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Illegal refinery: Senate grieves over death of 110 victims of explosion in Imo 

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The unfortunate death of over 110 Nigerians caused by an explosion at an illegal refinery site in Abaezi community, Ohagi-Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State on Friday, April 22, 2022 became a matter that prompted a solemnity of sort as the senate mourned their death

The solemn session came after a point of order raised by Senator Rochas Okorocha representing Imo West Senatorial District. 
Okorocha, while relying on order 42 of the Senate Standing Order, 2022 as amended, informed his colleagues during plenary that the incident led to the death of 110 persons.
According to him, the tragic incident has thrown the state into mourning. 
He disclosed that the explosion was occasioned by illegal refining.
The lawmaker, called on the Federal Government to consider a legislation to provide for local technology for artisanal and modular refinery considering the gap in Nigeria’s refining capacity. 
Commenting on the incident, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, underscored the need for local refining of petroleum products to boost the nation’s revenue.
He, however, called on the federal government to take prompt action through the introduction of regulatory policies to prevent disasters associated with the illegal refining of crude oil in Nigeria.
Lawan said, “We cannot in any true sense benefit in a practical way from the oil and gas resources we have in Nigeria if we don’t add the value of refining it.
“Of course, we know what it means as at today, even though crude oil sells for higher, but because we have to import the refined products, the increase in price at the international market does not seem to confer any advantage to our country.
“So, that speaks volumes that we have to refine our petroleum products in Nigeria if we would have to enjoy the benefits of an endowment like that.
“And for Nigerians who get engaged and involved in this kind of illegal refining activities, I think government will have to take action.
“It is for government to come to decision on how we should be able to deal with this illegal activities. 
“On one hand, we may encourage private participation, in fact, that is the best way to go. But illegal refining again, at the moment, is causing a lot of damage to our country.
“So, it is a very dicey situation, but we have to utilise the ingenuity of our citizens who are creative and innovative, but in a much regulated way, so that we don’t experience these kind of disasters.”
The Senate, thereafter, observed a minute silence to mourn the victims of the explosion in Imo State. 

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Oil and gas

Tinubu rattles oil sector, directs NNPCL to remit crude sales revenue to CBN

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President Bola Tinubu
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President Bola Tinubu has directed the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) to immediately handover details of revenue from sales of crude oil to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Apparently, the move had sent some shock waves down the spines of some players as it is believed to be part of Tinubu’s effort aimed at monitoring revenue accruing to the Federal Government
The NNPC had over the years been solely responsible for the maintenance and control over crude oil sales after which it merely rendered accounts to the Federal Government.

It was reliably gathered that the CBN while confirming the development, said that with the Presidential directive, all receipts of payment for oil sales would now be forwarded to the CBN with immediate effect.

The new directive requires the NNPC to submit all receipts for crude oil sales to the CBN for vetting and documentation. This aims to close any potential gaps in reporting and ensure accurate records of oil revenue.

CBN Governor, Mr. Olayemi Cardoso, had earlier indicated that the collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and the NNPCL is to ensure that all foreign inflows are returned to the Central Bank.

“This coordinated effort will greatly enhance the Bank’s foreign exchange flows and contribute to the accretion of reserves,” he said.

Cardoso, who was delivering a keynote address at the launch of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) “2024 Macroeconomic Outlook Report”, said, “The expected stability in the foreign exchange market for 2024 can be attributed to the reduction in petroleum product imports and the recent implementation of a market-determined exchange rate policy by the CBN.

“This reform is designed to streamline and unify multiple exchange rates, fostering transparency and reducing opportunities for arbitrage.

“The resulting consistent and stable exchange rate will not only boost investor confidence but also attract foreign investment, elevating Nigeria’s appeal to global investors.”

“We are implementing a comprehensive strategy to improve liquidity in our FX markets in the short, medium, and long term. Our focus is on addressing fundamental issues that have hindered the effective operation of our markets over the years.

