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Stakeholders mount fresh pressure over housing sector bills



Stakeholders mount fresh pressure over housing sector bills

Again, stakeholders comprising real estate developers, builders, engineers, estate surveyors and town planners are mounting pressure on the National Assembly to expedite action on the outstanding housing bills before it.

The housing bills, New Telegraph gathered, are yet to be passed by the National Assembly since 20O4.

They include the passage of Foreclosure Bill into law to legally resolve default issues in the housing sector; Review of Land Use Act of 1978; Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill 2018; Review of Federal Government Housing Loans Board Bill (FGHLB); Review of the National Housing Fund (NHF) Scheme Act 1992; Review of Mortgage Banks Act 1989 ( subsumed in BOFIA); Review of Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) Act 1993; and Review of the Trustee Investment Act 1962.

Others are Review of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) Act 1993; Review of the Insurance Act 2002; Review of the Investment and Security Act 1999; Review of the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) Act 1990; Climate Change Adaptation Policy; Policy Creating the National Council on Housing for Sector Regulation; and Securitization Bill and other  affordable housing policies.

Commenting on the bills, a former General Manager of Aso Savings and Loans Plc, Mr. Fonahanmi Idris, said that the various Acts should analyzed into areas of interest in the sector, adding that he was optimistic that if seen, they could be reviewed in line with current dictates.

New Telegraph also gathered that the Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN) was also putting the bills into priority.

Another affordable housing advocate, David Gamvwa, said it was sad that eight of the bills were initiated, prepared and sent to the National Assembly since 2004 by Professor Akin Mabogunje-led Presidential Technical Committee on Housing and Urban Development.

In his agenda setting for government, Adebayo reminded the Minister of Work and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, that urgent passage of the outstanding bills would facilitate rapid investment in the real estate sector and drive the economy.

Besides, he called on the minister to urgently partner with the Mortgage Bankers Association of Nigeria (MBAN), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and others to see that these critical bills are passed by the National Assembly.

Adebayo noted that funding has remained one of the most critical challenges for Nigeria’s housing sector, urging the minister to consider approaches that would ease access to funding low-income housing in the country.

Whether in terms of partnerships, policy developments or securing alternative finance models, Adebayo said that if access to funding could be guaranteed, a lot could be achieved in record time in the sector.

He lamented that mortgages and project constructions were stalled by limited access to funding.

He said: “Another critical mandate for the minister is to partner with relevant stakeholders in the sector to create standard data system in Nigeria that can be universally accepted to collate data, identify data gaps, integrate, optimise and expand knowledge set to meet current demands.”

This, he said should also included the adoption of high impact training that supports research and data generation by major stakeholders within the industry.

“Any plan or investment in the sector ought to be based on dependable data,” he said, quoting the stakeholders.

Adebayo urged government to facilitate process to tackle the backlog of issuance of consent and Certificates of Occupancy on Federal Government lands.

“There is the need to do more in terms of creating enabling policies around land title documentations, with government playing a larger role in assisting investors and supporting local building industries and materials,”  he said.

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US curbs: Huawei to give staff $286m bonus



US curbs: Huawei to give staff $286m bonus

Chinese telecoms giant Huawei Technologies said on Tuesday it will hand out 2 billion yuan ($286 million) in cash rewards to staff working to help it weather a U.S. trade blacklisting.

The world’s largest telecoms equipment provider has said it has been trying to find alternatives to U.S. hardware after the United States all but banned it in May from doing business with American firms, disrupting its ability to source key parts, reports Reuters.

The cash is a mark of recognition for work in the face of U.S. pressure, Huawei’s human resources department said in a notice to staff seen by Reuters. It will also double pay this month for almost all its 190,000 workers, a company spokesman said.

The cash rewards will likely go to research and development teams and those working to shift the company’s supply chains away from the United States, the spokesman said.

Details of Huawei’s plan were first reported by the South China Morning Post on Tuesday.

Many in the U.S. government believe that Huawei’s equipment, particularly its 5G networks, pose a security risk, because of the company’s allegedly close ties to the Chinese government. Huawei has denied the Chinese government plays any role in its operations.

