$1.3bn Malabu oil deal: Trial of 9 ex-chief executives of Italy’s Eni, Shell begins June 20

$1.3bn Malabu oil deal: Trial of 9 ex-chief executives of Italy’s Eni, Shell begins June 20 5 hours ago Malabu

$1.3bn Malabu oil deal: Trial of 9 ex-chief executives of Italy’s Eni, Shell begins June 20

5 hours ago

Malabu Oil Deal

The trial of nine current and former executives or contractors from Italy’s Eni and British-Dutch giant Royal Dutch Shell, including ENI Chief Executive Claudio D20escalzi, over a 1.3 billion dollars oil deal in Nigeria, will begin in Milan on June 20.

According to a Reuters review of court filings on Monday, the nine executives, were accused by Italian prosecutors of paying bribes to secure the licence to explore a large offshore oilfield in 2011.

Seven years ago, two middlemen launched civil lawsuits to seek payment for helping arrange a 1.3 billion dollars oil deal in Nigeria.

If found guilty, the individuals on trial face possible jail terms for bribery.

All deny wrongdoing, as do Shell and Eni.

The criminal trial will proceed in Milan on June 20 after a short initial hearing on May 14.

Some of the key issues in the trial came to light during the two separate civil suits filed by a Nigerian,
Emeka Obi, and a former Russian diplomat, Ednan Agaev, a Reuters review of court filings shows.

Both men said they were owed millions of dollars by a Nigerian company, Malabu Oil and Gas, for arranging
meetings with Shell and Eni.

The judge in Obi’s case upheld evidence that Obi arranged meetings between former Nigerian oil minister Dan Etete,
who was convicted of money laundering in an unrelated case in France in 2007, and representatives of Eni,
and that he negotiated on Etete’s behalf with Shell.

The judge held that in addition, documents produced in Agaev’s case showed that when Eni and Shell paid for the licence, they deposited more than one billion dollars into a Nigerian government escrow account in London but most of the money later ended up with Malabu, which was controlled by Etete.

The judges found that, in a conflict of interests, Etete had a stake in Malabu and was also oil minister when
the Nigerian government awarded the company the licence to explore the field in 1998, a decision that was
reversed in 2001, reinstated in 2006 and later challenged by Shell.

These details helped Italian prosecutors put together their case, industry insiders say.

Etete denies charges of bribery for channelling money from the deal to Nigerian politicians.

He and his lawyers did not respond to requests for comment by phone and email.

Shell said by email that if improper payments are shown to have taken place, they were not made with Shell’s
“knowledge, authorisation or on its behalf.”

The company said it believes the judges will find there is “no case” against Shell or its ex-employees.

Eni said by email that it could not comment on the case. It has previously said it concluded the deal with the
Nigerian government without the involvement of intermediaries and that it had no commercial agreement with Malabu.

But in her decision on Obi’s civil case in London in July 2013, Lady Justice Elizabeth Gloster upheld Etete’s
control of Malabu, court records show.

Basing her decision on testimony and documents, she said Etete had a stake in Malabu when it was awarded OPL 245
in 1998 and had been “the principal beneficial owner” since later that year.

She said Obi had meetings with Shell representatives before the OPL 245 deal, though she did not say how many,
and that he frequently met officials from Eni.

On one occasion, Etete, Descalzi, Obi and Agaev sat together in a Milan restaurant at a dinner for the “the
main personalities” to meet and assess the seriousness of their intentions, she said.

She said Obi should be awarded at least $100 million for his work as a “dealmaker”, the court records show.

Agaev launched arbitration to seek a $65 million fee from Malabu for his work as a go-between and eventually
reached an out-of-court settlement, details of which were not disclosed.

While the arbitration was under way, he asked a court in New York to freeze a Nigerian government account in
London that held 74 million dollars, most of it due to be transferred to Malabu.

The court said it had no authority to freeze the money but reviewed documents showing Eni and Shell had deposited
just over one billion dollars into the account as payment for OPL 245 in May 2011.

A further 208 million dollars was released from escrow as a “signature bonus” for the government, court records show.

Around 800 million dollars was transferred to Malabu in August 2011 and the rest was frozen pending the civil cases.

