilateral meetings have taken place between the Namibian delegation and the executives of Equatorial Guinea.
First, NAMCOR met with Juan Antonio Ndong Ondo, General Director of the national gas company of Equatorial Guinea, SONAGAS, as well as Vicente Abeso Mbuy, First Deputy General Director of the National Oil Company of Equatorial Guinea (NOC).
During the meetings, the parties discussed the role NOCs play in driving oil and gas developments in Africa; training and development of nationals; and the role that gas plays in driving local and regional economies, with SONAGAS and GEPetrol providing key insights into strategies for gas monetization as well as rapid resource development.
Following these meetings, Br. Minister Alweendo met with HE Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons of Equatorial Guinea, and discussions largely focused on how Namibia can secure investment and accelerate hydrocarbon development.
Having made two major oil and gas discoveries this year, Namibia is committed to bringing these developments online as soon as possible, with the perspective of Equatorial Guinea key to helping the country achieve this goal.
In May 2007, the first shipment of EG LNG was delivered, making it one of the fastest LNG projects in terms of time from final investment decision to first shipment.
As such, Bro. Minister Alweendo hopes to replicate this achievement, with both ministers emphasizing the role that local content will play.
Speaking about the role of local content, Minister Obiang Lima encouraged the Namibian delegation to work closely with the NOCs to continue the success story of EG LNG.
At the inception of EG LNG, a strong emphasis was placed on national staff development, as well as integrating nationals into the EG LNG workforce.
Not only did this enable world-class community engagement between International Oil Companies (IOCs) and the national workforce, it supported the government's local content agenda, initiating further programs to build the capacity of local suppliers and contractors.
Hoping to reflect this success, a group of Namibian engineers will remain in Equatorial Guinea for the next four months, training and working closely with citizens of Equatorial Guinea.
For Namibia, this will be key as the country unlocks the true potential of its oil and gas resources.
This year alone, IOCs TotalEnergies and Shell made two significant discoveries together with NAMCOR, just weeks apart.
The combined recoverable reserves for these two finds are estimated at four billion barrels, and the developments are expected to double Namibia's GDP by 2040.
Hoping to mirror these successes, other independent explorers have stepped up their own exploration campaigns, such as ReconAfrica and BW.
Kudu aggressively chasing their own finds.
As such, the Namibian hydrocarbons market is set to witness unprecedented growth, and the information from Equatorial Guinea only serves to push the burgeoning sector forward.
“When we have an African country that has the experience and the means, that is why we are here.
We have young Namibian engineers who will be seconded to the Ministry here so that they have more practical and on-the-job lessons.
In this way, it will speed up the process for us to develop the skills.
It's a new industry for us so we need to start developing those skills and this deal will really help us and we're grateful for that.
As Africa, we must start to increase the collaboration between us”, declared the Hon. Alweendo.
“Namibia recently had two discoveries in February and it is time that we as a country can engage and collaborate with Equatorial Guinea so that we can embark on the next phase in our industry and understand how we can do better.
, lessons that we can take advantage of and see what Equatorial Guinea has already done, especially in terms of local content, human development and industry on the ground.
These are skills and lessons that we want to be able to learn from them to develop our industry,” said Shino.
After the visit to Equatorial Guinea, the Hon. Minister Alweendo will depart for Senegal, where he will join other West African energy ministers at the 2022 edition of the MSGBC Oil, Gas & Power conference, which will take place under the auspices of HE Macky Sall, President of Senegal and current President of the African Union.
During the conference, Br. Tom Alweendo will deliver a keynote address, participate in several high-level bilateral meetings, and help drive discussions on a just energy transition in Africa.
Namibia and Equatorial Guinea will also play prominent roles during the African Energy Week in Cape Town.