Although granted reprieves from much of the U.S. exclusion, Huawei had been working to find alternatives after it witnessed the crippling effect of U.S. sanctions on its smaller Chinese rival ZTE Corp (000063.SZ) in early 2017.

The company is also the world’s second largest maker of smartphones and a surge in shipments of devices helped it to report a 27% rise in third-quarter revenue last month.

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South African Airways may cut more than 900 jobs



South African Airways may cut more than 900 jobs

South Africa’s struggling state-owned airline South African Airways (SAA) could cut more than 900 jobs as it restructures to stem severe financial losses, the airline said in a statement.

SAA said it had started consultations with its more than 5,000 staff and was talking to labour unions.

The airline has not made an annual profit since 2011 and is grappling with severe funding difficulties and an inefficient and ageing fleet of airplanes, reports Reuters.

South African officials have been searching for an investor to take a stake in the airline, but their efforts have so far been unsuccessful.

“We urgently need to address the ongoing loss-making position that has subsisted over the past years. That is why we are undergoing a restructuring,” said SAA acting-Chief Executive Zuks Ramasia.

“No final decision will be taken until the consultation process is concluded. However, it is estimated that approximately 944 employees may be affected.”

In a dramatic fall from grace over the past decade, SAA has lost its place as Africa’s biggest airline and a symbol of patriotic pride to become a source of frustration for taxpayers.

Analysts have long said its workforce should be cut to bring it in line with regional competitors.

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ICT / e-World

US state attorneys general meet to discuss Google antitrust probe



US state attorneys general meet to discuss Google antitrust probe

State attorneys general are meeting on Monday in Colorado to discuss their probe into whether Google’s business practices break antitrust law, according to two sources knowledgeable about the meeting.

Perhaps about a dozen states were expected to send representatives to the meeting, one of the sources said.

The gathering was expected to be similar to one held in New York in October, where state and federal enforcers from the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission discussed their probe of Facebook (FB.O), reports Reuters.

The probe of Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O), is being led by the Texas attorney general’s office. That office did not respond to a request for comment, and a spokesman for the Colorado attorney general’s office declined comment.

Google had no comment about the meeting in Colorado but pointed to a blog post from September in which an executive, Kent Walker, said that the company has “always worked constructively with regulators and will continue to do so.”

Texas sent the search and advertising giant a subpoena on Sept. 9 asking for information about its online digital advertising business, which generates most of Google’s revenue and where Google is a dominant player.

Google faces two other major inquiries – a U.S. Justice Department investigation and a probe by the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee – both of which have broad reviews of the big internet companies underway.

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Boeing: 737 MAX should resume commercial flights in Jan; shares jump



Boeing: 737 MAX should resume commercial flights in Jan; shares jump

Boeing Co on Monday said it expected U.S. regulators to approve the return to commercial service of its grounded 737 MAX jet in the coming weeks, and its shares jumped as investors grew more hopeful the planemaker had addressed software problems at the heart of two fatal crashes.

Boeing said it expected the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to issue an order approving the plane’s return to service next month, but added it now expected commercial service to resume in January. Boeing shares rose 5% on the company’s outlook.

As recently as last week, Boeing said it expected flights could resume by the end of December. On Monday, the company said it was possible that resumption of MAX deliveries to airline customers could begin in December but said getting approval for training changes would take more time, reports Reuters.

American Airlines and Southwest Airlines said Friday they were pushing back resumption of 737 MAX flights until early March. Major airlines have said they will need at least a month to complete training and install revised software before flights can resume.

“We expect the Max to be certified, airworthiness directive issued, ungrounded in mid-December. We expect pilot training requirements to be approved in January,” said Boeing spokesman Gordon Johndroe.

He added that “our airline customers will need more time to return their fleets to service and to train all 737 pilots, therefore they have announced schedule updates into March.”

The FAA reiterated that the agency has “set no timeframe for when the work will be completed.”

Last week, Reuters reported that U.S. and European regulators had not been able to complete a software documentation audit because of significant gaps and substandard documents. The FAA must complete that audit before a key certification test flight can be scheduled.

“We are taking the time to answer all of their questions,” Boeing said Monday. “We’re providing detailed documentation, had them fly in the simulators, and helped them understand our logic and the design for the new procedures, software and proposed training material to ensure that they are completely satisfied as to the airplane’s safety.”

