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Oil prices jumped 3 percent on Thursday, resuming their rally from last week, as a raging wildfire near Canada’s oil sands region and escalating Libyan violence raised more worries about immediate oil supplies than a longer-term glut.

The wildfire near Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada, has grown five times its initial size and spread south on Thursday, forcing more evacuations after 88,000 people fled the city in the nation’s energy heartland since Tuesday. Some pipelines in the region have been shut as precaution and output at several facilities were disrupted, though affected volumes were unclear.

In Libya, the state’s already crippled oil production was at further risk from a stand-off between eastern and western political factions that prevented a Glencore cargo from loading.

Brent futures LCOc1 were up $1, or 2.2 percent, at $45.62 a barrel by 10:51 a.m. EDT (1451 GMT), after soaring more than $2 earlier to $46.77.

U.S. crude’s West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures CLc1 gained $1.25, or 2.9 percent, to $45.03, rallying to $46.07 earlier.

Brent’s premium over WTI CL-LCO1=R briefly vanished when the U.S. market traded at a premium before returning to its narrowest discount, or “contango”, in six weeks against the European benchmark.

On the WTI complex itself, the discount for front-month June over second month July CLc1-CLc2 fell to its smallest in seven months, driven by the potential for reduced shipments of Canadian crude to U.S. refiners.

“The $2 move in WTI is large relative to the size of the outage,” said Jackie Forrest, vice president in energy research at ARC Financial Corp in Calgary.

Just earlier this week, crude prices were losing steam after rallying more than 20 percent in April, giving Brent its best month in 7 years.

Over Monday and Tuesday, both benchmarks lost about 6 percent each as frenzied pumping by producers such as Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Russia renewed glut worries that forced prices below $30 a barrel from mid-2014 highs above $100.

“The market was again rescued by a larger than expected pace of U.S. production decline and overnight headlines regarding disrupted supply out of Canada and Libya,” said Jim Ritterbusch of Chicago-based oil consultancy Ritterbusch & Associates.

Investment firm ETF Securities said unplanned outages within the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, including Libya, stood above 2 million barrels per day, the highest in at least five years.

“We are likely to be in a global oil supply deficit by Q3 2016,” said Nitesh Shah, director of commodity strategy at ETF Securities.

But some analysts said oil prices were on an unsustainable path higher with U.S. crude stockpiles hitting record highs above 543 million barrels last week with a surprising bearish build even in gasoline.

“The market seems willing to latch on to any bullish news item generally,” BNP Paribas global head of commodity strategy Harry Tchilinguirian said.

*Barani Krishnan, Amanda Cooper; Editing – Marguerita Choy – Reuters

Halliburton’s first-quarter loss widened as customers slashed budgets in half and the company took charges related to the failed $28-billion merger with Baker Hughes Inc.

The merger was called off Sunday in the face of stiff resistance from global regulators over antitrust concerns. Halliburton, the world’s largest provider of fracing services, recorded first-quarter costs of $378 million, or 44 cents a share, related to the Baker Hughes bid, according to a statement Tuesday. That’s higher than the $79 million, or 9 cents a share, acquisition-related costs in the final three months of the year.

Overall, Halliburton reported a loss of $2.4 billion, or $2.81 a share, deeper than a loss of $643 million, or 76 cents, a year earlier. Excluding certain items, profit was 7 cents a share, higher than the 4-cent average of 36 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The company also eliminated 6,000 more jobs in the quarter to reduce costs, according to a statement April 22.

The oil services industry is operating at a loss in North America, home to the world’s largest market for hydraulic fracturing. Schlumberger Ltd., the biggest oil servicer, lost $10 million in the U.S. and Canada, excluding taxes, during the first three months of the year. Halliburton, the world’s No. 2 provider, reported an operating loss of $39 million in North America, its largest region, on revenue of $1.8 billion, according to an April 22 statement announcing preliminary results.