Agaev declined to comment about his civil case or the Milan trial.

Obi could not be reached for comment and attorneys who have represented him declined to pass on his contact details.

Eni and Shell said their payments were above board as they went directly to the Nigerian government.

JP Morgan Chase, which ran the escrow account, has denied negligence.

Domestic Gas Distribution Capacity Increases By 150%

Shell Nigeria Gas (SNG) Limited on Wednesday said the company had increased its domestic gas distribution capacity by 150 per

Shell Nigeria Gas (SNG) Limited on Wednesday said the company had increased its domestic gas distribution capacity by 150 per cent over the last six months.

SNG spokesman, Bamidele Odugbesan, said in a statement that the increase in capacity would enable the company to distribute more than 100 million standard cubic feet of gas to businesses in its western operations daily.

According to him, the new capacity is equivalent to some 400 megawatts (MW) of gas to power.

He said that the new capacity was enabled by the construction of a second train at the Agbara/Ota Pressure Reduction and Metering Station (PRMS) in Ogun State, from where SNG supplied its first customers with gas.

“The expansion project shows the commitment of Shell to Nigeria’s industrialisation through the monetisation of Nigeria’s abundant gas resources.

“The modules for the second train were fabricated by a Nigerian company which collaborated with its foreign partners to safely execute the project without any Lost Time injuries (LTI’s).

“We are continuing the campaign for gas by discussing with various stakeholders to deepen and expand domestic gas supply to existing industrial and new manufacturing clusters in various locations in Nigeria,’’ the company’s managing director, Ed Ubong was quoted as saying in the statement.

It said that SNG’s existing gas distribution system in the three states it operates – Ogun, Abia and Rivers – had boosted manufacturing output and helped these states to grow their internally generated revenues and provided local employment opportunities.

According to the statement, in 2017, SNG executed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Rivers State Government for the distribution of gas to industries in the greater Port Harcourt area and its environs.

It said that the agreement provided further opportunities for SNG to promote gas as a more reliable, cleaner and cost-effective alternative to liquid fuels in Nigeria.

“SNG has built a reputation for safety and credibility and is the only gas distribution company in Nigeria whose facility is ISO 14001 certified.

“In the course of its business, the company has implemented various development projects in the areas of its operations.

“ The company has also donated or renovated schools, provided information communications technology (ICT) centre, equipped science laboratories and launched numerous Road Safety Education and Awareness campaigns in 2016 and 2017,’’ the statement added.

SNG was established in 1998 and marked its 20th anniversary in 2018.

 

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Shell, Eni Trial On Corruption Re-Adjourned To June

The trial of top executives from oil majors Eni (ENI.MI) and Shell (RDSa.L) over alleged corruption in Nigeria kicked off

The trial of top executives from oil majors Eni (ENI.MI) and Shell (RDSa.L) over alleged corruption in Nigeria kicked off on Monday with a brief procedural hearing and a decision to re-adjourn next month.

At the next hearing, set for June 20, the Milan court said it would assess requests from third parties, including a series of international non-profit organizations, to join the case.

At Monday’s hearing Domenico Cartoni Schittar, a lawyer representing the Nigerian government, said he was stepping down from his role.

In comments in a signed document seen by Reuters, Cartoni Schittar said he had given up on a mandate which he said had become “awkward”.

The long-running graft case revolves around the 2011 purchase by Eni and Shell of Nigeria’s OPL-245 offshore oilfield for about $1.3 billion.

Milan prosecutors allege bribes were paid to win the license to explore an oil block that holds an estimated 9 billion barrels of oil but which has never entered into production.

Global Witness, a campaign group that has conducted its own investigations, has described the case as one of the biggest corruption scandals in the history of the oil industry.

Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi and former Shell Foundation Chairman Malcolm Brinded are standing trial along with 11 other defendants and the two companies.

All the accused have denied any wrongdoing.

The former Shell executives involved in the case have claimed a procedural error was made when the original ruling to send the case to court was taken and have applied to Italy’s

 

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Malabu Scandal: Court to hear case to force seizure of oil block

On Tuesday, the Federal High Court of Nigeria will hear a case to compel the Nigerian government to take back

On Tuesday, the Federal High Court of Nigeria will hear a case to compel the Nigerian government to take back one of Nigeria’s most lucrative oil blocks, which has been at the centre of a $1.1 billion multinational corruption scandal.