Boeing also said it has completed one of five milestones needed: a multi-day eCab simulator evaluation with the FAA to ensure the software system performs as intended even if there is a system failure.

On Friday, the FAA told U.S. lawmakers a preliminary review by a blue-ribbon panel found Boeing’s design changes to a key safety system to be safe and compliant with regulations.

The next step will be a multi-day simulator session with airline pilots from the around the world.

The FAA said previously it will need 30 days from the time of the certification flight before it could unground the plane and flights could resume.

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Matters arising over new PSC Act



Matters arising over new PSC Act

The Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract (PSC) Amendment Bill assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari has caused an upheaval in Nigeria’s oil industry. Adeola Yusuf reports


The Nigeria’s proverbial oil and gas tree was, last week, shaken to its root by two events that happened.

First, which happened to Nigeria from far away London, the United Kingdom (UK), was President Muhammadu Buhari’s signing the bill, an Act, which amends the Deep Offshore (and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contract).

This was promptly followed, some hours after, by the news of plans by French super major, Total, to exit from Oil Mining Lease (OML) 118.

While the industry players and watchers are yet to establish an official link between the two events, Total immediately appointed Investment bank, Rothschild, to manage the $750 million asset sale in Nigeria.

Opinions have been pouring on the new PSCs law in no small measure; all trying to justify or repudiate the move, altering the entire firmament of the industry.

NEITI’s opinion

The recent PSC Amendment Bill, which was assented to by President Buhari would usher in significant improvement in oil revenue for Nigeria, the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) said.

The agency commended the Presidency and the National Assembly for the speedy manner, the amendment process was handled. The bill was signed by President Buhari in London just a few days after it was passed by the lawmakers.

Executive Secretary of NEITI, Waziri Adio, said in Abuja that the amendment of the law was long overdue.

“We commend the 9th National Assembly and the Presidency for breaking the jinx with the prompt action taken to amend the law in record time,” Mr. Adio said.

The development, he said, was quite consistent with NEITI’s agitation for urgent amendment of the law to forestall further revenue losses to the federation.

He recalled that in March 2019, NEITI had published a policy brief titled “the 1993 PSCs: the steep cost of inaction,” which revealed that Nigeria lost between $16 billion and $28.61 billion in ten years for failure to review the terms of the agreement in 2008 as required by the law governing the PSCs.

The official said there were two notable triggers for the review of the Act in 2004 when crude oil price crossed the $20 per barrel mark, and in January 2008 after 15 years of the 1993 PSCs.

Section 16 (1) of the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts Act Cap. D3. LFN 2004 spelled out the conditions under which the PSCs should be reviewed.

The provisions of the Act stipulates that the law shall be subject to review to ensure that if the price of crude oil at any time exceeds $20 per barrel, the share of the revenue to the government of the federation shall be adjusted under the PSC.

The essence of the adjustment of the sharing formula was to ensure that the Production Sharing Contracts shall be economically beneficial to the government.

More revenue

The official expressed confidence that with the amendment of the law, revenue generation for the federation in the PSC arrangement in the oil and gas industry will witness significant improvement.

The Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts Act was enacted on March 23, 1999, with its commencement backdated to January 1, 1993.

Bickering before review

Of late, the Federal Government, through the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, had been making a case for the recovery of over $62 billion from the international oil companies.

These are arrears of revenues that should have accrued to Nigeria over the years that oil sold above $20 a barrel.

Malami had accused the IOCs of frustrating efforts in the past for the government to negotiate the review of the PSC.

The morning after

Mass sack last Thursday loomed in Nigeria’s oil industry as more international oil companies mulled pull out from Nigeria’s oil bloc stakes.

The move, which came a few days after President Buhari assented to the bill, New Telegraph gathered, is to worsen the over 3500 job loss suffered by the Nigeria’s oil industry between 2016 and 2019.

French super major, Total, which pioneered the fresh exit plan from Oil Mining Lease (OML) 118, this newspaper gathered on Thursday, has appointed Investment bank, Rothschild, to manage the $750 million Nigeria’s asset sale.