The second- and third-largest oil-service firms had set a deadline for the end of April to complete the deal or walk away. The U.S. Justice Department heard concerns from dozens of companies and ultimately concluded that the deal was "not fixable at all," David Gelfand, deputy assistant attorney general, told reporters Monday on a conference call.

“In accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, and in conjunction with the termination of its merger agreement with Baker Hughes, Halliburton determined that its proposed businesses to be divested no longer meet the assets held for sale criteria as of March 31, 2016,” the company said in the statement.

Halliburton announced the Baker Hughes takeover in November 2014 in a bid to better compete against industry leader Schlumberger. The U.S. Justice Department filed a lawsuit in early April to stop the merger, saying it threatened to eliminate head-to-head competition in 23 products and services used in oil exploration.

The statement was released before the start of regular trading in New York.


Eland Oil & Gas plc announced Friday that is aiming to raise approximately $15 million through a placing of its shares in order to fund operations at the Gbetiokun-1 well in Nigeria.

The net proceeds of the placing will be used to fund the re-entry, completion and production of the Gbetiokun-1 well, an existing discovery within the OML 40 license. The Gbetiokun field has been estimated by Netherland, Sewell & Associates Inc. to contain gross 2P Reserves of 10.8 million barrels of oil. The re-entry of Gbetiokun-1 is anticipated to cost $6.5 million net to Eland, with the company is targeting initial production in the second half of 2016.

Eland CEO George Maxwell commented in a company statement:

"We look forward to further enhancing production through the development of the Gbetiokun-1 workover well.

“The initial rate from the Gbetiokun-1 well is expected to be circa 7,800 barrels of oil per day gross. This project will once again almost double the company's already significant production profile.

“This fundraise will facilitate the development of this project in the second half of this year prior to the planned Ubima Early Production System."



Theft of crude oil from the pipeline network of Shell's Nigerian subsidiary fell to 25,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2015, the company said on Monday, roughly 32 percent less than the previous year. The number of sabotage-related spills on the SPDC network also declined to 93 in 2015, compared with 139 the previous year, Shell said in its annual sustainability report.

It attributed the decrease to divestments in the Niger Delta and increased surveillance and security by the Nigerian government, but said theft and sabotage were still responsible for around 85 percent of spills from SPDC operations. President Muhammadu Buhari has said theft siphons as much as 250,000 bpd of crude of its roughly 2 million bpd of production and last week promised to crack down on groups responsible for pipeline attacks. Still, the issue has continued to plague the country.

Shell currently has a force majeure in place on Forcados crude oil exports following an attack on a subsea pipeline in February, while Italian oil major ENI reportedly declared force majeure on Brass River exports late last week.


Saudi Arabia has said it will only freeze its oil output if Iran and other major producers do so, the kingdom’s deputy crown prince said, challenging the country’s main regional rival to take an active role in stabilizing the over-supplied global crude market.

The warning by Mohammed Bin Salman, 30, who’s emerged as Saudi Arabia’s leading political force, leaves the outcome of a meeting between OPEC and other big oil producers this month in question. Iran has already said it plans to boost its production after the lifting of sanctions following a deal to curb the country’s nuclear program.

"If all countries agree to freeze production, we’re ready," Bin Salman said in an interview with Bloomberg. "If there is anyone that decides to raise their production, then we will not reject any opportunity that knocks on our door.”

After the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries abandoned its efforts to boost oil prices in November 2014, focusing instead on protecting its market share, Saudi Arabia increased production to an all-time high of more than 10.5 MMbpd, claiming that customers were asking for more oil.

The meeting of oil producers in Qatar on April 17 follows a gathering in February between Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Russia and Venezuela in which the quartet tentatively agreed to cap their production at January’s level.

The deal, which helped to lift the price of benchmark Brent crude to about $40/bbl from a 12-year low of $27.10/bbl in January, was contingent on other countries joining it.

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh will attend Doha discussions but won’t join a production freeze, according to a person familiar with the nation’s policy. Tehran will maintain its policy of regaining market share lost during years of sanctions, said the person, who asked not to be identified as the talks are private.