The case is brought by Nigerian civil society organization, Human Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA), who are demanding that the government “revoke the Operating Production Licence (OPL) 245 on grounds that the entire Malabu transaction in relation to the OPL 245 is unconstitutional, illegal and void as it was not legally granted, same having been obtained fraudulently vide corrupt practices.”

HEDA’s filings in support of its lawsuit argue that Eni and Shell’s current hold on the license is tainted by the original allocation of the license in 1998 to Malabu Oil & Gas, in which the then Nigerian Oil Minister Dan Etete held an ownership stake under a pseudonym, constituting the “height of conflict of interest and corrupt practices.”

HEDA also points to the Nigerian state’s own arguments in a related UK court case that the 2011 deal for the block with oil giants Shell and Eni was corrupt.

The motion filed by HEDA at the Federal High Court of Nigeria requires the Nigerian Attorney General to appear on May 8.

Lanre Suraju, Chairman of HEDA said “This action is instituted to expose the players in the notorious Malabu scandal in which extant local laws and policies were breached and blatantly ignored. We shall use the law to retrieve this national asset from unscrupulous persons and corporations.”

“This corrupt deal is spawning legal action all over the world. Global Witness wholeheartedly supports the move to revoke the rights to this oil block. Shell and Eni should not be allowed to profit from their appalling behaviour, and other oil companies should take note: it is no longer business as usual in the oil industry” said Barnaby Pace of Global Witness.

Shell and Eni currently hold the license and are pursuing a $13.5bn investment plan to develop the oil field. The companies have been dogged by corruption allegations around their 2011 deal to buy the block and are facing an unprecedented bribery trial which is scheduled to start in Italy on May 14. No company as large as Royal Dutch Shell has ever stood trial for bribery offences.

The criminal case brought by the Milan Public Prosecutor alleges that $520 million from Shell and Eni’s payment for the 2011 deal was converted into cash and intended to be paid to the then Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, members of the government and other Nigerian government officials. The prosecutor further alleges that money was also channelled to Eni and Shell executives with $50 million in cash delivered to the home of Eni’s then Head of Business for Sub-Saharan Africa, Roberto Casula.

Shell, Eni and their executives have denied all charges.

Antonio Tricarico of Italian NGO Re:Common said, “This case heralds the dawning of the age of accountability, a world where even the most powerful corporations can no longer hide their wrongdoing and avoid justice.”

For years, Shell had claimed that it only paid the Nigerian government for the oil block. But after the joint investigations of Global Witness and Finance Uncovered, Shell confessed it had dealt with convicted money launderer and former oil minister Dan Etete. Etete had awarded the OPL 245 oil block to his secretly owned company, Malabu, while serving as oil minister.

Former Nigerian oil Minister Dan Etete. [Photo credit: THE REPUBLICAN NEWS]

“This is not a case involving a few rotten apples,” said Nick Hildyard of Corner House. “The evidence points to systemic corruption – from the top down.”

A Shell spokesperson referred Global Witness to the company’s statement following the company’s indictment “We are disappointed by the outcome of the preliminary hearing and the decision to indict Shell and its former employees. We believe the trial judges will conclude that there is no case against Shell or its former employees.”

Eni has said in a statement on their website regarding the case that the trial “will give the opportunity to Eni to fully defend its position and to provide full evidence of the correctness of the actions taken with respect to the OPL 245 transaction.”

Regarding the allegations against Eni’s CEO, the company has said “Eni’s Board of Directors has reaffirmed its confidence that the company was not involved in alleged corrupt activities in relation to the transaction. The Board of Directors also confirmed its full confidence that chief executive Claudio Descalzi was not involved in the alleged illegal conduct and, more broadly, in his role as head of the company. Eni expresses its full confidence in the judicial process and that the trial will ascertain and confirm the correctness and integrity of its conduct.”