Total is not the only international oil company that has stakes in the OML 118. The stake owners include Royal Dutch Shell 0- the operator, Exxon Mobil and Eni. While Royal Dutch Shell owns 55 per cent stake in the OLM 118, Exxon Mobil has 20 per cent, Eni and Total both own 12 per cent in the oil block.

There has been exchange of correspondences between the IOCs offices in Nigeria and their headquarters situated in their mother countries over this move, this newspaper can report authoritatively.

“While a lot of these correspondences centred on implications of the new law guiding Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) to our bottomlines, our officers here in Nigeria have been tasked to take resolutions on the new bill as an emergency,” a top management staff of one of the oil majors told this newspaper.

Stating that there would be need for re-adjustment in revenues forecast and projections made on investments in Nigeria before the bill, he maintained that there would be “realignment in spending and possible right-sizing to reflect the new reality.”

Job loss fear

There has been mass sack of over 3,500 workers in Nigeria’s oil industry between 2016 and 2019, data compiled by this newspaper showed.

While the country’s economic recession was allegedly responsible for the sack of about 3,000 in 2016, the United States (U.S.) super oil major, Chevron, allegedly sacked 500 staff working on various projects of the company in Nigeria in 2019.

The two major unions in the oil and gas sector, Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (NUPENG) and Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), then, threatened to go on strike saying over 3,000 of their members were affected during the 2016 mass sack.

Total group is already looking for buyers for one of its major oil blocks in Nigeria. The oil company wants to sell off its 12.5 per cent stake and has already contracted an investment bank to manage the sale process of the deepwater oilfield.

Total’s 12.5 per cent stake in the deepwater oilfield, Oil Mining Lease 118, is estimated to worth $750 million. Part of the oil block includes Bonga field which began production in 2005.

According to report, the Bonga field has produced around 225,000 barrels of oil and 150 million standard cubic feet of gas per day at its peak. And with the $10 billion development of the Bonga Southwest field, production output is expected to grow.

OML 118 stakes

The decision to sell its stake in the OML 118, which is located some 120 kilometres (75 miles) off Niger Delta, is coming amidst Total’s expansion in Africa. The company was also reportedly planning to sell $5 billion of assets around the world by 2020; the sale of its stake in OML 118 is part of the assets’ sale.

The company appointed Investment bank, Rothschild to manage the sale process on its behalf.

Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo), it would be recalled, invited interested bidders for the development of the Bonga South West Aparo (BSWA) oil field in February 2019.

It was reported that the project’s initial phaseincludes a new Floating, Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel, more than 20 deep-water wells and related subsea infrastructure. The field lies across Oil Mining Leases 118, 132 and 140, about 15km southwest of the existing Bonga Main FPSO.

But Shell disclosed days after that the directive by the Nigerian government to foreign oil companies to pay $20 billion in taxes owed would delay the final investment decision (FID) on its Bonga Southwest deepwater oilfield.

OML 119 as a complement

What the government might lose in OML 118, it appears that it might gain from OML 119.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has publicly opened bids from the 14 companies for the financing and redevelopment of the oil bloc – OML 119.

The latest is that ten of the 14 firms jostling for the redevelopment financing deals for the oil  bloc are jittery over fate of their bids as four bids have already suffered “technical” disqualification.

The ill-fated bids submitted by four companies during an open bid round penultimate Friday, New Telegraph gathered exclusively yesterday, could not fly after a preliminary screening showed that the firms could not meet up with the financial requirement for the funding deals.

Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari, it would be recalled, publicly opened bids from the 14 companies for the financing and redevelopment of Oil Mining Lease (OML) 119.

OML 119 is a twin offshore block made up of Okono and Okpoho Fields located approximately 50 kilometers offshore south-eastern Niger Delta.

“As we speak, four of the 14 bids can not fly because even from the preliminary screening they have been technically knocked out for their inability to meet up with the financial requirement for the financing deal,” a source close to the deal said.

Noting that this development might have sent jitters down the spines of 10 other bidders, the source maintained that the NNPC “conducted an open bid because of its resolve to ensure that only those who are genuinely qualified are allowed to secure the deals.”

OML 119 is operated by the Upstream subsidiary of the corporation, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Limited (NPDC).