The International Energy Agency said that Iran, in its first full month freed of nuclear sanctions in February, lifted its oil production to a four-year high of 3.22 MMbpd. Oil traders are expecting another increase in March.

Voluntary Cap           
Traders and analysts have speculated that Riyadh could be ready to voluntarily cap its output at the current level of about 10.2 MMbopd even if Iran doesn’t join. But asked during the five-hour interview in a royal compound in Riyadh whether Iran needed to take part, Bin Salman said, “without a doubt.”

“If all countries including Iran, Russia, Venezuela, OPEC countries and all main producers decide to freeze production, we will be among them," he said.

The prince said that Saudi Arabia was ready to weather the oil crisis by reforming its economy.

"I don’t believe that the decline in oil prices poses a threat to us," he said, adding that a rise in prices, while having budgetary benefits for the kingdom, was also a "threat to the lifespan of oil."

Bin Salman suggested prices will rise over the next two years as demand continues to increase, but he made clear Riyadh has very little appetite for the return of OPEC production management that molded the oil industry for 30 years.

"For us it’s a free market that is governed by supply and demand and this is how we deal with the market," he said.


Oil & Gas Industry / NNPC targets 650,000b/d refining capacity
« on: April 01, 2016, 03:24:20 PM »

The Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, said on Thursday that it is expecting over 650,000 barrels per day of crude to be refined locally after nine companies submitted their bids for the co-location of refineries.

In a statement signed by Mr. Garba Deen Muhammad, Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, in Abuja, the NNPC said it was committed to boosting the nation’s refining capacity which in turn would put an end to perennial fuel scarcity in the country.

Nine companies have submitted their bids to participate in the co-location of refineries to ensure greater output, according to the statement.

It quoted the NNPC Chief Operating Officer, Refineries, Mr. Anibo Kragha as saying that the open bidding exercise was a demonstration of the determination of the federal government to increase the nation’s refining capacity from 445,000 barrels per day to 650,000.

“The aim is to leverage on the existing facilities to fast track the take-off of the refineries as soon as possible,” he said

According to him, a technical evaluation committee has been set up to study the bids and announce winners as soon as possible.

Also speaking at the event, the corporation’s General Manager, Supply Chain Management, Sophia Mbakwe enjoined all the companies to accept the outcome, noting that the exercise would be transparent.

She added that all the rules of public procurement as spelt out in the Bureau for Public Procurement Act would be strictly adhered to.

The statement noted that the exercise was witnessed by representatives of the Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) and the Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP).



The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has issued a generation licence to Ondo state government and its partners, Kingline Development Company, a South Korean firm, to generate 550 megawatts (MW) of electricity in the state’s Independent Power Project (IPP) plant.

A statement confirming this was sent to THISDAY on Sunday in Abuja. The statement had the officials of the power project describing the licence from NERC as a major milestone and a huge push to bring the first phase of the Kingline Ondo Independent Power Plant to realisation.

The statement was signed by the Business Development Director and Head of Nigeria operations of Kingline, Mr. Akinnola Fola. He noted that the NERC license was signed in Abuja and that the the promoters of the IPP were excited with the development.

Fola also disclosed that actual construction of the plant would commence in June 2016. According to him: “The project is in the final stage before achieving finance close.”

He added that Ondo state government in 2015 sealed an Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract with POSCO E & C of South Korea for the first phase of the state’s proposed 1100MW IPP project.

Fola explained that the state government is currently partnering Kingline through its Nigerian subsidiary for the development of the IPP.

“The first phase of the project involves the construction of a gas-fired power plant that will generate 550MW of power to be sold into the national grid. The second phase is expected to add another 550MW.

“POSCO is to see to the design, engineering, procurement, construction, commissioning and testing of the 550MW open cycle gas turbine power plant in Ondo State,” Fola stated.

He further explained that actual construction of the first phase is expected to take about 26 months from commencement and date of issuing the Notice To Proceed (NTP).

