Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Ogoni Community Drags Shell to London Court

Following a disagreement on the amount to be paid as compensation over the 2009 major oil spill that devastated their environment, the people of Bodo community in Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State have again dragged Shell Petroleum Development Company  (SPDC) Limited before a London Court.
The action was as a result of the failure of an out-of-court settlement between the community and Shell.
Former Secretary of Bodo Council of Chiefs and Elders, Chief Saint Pii, told journalists in Port Harcourt  that the community decided to return to court because Shell refused to pay the 500 million pounds they demanded as compensation as part of the out-of-court settlement. He accused Shell of trying to pay peanuts as compensation to the over 10,000 indigenes of Bodo community as well as organisations that were affected by the oil spill, which occurred as a result of equipment failure in the oil giant’s facilities located in the community.

Oando hires Tony Blair's wife

Cherie Blair, wife of former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, is believed to have been hired to defend Oando Plc in the case involving former Governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori, who is currently serving a jail term in the United Kingdom. Blair, an attorney, was said to have been paid 200,000 pounds deposit for the case. Ibori allegedly told a Swiss private bank in 2004 that he owned 30 percent of Oando, which paid $1.2 million into his account that year, a prosecutor told a British court.
However, the Group Managing Director of Oando, Mr. Wale Tinubu, denied that Ibori owned 30 per cent shares in the company, explaining that Oando’s has over 6.8 billion shares,  with over 300,000 shareholders, while Ibori’s equity interest remained insignificant.
Investors reacted to the stock on the Nigerian Stock Exchange yesterday as Oando led on the losers’ table with N1.15 or 10 per cent depreciation. From its opening value of N11.50, it closed trading at N10.35 per share.
Details of Ibori’s assets and how he kept them hidden from the public gaze through a web of shell companies and foreign bank accounts were being disclosed as part of a three-week confiscation hearing, which began in London. Prosecutor Sasha Wass told Southwark Crown Court that in 2004, Ibori had opened an account at Lugano-based PKB in the name of a shell company called Stanhope Investments.
Quoting from internal PKB documents, Wass told the court that Ibori had presented himself to the bank as the owner of an insurance company, half of a bank and 30 percent of Oando. She said that a total of $1.2 million flowed into the PKB account from Oando in three payments that year which had later been channelled to other accounts and were part of funds intended for the purchase of a $20 million private jet.

Seven Energy & Frontier Oil set to unleash $500 million gas-to-power project

The multi-billion naira gas processing facility, built by  Seven Energy and Frontier Oil Limited Joint Venture (JV), is estimated at about $500 million (about N80 billion), with capacity to ease-off about 10 per cent of gas-to-power challenges in the country is set for commissioning. The Project Director, Uquo Gas Processing Plant, Alhaji Abdullah Bukar said that the gas facility was built at the best international standards, and has product quality of up to 98 per cent methane and lower than 2 per cent CO2 (carbon dioxide). According to him, the plant has 200 million cubic feet per day (mmcfpd) processing capacity with two modules operating at 100 (mmcfpd) each, and also 2,000 barrels per day of oil. The plant, according to Bukar, is ready for commissioning, while plans are also in top gear to establish additional $100 million (about N16 billion) pipeline network from Uquo to Oron. He said Acugas, its downstream subsidiary has built a 62 kilometers pipeline from Uquo to Ikot Abasi, which will deliver gas to the 190Mega Watts (MW) Ibom Power station, adding that another 37 kilometers pipeline from Uquo to Oron is under construction to supply gas to the 560MW Calabar National Integrated Power Plant (NIPP).
 Seven Energy Group is an indigenous oil and gas exploration, development and production company that comprises, Seven Energy, Septa Energy and Acugas).

Friday, 13 September 2013

Shell offers to pay N7.5b for Bodo oil spill

Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) and the Bodo Community in Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State are inching close to a settlement in a compensation case which followed two major oil spills in 2008. About N7.5b has been offered already.
About 15,000 persons from the Bodo community sued SPDC over the development, which occurred in 2008 for which the company had accepted responsibility, although it insisted that the volume spilt and the number of those who lost their livelihood as a result are exaggerated.
Both parties nonetheless commenced talks on compensation but the talks broke down in 2012, following which the villagers filed a suit against the oil company at a London High Court in March 2012, seeking millions of dollars in compensation.
Sources close to the negotiators indicated that Shell has offered N7.5 Billion as compensation to the affected persons and the community. An official of Shell who would not discuss the figure offered however indicated that “SPDC and the Bodo community have both committed their full support to the clean up process currently in progress with the support of Bert Ronhaar, the former Netherlands Ambassador to Nigeria. 