Speaking at the public opening of bids for the Funding and Technical Services Entity (FTSE) which held penulrimate Friday in Abuja, the GMD, according to a statement, said that OML 119 was one of the corporation’s critical projects.

This project, the statement issued by Acting Group General Manager, Group Public affairs division, Samson Makoji, read, “aligns wholly with the Federal Government’s aspirations of boosting crude oil and gas production, growing reserves, and monetizing the nation’s enormous gas resources.”

The GMD who was represented by the Chief Operating Officer, Corporate Services, Engineer Faruk Sa’id, stated that the selection process for the potential FTSE was transparent and in strict compliance with extant laws and overriding national interest.

He added that it was also in tandem with the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) and the TAPE agenda of the NNPC.

In his remarks, the Group General Manager, Supply Chain Management, Mr. Abdulhamid Aliyu, assured the companies that the selection process would remain transparent and fair.

Last line

The signing of PSC act shows that government can achieve anything if it is so desired to achieve. However, the investors/ concessionaire/oil companies must be carried along in the review as they are critical stakeholders that need co-operation rather than confrontation on any issue of national development.

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‘How local content underscored Nigeria’s crude cost’s cut’



‘How local content underscored Nigeria’s crude cost’s cut’

The Federal Government will deepen the implementation of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act as it is an effective strategy for lowering Nigeria’s high crude oil production cost, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timpre Sylva, has said.

The minister, according to a statement, stated this at the conclusion of his first working visit to NCDMB’s head office in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, its new 17-storey headquarters building and other project sites.

Emphasising that government’s primary target in the sector is to significantly reduce the unit cost of producing per barrel of crude oil, Sylva, the statement issued by the NCDMB corporate affairs unit, stated that “local contractors tend to be cheaper than expatriates and international contractors and that’s why we want to encourage Local Content and give more opportunities to local contractors. By extension we will reduce the cost of doing business in the oil and gas industry in Nigeria.

“Local content is part of cost reduction strategy. That’s why I came here, to encourage more local participation in the activities of the industry.”

The minister also lauded the NCDMB for epitomising its mandate by using an indigenous contractor to develop its new headquarters.

He described the edifice as world class and a clear demonstration of the capacity of Nigerians contractors. Such superlative performance on projects would pave way for the engagement of other local contractors in the oil and gas and construction sectors, he suggested.

”When you have seen one contractor perform this good, you are encouraged to patronize more local contractors,” he said.

He expressed confidence that the new NCDMB structure would attract a flurry of oil industry activities to Bayelsa State, adding that “problem we have had over the years was that the region where oil production takes place did not have proper structures to promote lots of events.

That why you see oil and gas events going to Abuja and Lagos. But when you have a befitting facility here, going forward there will be a lot of oil and gas related activity in the Niger Delta.”

The minister commended the NCDMB for the numerous achievements it had recorded in the implementation of the NOGICD Act.

He said: “I am quite impressed with what they have done in a very short time of existence. The new headquarters building is a testament to that impressive performance and of course, you have the 10 megawatts independent power plant. It is a modular plant that can be increased up to 25 megawatts.”

In his remarks, the Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote, confirmed that local content implementation lowers the cost of crude oil production, particularly in the long run.

He listed other key elements that contribute to high crude oil production cost in Nigeria to include security and infrastructural challenges as well as protracted contracting cycle.

He affirmed that several Nigerian oil service companies had executed several projects at costs much lower than their international counterparts.

He also clarified that countries like Brazil, Malaysia and Norway that had practiced local content in their oil sector for decades had long enjoyed significant cost reduction in their per barrel cost.

Wabote also explained that local content served as an opportunity cost for the Federal Government to empower its citizens and get them involved in the activities of the oil and gas industry.

He added that local content guaranteed security of supply in the industry, recalling that local service companies and skilled Nigerians personnel ensured that operations of the oil and gas industry continued apace during the height of restiveness in the Niger Delta region a few years ago, when most foreign companies and their staff had pulled out.

Providing details on the new NCDMB facility, the executive secretary reiterated that it would be ready in December 2019 but relocation of staff will be in phases.

He stated that the project recorded huge impact on the local community.