“Upholding the integrity of financial markets is crucial for building confidence. With the completion of an independent forensic review, we are addressing the backlog of valid FX transactions and we remain steadfast in our commitment to decisively address any infractions and abuses,” he added.

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Oil and gas

HOSTCOM commends NUPRC’S steadfastness in Devpt Trust Fund creation, management

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The Host Communities of Nigeria producing oil and Gas (HOSTCOM) has clarified the involvement of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) in the management of the Host Community Development Trust (HCDT) which has generated unnecessary agitation within the ranks of some misinformed entities who have resorted to issuing unwarranted threats in the media recently.
National President of HOSTCOM, Highness Dr Benjamin Style Tamaranebi (JP) said the involvement of the NUPRC is purely regulatory to ensure proper implementation to the benefit of all stakeholders and nothing more.
“It is necessary to state for the umpteenth time that the NUPRC is only involved in the execution of the HCDTs to the extant prescribed in the Petroleum Industry Act 2021 and the Regulations governing the implementation of the Trust which was approved by stakeholders and gazetted by the government. 
“The Commission is not unaware of the antics of those who are not comfortable with the new regulations but would prefer the status quo for which host communities were short-changed to continue.
“It is in the light of this that we would like to make the following clarifications for the sake of the undiscerning members of the public.
“It is important, first and foremost to reiterate that the NUPRC is a regulatory body established by law to oversee the upstream petroleum sector, thus its primary objective is ensuring efficient and sustainable petroleum resource exploration and production in Nigeria. “This includes safeguarding the interests of all stakeholders, including the oil and gas host communities.

“Part of the functions of the NUPRC is to superintend and monitor the implementation of the Host Communities Development Trust as stipulated in Chapter 3 of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), 2021 and the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Host Communities Regulation (NUPHCR), 2022. ”

Explaining further he said, Oil producing communities are expected to have a Board of Trustees (BoT) to superintend the HCDT as stated in section 240 through 244 of the PIA.
“It is imperative to apprise the public of the responsibilities of the respective incorporated trust which, amongst others, include the general management of the host community’s development trusts, disbursement of the capital fund (75% of the 3% annual OPEX) for the execution of host communities project and the appointment of fund managers to manage the reserve fund (20% of the 3% OPEX) as business venture (while 5% ot the 3%  OPEX is for administrative cost).

“The reason for the attacks on the Commission is the introduction of the  digital platform and implementation by OEM hostcomply, which has heated the  operators and to end the sharp practices of the oil multinationals and their cohort.
“With this HOSTCOMPLY host communities are confident and safe with their 3 % Annual OPEX without blinking eyes.

“The PIA expressly situated administrative fees in the 5 percent of the 3 percent to situate with the settlors. What the commission did was digitizing end to end administration of the HOSTCOM provision through HOSTCOMPLY and directing operators and stakeholders to subscribe to usage for transparency and avoid human interference.

“The point must be made clear that the NUPRC is not a signatory to any of the HCDT accounts rather only the settlors and the BOTs of the Host communities are signatories to the trust accounts as provided in Regulation 23 (5d) of the NUPHCR of the Commission, which is to ensure effective monitoring of the implementation and operationalisation of the HCDT process.

“It is worth noting that since the enactment of the PIA 2021, the NUPRC has been working assiduously to ensure compliance by Settlors to the provisions of the law with the overall objective of fully operationalising the trusts for the sustainable prosperity of the host communities. “This effort by the Commission has led to the incorporation of over one hundred (110) HCDTs and funding the requisite accounts for about fifty (50). 

“As the Mouth piece and Umbrella body we understand the imperativeness of safeguarding the HCDT funds for the full utilisation of the sustainable development and property of the host communities.
He callef on all stakeholders to cooporate and work with NUPRC to ensure that the host communities’ funds are efficiently and transparently managed for the benefit of the communities by working closely with the relevant leaders of the HCDT in driving positive change and development in the communities.