Neconde: ‘no kickback with Shell VP in OML42 acquisition’

Neconde Energy Limited, the operator of oil mining lease (OML) 42, has denied any kickback deal with a former Vice

Shell Neconde

Neconde Energy Limited, the operator of oil mining lease (OML) 42, has denied any kickback deal with a former Vice President for sub-Saharan Africa, Shell, Peter Robinson, during the acquisition of the oil field divested by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC).

In a statement denying the allegation, Neconde management accused Shell of malicious intention. It said: “Local and international media have published some news articles on the current investigation of a former Vice-President of Shell in Nigeria, Mr. Peter Robinson, in connection with a case of suspected bribery in the acquisition of Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 245 in Nigeria by Italy’s ENI and Shell. The same news reports also allege the involvement of Robinson in a suspected kickback in the acquisition of OML 42 by Neconde in 2011.

“Neconde, in an open and competitive bid in early 2011, acquired the 45 per cent joint equity interest in OML 42 in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria from Shell, Total and Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), Nigerian subsidiary of Eni. The acquisition was financed by a consortium of reputable local and international financiers.

“At the time of the acquisition, Neconde was aware that Mr. Robinson was a Vice President in Shell. However, other than the legitimate business of acquisition of OML 42  for which full consideration was furnished, Neconde did not have any other formal, or informal dealing with Mr. Robinson.

“For the acquisition of OML 42, Neconde paid the full consideration provided by its financiers and in accordance with the competitive bid process adopted by the three International Oil Companies (IOCs).

“At the end of the bidding process, these three IOCs also unanimously agreed, at their respective highest decision-making levels, to the sale of OML 42 to Neconde. Neconde did not pay any money, in whatever guise, to Mr. Robinson or any other person in Shell, TOTAL or NAOC to facilitate the acquisition of their joint interest in OML 42.

“Neconde completely denies any allegation or suspicion of kickback for the acquisition of its interest in OML 42 and the statement credited to Shell suggesting the contrary, is untrue and most unfortunate.”

This allegation by Shell, Neconde said, may not be unconnected with an ongoing arbitration instituted by Neconde against Shell in London in connection with Shell’s alleged “diversion of crude oil worth millions of US Dollars from OML 42 after the acquisition of the 45 per cent joint equity interest by Neconde and for other infractions.”

“Neconde views this unwarranted allegation of kickback as defamatory and is seriously considering its legal options in this regard.”

The post Neconde: ‘no kickback with Shell VP in OML42 acquisition’ appeared first on The Nation Nigeria.

Ijaws lament pollution, blame FG, Shell as 62 people die in 2 weeks

The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) has begged world leaders to intervene in the situation in

The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) has begged world leaders to intervene in the situation in Ogoniland and to put pressure on Nigeria and Shell Petroleum to immediately commence the implementation of the United Nations report on the Ogoni environment and avert an impending genocide.

A statement on Sunday by Fegalo Nsuke, MOSOP Publicity Secretary, disclosed that between 2nd and 17th of March 2018, Bodo community in Gokana local government area alone buried 33 persons while 29 persons died in K-Dere also in Gokana local government area.

Noting that similar reports are coming from all Ogoni villages, MOSP alleged that a state-sponsored genocide was going on in Ogoniland.

“We are concerned that Shell and the federal government of Nigeria is doing little or nothing about the restoration of Ogoniland and the immediate provision of water for the people even as communities record increasing death rates”, it noted.

“MOSOP flays this inhuman attitude of the Nigerian government and Shell and urge the world not to allow this happen in the 21st century.

“We take exception to the fact that just recently in December 2017, the Nigerian government approved $1billion to purchase arms to kill in the fight against insurgents, the same government has failed to provide an agreed sum of $200million annually for five years to save the lives of over 1million people in Ogoniland.

“We note that in the midst of these terrible conditions, government remain silent about the threats posed by Belema Oil Producing Limited and Robo Michael Limited, both Nigerian oil firms who are currently sponsoring rival groups in the hope to force a resumption of oil production in Ogoniland despite our repeated notification and firm position expressing our disapproval to oil production without the implementation of the UNEP report and other conditions,

“It is disturbing that while Ogoni is increasingly threatened by the effects of years of pollution from Shell’s reckless business practices, the Nigerian government is doing nothing as Belema Oil and Robo Michael continue to sponsor divisions and rivalry thereby increasing the potential for conflicts that can worsen the condition of people who are already faced with death from environmental pollution.