According to him, “when we started, we took about 50 youths from the host communities and trained them in carpentry, masonry, laying of tiles and other skills. Today, those youths are working on the facility and because of the skills they have acquired the contractor will take them to other projects.

”In terms of corporate social responsibility, we worked with the contractor and built a town hall for the Swali community which we commissioned last year.  Many members of community also supplied sand, granite and other inputs. They have been an integral part of the construction.”

The executive secretary also informed that NCDMB had developed a sustainability plan for the facility, which includes renting out some of the floors to reputable oil and gas organizations.

“Currently, we have two applications from operating companies,” he noted.

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Nigeria, others fret as OPEC’s oil projection suffers slide



Nigeria, others fret as OPEC’s oil projection suffers slide

2023 forecast falls to 32.7m barrels a day


The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) at the weekend fretted as its oil demand projection slide by about seven per cent over the next four years, slumping to an average of 32.7 million barrels a day in 2023.

OPEC slashed estimates for the amount of oil it will need to pump in coming years, projecting that its share of world markets will shrink until the middle of the next decade amid a flood of U.S. shale supplies.

The producer group expects that demand for its oil will slide by about seven per cent over the next four years, slumping to an average of 32.7 million barrels a day in 2023, according to its annual report.

That could compel the OPEC and its partners — who have already curbed output this year to prevent a glut — to reduce supplies even further, or at least compete more fiercely among themselves for a diminishing portion of global markets.

The organization cut forecasts for demand for its oil each year from 2019 through 2023 by an average of about 5 million barrels a day, or roughly 16 per cent, though the numbers have been affected by membership changes. Qatar left the group at the beginning of this year.

OPEC will remain under pressure from rising U.S. oil output. America has become the world’s top oil producer through developing hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as “fracking,” in states such as Texas and North Dakota.

“The main driver of medium-term non-OPEC supply growth remains overwhelmingly U.S. tight oil,” OPEC said in its latest World Oil Outlook, using another term for shale oil.

By 2025, U.S. shale-oil output will climb more than 40 per cent to reach 17 million barrels a day, or 3.1 million a day more than OPEC projected in last year’s report. American oil will account for a fifth of global daily output at that time.

But the U.S. deluge will also be supplemented by supplies from regions which had either seemed in decline or uneconomical in an era of constrained crude prices, such as offshore Norway and Brazil, as well as Canada, Guyana and Kazakhstan.

OPEC and its partners are due to meet next month in Vienna, and will consider whether to deepen their current output cutbacks to avert another glut in 2020, according to the organization’s Secretary-General, Mohammad Barkindo.

Russia, the most important of OPEC’s allies, has been more cautious in signaling what needs to be done.

Some members of OPEC+, including Russia, are still falling short on their pledged cutbacks. But the coalition has considerable incentive to double down on its efforts: oil prices, currently just above $60 a barrel in London, are too low for most OPEC nations to cover government spending, including Saudi Arabia, the group’s biggest member.

Riyadh may also need higher prices as it sells part of state-owned oil giant Saudi Aramco, in what may prove to be the world’s biggest-ever initial public offering.

Yet the findings of this latest report could make them consider whether the strategy is backfiring, by propping up investment in U.S. shale drilling and perpetuating an oil oversupply.

Many analysts have said the group should have heeded the warning of former Saudi oil minister Ali al-Naimi, who predicted that by making room for shale, OPEC would be trapped in an endless spiral of production cuts.

OPEC’s current share of the global market is about 35 per cent, a level it sees dwindling by 2025 to 32 per cent, according to the report.

At the same time, the report does offer OPEC some solace if it chooses to stay the course. U.S. shale output growth will slow from the middle of the next decade, and then begin to decline from 2029 onward. OPEC’s share of the global market will rebound to 40 per cent by 2040.

Although it sees challenges from rival supplies, OPEC’s outlook shows less concern about demand. The report projects that global crude consumption will continue to grow until at least 2040, rejecting the idea increasingly circulating among investors and oil companies that demand will “peak” as countries move away from fossil fuels to avert catastrophic climate change.

While OPEC did lower demand forecasts, it said the reduction reflects a weaker economic backdrop rather than a shift away from carbon. Global oil demand will increase at a “healthy” rate of 1 million barrels a day until 2024, when it will reach 104.8 million barrels a day, then expand at a slower pace, to hit an average of 110.6 million a day in 2040.