According to him: “Kingline Ondo IPP Ltd is to implement the power generation project. The Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract between international engineering and construction company, POSCO E & C of South Korea and Kingline Ondo IPP Ltd is considered a crucial milestone. The contract covers the turnkey delivery of the power plant.”



Royal Dutch Shell Plc has said the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, which seeks to overhaul the Nigerian oil and gas industry, could take a huge toll on its current and future operations in the country.

The oil major stated this in its annual report for the year ended December 31, 2015, which was released on Thursday and obtained by our correspondent.

The PIB, which has been in the works since 2008 when it was first introduced to the National Assembly, suffered setbacks in the 6th and 7th National Assembly. It is expected to be re-packaged and submitted to the current legislature.

Shell said, “In our Nigerian operations, we faced various risks and adverse conditions, which could have a material adverse effects on our operational performance, earnings, cash flows and financial condition.

“These risks and conditions include: security issues surrounding the safety of our people, host communities and operations; sabotage and theft; our ability to enforce existing contractual rights; litigation; and limited infrastructure”.



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Back in the spring of 2013, if you were finishing first-year courses in the engineering program at the University, you probably began examining the various streams that might carry you through to graduation and to your future. Electrical, chemical and software engineering were all good options, but after much consideration you signed up for the oil and gas engineering program. There were jobs in the energy industry, you reasoned, and the projections were rosy, both for the price of oil and for employment growth. How quickly things can change.

Now it’s the spring of 2016 and you’re graduating in a few months. Not only are your employment prospects bleak, but people more than twice your age, with decades of experience, are losing their jobs. It’s daunting. The price of oil is as low as it’s been since the turn of the century. Even lower is your morale as you half-heartedly scroll through anemic online job boards. On top of all this, you now have to grapple with the existential issue of how oil and gas will figure into our carbon-constrained future. Yet you chose oil and gas engineering – it’s now your area of expertise – and, despite the ups and downs and an uncertain future, you still know the energy industry can provide a viable and rewarding career.

So how do you get started during a downturn? What do you need to do to stand out when there are far more applicants than jobs? “You have to work harder,” says Colleen Bangs, manager of Career Services at the University of Calgary. Indeed, gone are the days when a well-paying job could be got with a canned resumé and a 15-minute telephone interview. As Bangs explains, today’s graduates need to thoroughly research their prospective employers and every cover letter and resumé needs to be customized accordingly. Applicants need to show, as much as possible, that they know the company’s culture and values. “You need to speak their language,” says Bangs.

This means putting more emphasis on networking. While previous graduating classes could often get by with their parchment paper and a resumé, today’s students need to develop relationships with people in the industry. Unless they’re already well-connected, many students will have to resort to the dreaded cold call. It’s an intimidating prospect for many students, but Bangs encourages them to pick up the phone. “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” she asks. Also important, Bangs explains, are those less-obvious, everyday networking opportunities that come from conversations with family, friends and professors. “Every interaction is a potential opportunity,” she says, “and every impression matters.”

Social media, of course, is the platform where many of those interactions and impressions will take place in 2016. Even though they’re well aware that recruiters check the content on social media accounts, many students continue to post unfavorable material. As Bangs explains, students need to manage their privacy settings and they need to use social media to their advantage to demonstrate that they’re actively engaged with industry. To this end, some social media accounts are better than others. Which one is the best? According to Bangs, young professionals will likely benefit most if they focus on building a comprehensive professional profile on LinkedIn.

That comprehensive profile will be easier to build for students who’ve already made connections through life experiences. “Recruiters,” says Bangs, “want to hire interesting people.” Those experiences include, among other things, involvement with on-campus clubs, volunteering and international travel. According to Bangs, these experiences in turn help students identify and develop the personal skills – initiative, ethics and adaptability, among others – that are coveted by employers.

Those personal skills have proven invaluable for Olu Ojo, a third-year undergraduate student pursuing a double major in engineering and economics at the University of Calgary. In May, he begins a 16-month internship with Shell Canada at its Athabasca Oil Sands Project.