He commended the tireless, vibrant  Commission Chief Executive Engr Gbenga Komolafe for his pragmatic style of leadership geared towards improving the social inclusion and further make attempt to increase production beyond  OPEC quota by 2024 involving every critical stakeholders on board.

“We observed with keen interest how operators are doing everything  possible to frustrate genuine efforts by sponsoring uninformed persons against seamless flow 3% annual OPEX.

“The Settlors or Operators are the major problems  we have by failing to setup HCDTs and the mode of creating the trusts is another key problem where they supper imposing candidates of there cohort confusing the communities against the extant Law of PIA.

“Finally, we want to emphasise that HOSTCOM  is not comfortable towards the unpresidented delay in implementation of PIA proper in our communities after over 2 years of enactment of the Act (law) for communities to enjoy the dividends of the annual 3% Opex developmentstrides.

“HOSTCOM call on the Commission to list and publish and treat defaulting Oil Companies as stated by PIA.

“We also call on Community’s leadership to conduct themselves not to be used by Oil multinationals drag matters to delay the implementation of the PIA rather work out there differences.

“HOSTCOM Leadership reiterated  the complaint from Host communities in Andoni LGA HCDTs by Green Energy operations in OML11, SPDC in Khana, Gokana,  Eleme LGAS in Rivers State while SPDC in EA Host Communities at Bayelsa in EKeremor LGA, how they have denied or left out up till now .

“During our engagement  with various stakeholders across the Niger Delta oil-bearing communities we recorded numerous complaints against the settlors.
“Engr Gbenga Komolafe, FNSE and his team have done so well that from September 2023 today we have recorded over 130 HCDTS sported for registration and HOSTCOM restated its commitment to the sustainable development and empowerment of the communities.
“We remain dedicated to our mandate of ensuring peacefull co existence between settlors and communities for the interest of justice and fairness and we will continue to support the Commission for good regulations for the betterment of  host communities for sustainable development and prosperity.”

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Oil and gas

NNPC Limited remits N4.5tr revenue to the federation from January to October -Mele Kiyari

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***Says it is now getting the trust of global financial institutions with credit facilities

The successful transition of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to a commercially driven National Energy Company, the NNPC Limited has repositioned the company to the extent of delivering N4.5tr in 10 months, the Group managing Director Mallam Mele Kiyari has has indicated

Speaking on wednesday when he appeared before the Senate committee on Finace for 2024 budget defence said the company has never had a better situation than it does today as the transition has boosted the company’s image that it is currently getting the trust of everyone including the financial institution globaly, who now are lending to it so that it can do business.

According to him, the bold step taken by President Bola Tinubu also saved the company from liquidating, “The company is a creation of the national assembly. We are paying our taxes, we are paying royalties we are deliverying dividends to Nigerians, in this year alone up to October we were able to deliver N4.5tr of revenue to the federation, this company is changing, perharps this is the most transparent National Oil Company in Africa.
“The reason is very simple because this is the requirement of the law so the conviction of the company that to become transparent to the shareholders is the right thing to do.
“The end effect is that we are delivering value and also working and getting the support of all Stakeholders particularly the National assembly to support all our processes around crude oil theft and other associated infractions and we are seeing results.
Explaining further, he said more than anything else the support for this company is coming from the executive, particularly the President to making sure that we deliver value to this country.
“We make sure that we engage and deliver gas into our domestic market, it is very critical to national development. Prosperity for this country will depend on our ability to deliver power, deliver gas based industries into this country and we have seen the focus, we have seen the trajectory,
“This country is stabilizing, the micro economic indices are changing and we have also seen stability in the Foreign Exchange in the market, people do see high value of the dollar but what is important is that within the next quarter, I believe very strongly that the gap between import window and that of the parallel market will close and that is the spark of prosperity in our country, we are on a threshold of history and this country will prosper.

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