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AfDB converts $1.5bn energy fund to concessional facility



AfDB converts $1.5bn energy fund to concessional facility

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has made a U-turn on the $1.5 billion Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) as it converted the fund to a concessional finance facility.

The board of governors, AfDB, a document of the bank sighted by New Telegraph showed, has approved the conversion of the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA), which it administers into a “special fund” to amplify its development impact by allowing it to access a wider range of financial instruments.

Currently, SEFA supports small and medium-scale renewable energy and energy-efficiency projects through early stage interventions that enhance project bankability and access to private sector investments.

“Under the new dispensation, the fund will focus its interventions on green mini-grids to accelerate energy access to underserved populations green base load to support clean generation capacity and energy efficiency to optimise energy systems and reduce energy intensity,” the AfDB document read.

“This support will be provided through technical assistance and concessional investments that will improve the bankability of projects across innovative technologies and challenging geographies and crowd-in more commercial investments into the sector,” the bank maintained.

The special fund will provide critical support to African countries to accelerate the transition towards greener and more sustainable power systems, the bank’s acting Vice-President, Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth, Wale Shonibare, said.

He said the special fund’s ability to provide various financial instruments would unlock more private sector investments in new technologies and businesses.

First established in 2012, SEFA is anchored in a commitment of $121 million by the governments of Denmark, United States, United Kingdom, Italy, Norway and Spain.

To date, it has committed $76 million across 56 projects in 30 countries.

The fund’s investments are expected to leverage over $1.5 billion in investments in new capacity and connections across Africa.

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Bird strike resurgence poses challenge to airline operators



Bird strike resurgence poses challenge to airline operators

…spurs over N5bn loss annually


The resurgence of bird strikes in Nigerian aviation industry and its economic losses to airlines, which is put at approximately N5billion annually, has become a source of worry to operators.

Although bird strike is a global phenomenon, many factors such as the nation’s carelessness to the environment culminating in over grown bushes and other untidy behaviours around the aerodromes are escalating the activities of birds and animals around airport areas.

A bird strike is a collision between an airborne animal, usually a bird or bat and a manmade vehicle, usually an aircraft. The term is also used for bird deaths resulting from collisions with structures such as power lines, towers and wind turbines.

Bird strikes are a significant threat to flight safety, and have caused a number of accidents with human casualties. There are over 13,000 bird strikes annually in the US alone.

However, the number of major accidents involving civil aircraft is quite low and it has been estimated that there is only about 1 accident resulting in human death in one billion (109) flying hours.

The majority of bird strikes (65%) cause little damage to the aircraft; however the collision is usually fatal to the bird(s) involved.

In monetary terms, it is estimated that about $1.2 billion per annum is lost to bird strike by the global aviation industry. In the United States of America about $650 million is lost annually as a result of bird strike.

Bird strike incidents usually affect the engines of aircraft, which cost about $1.5 million (N547.5 million) to replace, depending on the type and capacity of the aircraft involved in the incident. This is apart from the cost of shipping the engine into the country.

Nigerian airlines experience at least 12 bird strike incidents annually, our correspondent gathered. He reported that in the past 24 months, there has been no fewer than 28 bird strike incidents recorded across the country’s airports.

Statistics of the incidents obtained by New Telegraph indicates that the airlines encountered 14 bird strikes during take-offs and another 13 on landings, with half of the incidents happening at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.

Virtually all domestic airlines have experienced one form of damage to their engines or nose wheel. Ethiopian Airline landing gear was hit by a massive bird last week Thursday but caused just minimal damage.

In the past two months, at least two Nigerian carriers experienced major bird strike incidents that severely damaged the aircraft’s engines, costing the airlines and their insurers millions of dollars to replace the engines.

Air Peace is the hardest hit as many of its airplane engines had been damaged, Arik, Aero, Dana, Azman and others are becoming almost a monthly occurrence.

Spokeswoman for the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu, told our correspondent that the agency was looking at making sure it eradicate or reduce this threat of bird ingestion to aircraft or animal incursion into the runway and so the need to disperse the discovered roost before it became worst.