“We call on world leaders to stand up for humanity and save the Ogoni people from going extinct. The world must not be silent over this grave danger faced by over 1million people in Nigeria’s Ogoniland. We urge all men of conscience to stand up and stop Shell and the Nigerian government from executing this genocide.”

MALABU: Shell, Eni trial faces delay as case switches to new Italian court

Strong indications emerged Friday that there might be delay in the trial in Italy of Royal Dutch Shell and Eni

Strong indications emerged Friday that there might be delay in the trial in Italy of Royal Dutch Shell and Eni executives over alleged corruption in Nigeria involving the $1.3 billion controversial sale of OPL 245 oil block.

The trial which had been due to start on March 5, will be transferred to another court in Milan, delaying the proceedings, legal sources told Reuters on Friday.

The Milan tribunal had earlier in the week informed lawyers that the court which had been due to hear the trial had too many cases and could not guarantee that it would do so in a reasonable period of time, three sources told Reuters Friday.

The Malabu case involves the 2011 purchase by Eni and Shell of Nigeria’s OPL-245 offshore oilfield, reputed as one of Africa’s most valuable oil blocks, for about $1.3 billion.

Italian prosecutors had earlier indicted Shell and Agip for their role in the 2011 deal in which Nigeria sold the lucrative oil block to the two oil majors.

A former petroleum minister, Dan Etete, and a former Attorney-General, Bello Adoke, are amongst several Nigerians indicted in the deal, which was approved by former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Shell and Eni’s Nigerian subsidiary, Agip, are among those already being prosecuted in Nigeria, although they have denied wrongdoing.

Milan prosecutors alleged bribes were paid to win the licence to explore the field, which has never entered into production.

Last December, an Italian federal judge approved the prosecution of Royal Dutch Shell and Eni, scheduled for March 5. But indications emerged Friday that the court is expected to set a new trial date on Monday.

Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (Photo Credit: DailyPost)

Last week, a group of anti-corruption organisations asked the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, to explain the inconsistencies between his letter to President Muhammadu Buahri asking him to call off the prosecution of the main suspects in the Malabu oil deal, and the federal government’s application to a United Kingdom court that led to the repatriation of $85 million from the proceeds of OPL 245 frozen by the court.

Last October, during a meeting on assets recovery in Abuja, Mr. Malami had announced that the Nigerian government had successfully repatriated $85 million from the Malabu funds from the UK.

But in a letter to Mr Buhari, the same official in a dramatic turn dvocated for the government to drop the charges against the chief suspects, including his predecessor, Bello Adoke, former petroleum ministers, Diezani Alison-Madueke and Dan Etete, in the alleged bribery scandal.

Former Attorney-General of the Federation, Bello Adoke.

Former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke

Nigeria’s former Minster of Petroleum Resources, Dan Etete

In the letter, Mr. Malami had argued that his examination of the case file showed that there was no significant evidence to prove sharp practices by the accused persons.

He further argued that going ahead with the prosecution of the suspects will portray Nigeria in bad light before the international community and foreign investors, who could see Nigeria as a country that could not be trusted to respect its obligations to international partners.

Curiously, another top government functionary and Nigeria’s oil minister, Ibe Kachikwu, also advised the president to cede the oil block to Eni and Shell but a counter-memo by EFCC chair, Ibrahim Magu, made the president overrule Mr. Malami and ordered the anti-graft agency to continue the prosecution.

“We are similarly dumfounded that you should have argued to the President that the Resolution Agreement with Shell and Eni is “sacrosanct” when the FRN’s lawyers (acting on your behalf) have described the said agreement as “unconstitutional”, “corrupt” and “a conspiracy” to defraud Nigeria,” the anti-corruption group said of Mr. Malami’s conduct.

In the letter dated February 22 but which was made available to PREMIUM TIMES Friday, the group gave Mr. Malami until March 1 to clear the inconsistencies in his position and that of the federal government.