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Saudi ready to meet crude demand

Top crude exporter, Saudi Arabia, has said its ready to supply whatever volume of crude is needed to meet demand. This was made known by Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi.
Saudi Arabia produced record high volumes of crude in August as it boosted output for the second time in two years to cushion the global oil market from supply disruptions. Naimi's comments come after producer group OPEC sought to reassure consumers there is sufficient supply to cover a plunge in Libya's output.
Despite rising Saudi output, benchmark Brent crude prices spiked above $117 a barrel in late August on the virtual shutdown of Libyan oil output and the prospect of U.S. military action against Syria. (O/R)
Brent traded at $111.67 after falling as the threat of a U.S. strike receded, but the market remains volatile on concern diplomatic efforts to avoid military action might fail.
Speculation about international political events is driving oil prices rather than any shortage in supply.
Saudi Arabia pumped a record 10.19 million barrels per day in August. Rising supply from Saudi helped offset losses from other members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. OPEC output in August fell around 124,000 bpd on the month to 30.23 million bpd, but the group said in its monthly report this week that the market was well supplied.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Ex-militant Urges Senate to Stop Probe of OPL 245 Deal

A former militant leader in the Niger Delta, Mr. Ebikabowei Victor Ben, popularly known as General Boyloaf, has urged the Senate to stop its investigation of the Oil Prospecting Licence (OPL) 245 deal and concentrate on the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), which has already abrogated discretionary award of oil blocks. The ex-war lord also decried the rising cases of oil theft and pipeline vandalism and commended the federal government for awarding contracts for pipeline surveillance to leaders of ex-militants and host communities, saying communities where pipelines cut across should be engaged to watch over these assets. In a statement on the state of the nation, the former militant leader also alleged that politicians had hijacked the well-conceived amnesty programme in the Niger Delta for their selfish interest, saying the current programme was not the vision of the programme the ex-militants agreed upon when they surrendered their arms and accepted amnesty for peace and development.
On the controversy over the ownership of OPL 245, he stated that the government of the late General Sani Abacha awarded numerous oil blocks inclusive of OPL 245 and OPL 246 in 1998. “In 2001, the government of President Olusegun Obasanjo revoked Malabu’s right to OPL 245 forcing Malabu to seek justice in court. Of note, other oil blocks, notably OPL 246 awarded by the late General Sani Abacha was not revoked only OPL 245 owned by Malabu was revoked. In 2002, the Obasanjo government re-awarded OPL 245 to Shell after a competitive bidding. But most interestingly, in 2006, realising the grave injustice meted on Malabu, the same Obasanjo government that revoked Malabu’s right to OPL 245 restored its full right of the oil block, thereby correcting the mistake it made in 2001. While the multinational Shell felt aggrieved and sought relief at the courts in foreign lands as multinationals always do, the matter dragged on and was stalemated. It was only in 2011, after about 14 years of acrimonious litigation that the federal government of President Goodluck Jonathan resolved finally and satisfactorily the various ownership claims of OPL 245 between all contending parties,” he explained.
According to him, up till today, the president has the discretionary power to award oil blocks, except the still born petroleum industry bill is passed into law and states otherwise, changes, amends or removes this prerogative powers from the president.
He urged the National Assembly not to reopen an already determined case, adding that between 2002 and 2003, the House of Representatives spent millions of tax payers’ money over a period of 10 months investigating what the Nigerian media sensationalised as the “Malabu Scandal.”

Sliding Libyan oil output, good omen for Nigeria

The fall-out of the Libyan political crisis that nearly crippled the country’s oil production may boost Nigeria’s exports of sweet crude next month. As traders await the October loading schedule, they confirmed that the development had already impacted positively on September exports, which were reportedly completely sold. There were indications that oil production in the North African country may completely halt soon. Libya had confirmed that oil production fell to around 150,000 barrels per day (bpd), from around 250,000 bpd in August. A board member of Libya’s National Oil Corporation, Bilqasim Shindeer el-Shibany confirmed, “oil exports almost entirely have stopped.” To add to the government’s woes, the capital, Tripoli, has been hit with water cuts for three days and electricity outages for the past few months lasting around four hours daily.  Libya’s prime minister faced increasing calls for his ouster, as strikes by government employees at oil export terminals estimated to have cost the North African country more than $5 billion in losses.
  Nigeria’s light oil is apparently bridging the supply-gap in the market, as it exports 63 cargoes of crude oil, totaling 58.2 million barrels or 1.94 million barrels per day (mbpd) for the month of September 2013.  Angola is closely behind Nigeria, as it unveils plans to export 1.70 mbpd of crude in October, an increase of 30,000 bpd from September, according to a loading schedule. Angola will export 52.8 million barrels on 55 tankers three more than were scheduled to load in September.