Being a pilot and a frequent flyer along the MMA axis, she disclosed that the Managing Director of FAAN, Captain Rabiu Hamisu Yadudu, like other pilots, have been aware of the roost for some time as they see it when they take off or land due to the fact that the habitat is directly under approach flight path of aircraft that are inbound runway 18L Murtala Muhammad Airport.

A source, who pleaded anonymity, attributed high incidence of bird/wildlife strikes in to the attraction of many species of wildlife to the airports due to the presence of thick bushes, waste dumps and farmlands around the airports.

He called for adequate funding of the airports by the acquisition of modern safety equipment in the airports, stressing that this will also allow adequate maintenance of vehicles, proper habitat management, adequate fencing and regular training and retraining of bird/wildlife hazard control officers.

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Afam plant: Four units pack up, trap 730MW power



Afam plant: Four units pack up, trap 730MW power

Management, FG bicker over funds, power recovery

Four power generation units in multi-million dollars Afam Power in Rivers State have packed up, trapping 730 Mega Watt of electricity.

This, New Telegraph gathered at the weekend, undermined the Federal Government scheme for improved power generation in Nigeria.

The 57-year-old plant with five generation units has an estimated 1,000 MW installed capacity. Checks, however, showed that only one of the units is working despite funds approval for major repair and power recovery at the plant.

Meanwhile, the government and management of the plant have bickered over funding of the plant. While the Ministry of Power stated that the government had approved funds, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Afam Power Project, Engineer of Olumide Obademi, said that the major problem confronting the project was paucity of funds, pointing out that Afam had not received a single budgetary allocation or receipts since 2012.

Government, a document of the Federal Ministry of Power showed at the weekend, said that it had started the recovery and reactivation of some generation plants at Afam Power stations to restore the plants to full generating capacity.

“At the moment, only one of the five plants is working with an output of only 270 MW out of Afam installed capacity of about 1000MW of electricity,” the document read, confirming checks by this newspaper.

Government also said that the $186 million Afam Fast power project would be ready for commissioning soon.

During an inspection visit to Afam, the Minister of Power, Engineer Sale Mamman, the document continued, stated that the power project was still under the privatisation process, the government had approved funds to carry out major repairs on some of the plants.

He disclosed that some of the issues affecting the project had already been presented to Federal Executive Council for deliberations and approval.

Mamman commended Afam community for loyalty and support while promising that they would be carried along in the privatisation process of the company.

He also disclosed that the rehabilitation of the Afam road had also been taken up with the Federal Government.

While receiving the minister, Obademi said the major problem confronting the Afam Power Project was paucity of funds.

He revealed that out of the five plants installed at various times in Afam, only Afam IV was functional with an output of 110MW, while Afam V, installed in 2012 with capacity to generate 276MW, was being overhauled.

Obademi said the company was unable to source for funds from the capital marketsor banks because of its ownership issues. Transcorp, which is the company’s preferred bidder, is yet to pay and assume ownership of the plant.

Obademi said that the company was on the verge of collapse over lack of funds 57 years after its establishment. Afam Power plant, located in Okoloma, Oyigbo Local Council of Rivers State, was commissioned in five phases, Afam 1-5 with a total installed capacity of 987.2 megawatts. Obademi had earlier said during the inspection of the facility by officials of the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, in April that Ministry of Power had refused to include the power plant in the budget from 2012 to date.

He said due to the development, only two machines, gas turbines 17 and 18 from Afam Four were presently operational, thereby pegging its production capacity to 110 megawatts. “While the goal of the firm established in 1962 was to identify and overcome all obstacles and add an additional 600mw into the National Grid before 2028, the objective is currently under threat,” he said.

Obademi, who noted that the fund challenge faced by the company was enormous as a result of the delay in concluding privitisation exercise and emerging market rules, said: “Because of privitisation exercise, there was no budgetary allocation to the company since 2012.

The company was surviving through internally-generated revenues from energy generated until January 2015 when the evacuation transformer that serves GTs 17 and 18 that evacuates power got burnt. This left the company with no source of income.” According to him, this made the company to go out of generation for more than two years from January 2015 to September 2017. He, therefore, urged the Federal Government to continue funding the power plant by being included in the ministry’s budget since it has not been fully privatised.

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