Shell wins Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry games for record third time

For the third time running, Shell has won the Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry Games (NOGIG), posting a commanding victory

For the third time running, Shell has won the Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry Games (NOGIG), posting a commanding victory streak in the history of the 30-year old biennial competition. At the end of the week-long NOGIG 2018 in Lagos, Team Shell topped the medal table with 11 gold, 11 silver and eight bronze, leaving the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and ExxonMobil in second and third places respectively.

“I’m excited at the performance of the team for making us proud,” said Osagie Okunbor, Managing Director, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) Ltd and Country Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria, while reflecting on the performance of the contingent. “The games present a good opportunity for all of us in the oil and gas industry in Nigeria to be physically active and network in an atmosphere of healthy rivalry, and I commend Team Shell for the hard work and commitment which have earned them a top place at the medal table for three consecutive years.”

NOGIG 2018 – the 17th edition – was held February 18 – 24 with 12 companies competing in football, squash, table tennis, lawn tennis, scrabble, chess, snooker, swimming, golf, basketball, 100 metres dash and 4×100 metres relay. The games came to a climax at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos with the finals of a football match, 100 meters sprint (men/women), 200 metres sprints (men/women) and 4 X 100 metres relay.

Speaking at the closing ceremony, the NNPC GMD, Maikanti Baru, chief host of the games, commended the athletes for competing keenly and fairly, and hoped that the quality of the games would continue to improve in the coming years. Both the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, and the Lagos State Governor, Ambode Akinwunmi, echoed the same sentiments in the goodwill messages they sent to the ceremony. The General Manager, External Relations, Igo Weli, represented Shell at the event and received the winner’s trophy from the NNPC GMD amid cheers and jubilation.

Team Shell celebrating their victory as overall winner of the 2018 Nigeria Oil and Gas Industry Games held in Lagos, last week.

The Manager, Team Shell, Alex Onumbu who is the also the vice chairman of the local organising committee of the games, thanked the management of Shell companies in Nigeria for their support and the athletes who made Shell proud. He said: “The amount of hard work and discipline that underpin our participation and victory can only be imagined. We want to pay tribute to our athletes, who in addition to their normal work, took the time and pains to train, compete and win. And of course, we also own a huge debt of gratitude to our management, because without their untiring support, we would have gone nowhere. This record victory is not just for Team Shell – it is for all of us!”

NOGIG began in 1986 as a squash tournament in Eket, Akwa Ibom State. The 18th edition of the games is expected to hold in 2020.

FG To Bar Multinational Oil Firms From Exporting Crude

The federal government hinted yesterday that it is putting necessary measures in place to stop multinational oil firms from shipping

The federal government hinted yesterday that it is putting necessary measures in place to stop multinational oil firms from shipping out all the crude oil they produce in Nigeria.

It also stated that it would compel Shell Petroleum Development Company, Exxon Mobil, Chevron and other multinational firms operating in Nigeria’s upstream sector to build refineries for local production in the country.

The minister of state for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, disclosed this at a breakout session of the maiden Nigeria International Petroleum Summit (NIPS) titled, “Deepening collaboration in the African oil and gas industry – challenges and opportunities for investment” in Abuja.

According to him, the government is planning to put frameworks in place for the multinational oil and gas firms to build refineries in Nigeria, thereby processing a substantial amount of crude that is produced from its oil fields.

He said, “We would get to a point where Nigeria, definitely, would be a major supplier of refined petroleum products. It just has to happen. Nothing else makes sense.

“We are also saying directly to oil companies that a time would also come when we would not be open to see them move around all the crude oil they produce in Nigeria.

“We will like to see integrated refining and integrated processing here. It gives us more jobs and creates more investments”.

He said currently, the nation has an average in-country refining capacity of 14 per cent, adding however that this would be upgraded to between 90-95 per cent in 10 months to meet rising demands.

Kachikwu said henceforth oil has to provide the resources to power the country, provide jobs for Nigerians and provide the operational environment transparent enough for others to take Nigeria seriously.

The session had in attendance the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Stuart Symington; Minister of Petroleum of Chad, Mr Bechir Madet; and the Secretary General of the International Energy Forum (IEF), Dr Sun Xiansheng, among others.

Kachikwu also revealed that the upstream sector of the country’s oil and gas industry will attract over $40 billion investment in the next five years due to the application of a new funding strategy it has deployed.

