Wednesday, 6 February 2019

We Won’t Sell NNPC, Refineries, FG Assures

The Federal Government has assured Nigerian workers that it had no plans or agenda to sell any of the nation’s refineries or the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

The Federal Government said anybody who was nursing plans to sell the assets does not have the interest of Nigerian workers at heart.

Speaking at the 12th Quadrennial National Delegates Conference of the NLC in Abuja, on Tuesday, President Muhammadu Buhari, who was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, said government was determined to attain the decent work agenda, which involves opportunities for workers, saying it will deliver a fair income, security at work places, and social protection for families.

“I want to reassure you of the commitment of this administration to the issue of welfare of workers. This is evidence of numerous programmes and policies that have been initiated by this administration in promoting the interest of the wellbeing of our workforce.

“Meanwhile, the administration is committed to addressing other labour issues that are still pending,” Mustapha said.

In the meantime, the NLC has called for reversal of the power sector privatisation due to what it called chronic failures by the distribution companies (DisCos) to deliver quality power supply to Nigerians.

National President of NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, said: “Since the privatisation of electricity distribution, Nigerians are yet to see the fulfilment of promises of efficient service delivery.

“Instead, the electricity situation has gone worse with chronic failures by DisCos to supply prepaid meters, exploitation of Nigerians through estimated billings and reluctance to attend to basic complaints.

“Even with N39 billion bailout funds from government, the supposed private entrepreneurs have failed to turn anything around except, maybe, their pockets, unfortunately, at the expense of Nigerians. This must stop.

“We call on government to reverse the power sector privatisation because it has failed.

“Privatisation of public utilities has not generally proven to be the correct thing to do in most countries, even developed ones, according to a study released by Public Services International.”

He urged the Federal Government to resuscitate Nigeria’s ailing refineries in order to liberate the downstream sector.

Malabu: JPMorgan Asks UK Court To Stop $875m FG’s Suit

In another development, JPMorgan Chase & Co. on Tuesday asked a London court to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the Nigerian government that accuses the bank of failing to prevent $875 million in corrupt payments.

The global company insists it got the correct approvals from Nigerian officials before transferring the funds to accounts controlled by a former oil minister, Dan Etete, who has been convicted of money laundering, and that the government’s claim has no real prospect of success.

The Federal Government had last year filed a claim against JPMorgan Chase for more than $875 million, accusing it of negligence in transferring funds from a disputed 2011 oilfield deal to a company controlled by the former oil minister.

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The suit filed in British courts relates to a purchase of the offshore OPL 245 oilfield in Nigeria by oil majors, Royal Dutch Shell and Eni in 2011. At the core of the case is a $1.3 billion payment from Shell and Eni to secure the block that the lawsuit says was deposited into a Nigerian government escrow account managed by JPMorgan.

The suit said JPMorgan then received a request from finance ministry workers to transfer more than $800 million of the funds to accounts controlled by the previous operator of the block, Malabu Oil and Gas, itself controlled by former oil minister, Dan Etete.

It added that JPMorgan then transferred the funds to two accounts controlled by Etete, without sufficient due diligence to make sure the money did not leave accounts controlled by the Nigerian government.

But the Federal Government says that JPMorgan acted with gross negligence by allowing the transfer of the money without further checks.

It said JPMorgan should have known that, under Nigerian law, the money should never have been transferred to an outside company.

“If the defendant acted with reasonable care and skill and/or conducted reasonable due diligence it would or should have known or at least suspected that it was being asked to transfer funds to third parties who were seeking to misappropriate the funds from the claimant and/or that there was a significant risk that this was the case,” the filing said.

Last year, a Milan judge ruled that Shell and Eni must stand trial in Italy, where Eni is headquartered, for a separate legal case in which Milan prosecutors allege bribes were paid to Etete and others as part of the same oilfield deal, including sums that went to Etete’s Malabu.

Both Eni and Shell denied any wrongdoing in relation to that case. There are also ongoing investigations regarding the deal in Nigeria and the Netherlands, where Shell is based.

The licence for the offshore block was awarded to Malabu in 1998 under then-Head of State Sani Abacha, but Shell finalised a deal for the block with the Nigerian government in 2011. A British court, in a judgment late last year that agreed to return to Nigeria $85 million in frozen funds related to the deal, said that Malabu was controlled by Etete.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Tuesday said a total of 735 million standard cubic feet of gas per day (mscfd) was delivered to gas fired-power plants in November 2018 compared with October 2018 where an average of 627mscfd was supplied.

Details of the report contained in the NNPC Monthly Financial and Operations Report for the month of November 2018 showed that out of the 212.93 billion cubic feet (bcf) of gas supplied during the period, a total of 123.29bcf of gas was commercialised, consisting of 36.14bcf and 87.15bcf for domestic and export markets, respectively.

The report said this translated to a total supply of 1,204.76mmscfd of gas to the domestic market and 2,905.06mmscfd of gas supplied to the export market for the month, implying that 57.91% of the average daily gas produced was commercialised while the balance of 42.09% was re-injected, used as upstream fuel gas or flared.

The total gas supply in November 2017 to November 2018 stood at 3,071.13bcf out of which 466.44bcf and 1,317.77bcf were commercialised for the domestic and export markets, respectively.

A further breakdown of the report indicated that gas – injected, fuel gas and gas flared – stood at 1,286.92bcf.

The November report, the 40th edition in the series, announced a trading surplus of N2.06 billion which represented a laudable improvement of 116% over the previous month’s deficit of 12.66 billion. This increase in performance month-on-month was primarily attributable to improved efficiency of the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company’s (NPDC) operations.

NNPC also posted a total crude oil and gas sale of $668.57 in November 2018 which is 26.13% higher than the previous month. Crude oil export sales contributed $574.95 million (86.00%) of the dollar transactions compared with $425.00 million contribution in the previous month.

The November 2017 to November 2018 crude oil and gas transactions indicated that crude oil & gas worth $5.97 billion was exported.

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