Attributing the development to government’s reinvention of its policies, the minister noted that the exit of the country’s oil company, the Nigerian Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) from the Joint Venture Cash Call (JVC) agreement with some international oil companies paved the way for the investments.

He stated: “We have been able to, through a lot of struggle, change the funding capacity for the upstream, and that had sort of energised investors in the upstream sector. Now we are beginning to see projects like Egina, $15 billion; Zabazaba, potential $10 billion; Bonga, potential $10 billion, and the likes.

It will be recalled that the government in December 2016 upon signing the exit agreement said a new funding model would be adopted that will not only attract new investment into the sector but will enable government to receive royalties, taxes and profit from its equity share of Joint Venture oil and gas production.

Kachikwu tasked stakeholders in the Nigerian oil and gas sector to take the challenges posed by the recent downturn in the price of crude oil in the global market as an avenue to change their operational mode, stressing that the commodity remain the vehicle that will be use to transform the country’s economy.

According to Kachikwu the summit was put in place to harness innovative ideas that will ensure that crude oil facilitate the economic growth of the country.

His words: “Oil has got to provide the resources to power this country; jobs for our people; and the operational environment that is transparent enough for others to take Nigeria seriously.

“Oil has got to provide the technical and advanced skills sets that are essential for us to export people out in to other African countries, and to become investors in other African countries. Something the banking sector has tried to do successfully over the last six to seven years”.

To excel in the face of the challenges the slump in the price of crude oil, Kachikwu tasked operators in the industry to apply innovative strategies that will lead to reduction in cost of production to stay in business.

He added: “If you cannot produce cheap cost oil, if you cannot diversify the processing of your oil; if you cannot look to internalising and externalising investment in the sector; if you cannot capture the requisite technological skills that are essential to help you operate efficiently, you are lost before you start.”

“I ask everybody to look at the challenges that we face, he said, noting that, “Africa is probably the continent with the least supply of power.

Declaring the summit open, President Muhammadu Buhari represented by the secretary to the federal government (SGF) Boss Mustapha, said the summit is designed to be Africa’s largest and most important platform and linkage to the world where technological breakthroughs will be unveiled.

He said, “NIPS is designed after the OTC in Houston and part of the objective is to deepen, enrich and provide leadership for Africa and make it one of the most important annual oil and gas events globally.

“This summit will afford Nigeria a unique opportunity to showcase to the international community policy direction and effort of government in the petroleum sector especially the new oil and gas exploration and markets, new measures to sanitize the sector, the expansion of investment opportunities to boost investors’ confidence, technological advancement, Nigerian content development, the institutionalization of reforms in the country’s oil and gas industry and the galvanization of Nigeria’s position as the leading oil producer in the continent of Africa”.

Delivering a goodwill message, the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, called for closer collaboration among African nations but across all sectors to leapfrog the economies in the continent.

Dr Baru challenged the participants at the summit to come up with practicable solutions to effectively develop Africa’s hydrocarbon resources, saying that discussions and interests alike would stir up strategies and actionable items that would crystalize into a veritable roadmap for the energy future of the African continent.

In his goodwill message, the Secretary General of the organization of petroleum exporting countries, (OPEC) Dr. Sanusi Barkindo applauded President Buhari for the role he played in securing the adoption of the historic OPEC/None – OPEC declaration of cooperation.

Commending the president, he said, “On behalf of the entire OPEC family, I will like to express our deep appreciation for his open and cooperative stance. His willingness to use his good office, international respect and admiration to intervene at the heads of states level and his flexibility in reaching a consensus position behind closed doors”.

Nigeria, he said, is consistently regarded as one of the respected members of OPEC particularly in the realm of consensus building.

Speaking of adoption of innovative approach to curbing the global oil price fall Barkindo said, “OPEC has embarked on one of the most innovative enterprises ever known in the history of oil – the declaration of cooperation. This innovation was a response to an unprecedented market turbulence which had a devastating effect not only in the industry but in the economies of OPEC member countries.”

The summit, which is the first of its kind in Africa, has its theme as, “Leading Africa’s Response to Global Oil and Gas Challenges.”

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