When asked about his career development strategy, Ojo explains that, despite having a strong passion for the energy industry (the result of early exposure in Nigeria), he has intentionally pursued opportunities that contribute to the breadth of his knowledge and experience. His engineering and economics programs, for example, are both generalist in nature. Further, by taking advantage of opportunities to study abroad in Germany and Hong Kong, Ojo has developed a greater sense of cultural awareness. Although he’s busy, he’s managed to also volunteer with UNESCO. Ojo believes this breadth of life experiences makes him more competitive in a tight labor market. “It’s not just about academics,” he says. “Energy companies are looking for that all-around person who can work with different people.”

Persistence has also helped in Ojo’s case. When a Shell Canada recruiter was on campus, Ojo was unable to stay for the entire presentation because of a scheduling conflict with a lab class. Rather than sneak out of the room quietly, Ojo recalls that he first stood and publicly asked the recruiter for a business card. Later he followed up with an email, but received no reply. When a second email also brought no reply, he called the recruiter. For his persistence, Ojo was rewarded with the internship.

While Ojo intentionally pursued a variety of experiences to increase his breadth of knowledge, Frank (Wu) Wang has taken the opposite approach. As a second-year student in the Power Engineering Technology program at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT), Wong has landed a four-month summer student position at Shell Canada’s Jumping Pound Gas Complex. The on-the-job operating experience is required in order to obtain a more advanced Power Engineer’s Certificate of Competency – and chances are good that the position will seamlessly translate into permanent employment. How did Wang do this? He maintained a 4.0 grade-point average, he mastered the technical content and he sent out more than 50 resumes.

Wang came to the Power Engineering Technology program following a ten-year career in human resources administration. “I made a three-year plan,” he says, referring to his decision to make a middle-age career change. Although the price of oil declined dramatically during the first year of his program, scaring away some of his peers, Wang didn’t waiver. “If you choose this as your career,” he says, “you need to stay focused and put all your effort into it.”

Daniel Marsh is also a second-year student at SAIT. He holds a business degree but decided to upgrade his skills in the Petroleum Engineering Technology program so that he could take advantage of opportunities he was seeing in the energy industry. “When I started in September of 2014,” he says, “the market was still active and industry was very busy.” By taking advantage of contacts he had established during previous work experience, Marsh was able to take a first-year summer position as a technical services analyst with Calfrac Well Services. He’s currently in line to return to that position when he completes the second and final year of his program.

Marsh believes that graduates need to be flexible to land work during a downturn. “You have to be willing to take on any type of position,” he says, “and then you need to show commitment to that company.” Marsh acknowledges that it’s a tough employment environment because new graduates are entering the workforce at the same time that more experienced workers are losing their jobs. When asked how he and his peers are coping, Marsh explains that they know the industry is cyclical. For that reason, he says, “it’s nice to have the support of our instructors and mentors who’ve been here before.”

The above success stories illustrate that it’s possible to graduate with a job even during a downturn. Yet it must be acknowledged that many students – including those who’ve done everything right – will graduate without a job. What should they be doing as they continue to search for a job in the energy industry?

“Students need to start by modifying their expectations,” says Neera Arora, Associate Dean of the MacPahil School of Energy at SAIT. As she explains, students will need to make tough concessions, not only on salary expectations and level of responsibility, but also on the possibility of relocating to another part of the province.

Arora also points out that energy companies are diversifying their operations to stay competitive and she believes that students need to do the same. “This is a time for you to diversify your skill set,” she says, adding that companies are still on campus recruiting new graduates. Some students may even decide to stay in school, forgoing the job search altogether. According to Arora, it’s a viable strategy to deal with the downturn. “This is a time when students can add to their credentials by laddering into a degree,” she says.

As for those students who are still looking for work in May, they‘ll have to contend, not only with a bottoming market, but also with a lack of empathy from peers, friends and family who might have a dim view of the energy industry. Schadenfreude is never pleasant, but Marsh says it helps to keep things in perspective. As he explains, students in the Petroleum Engineering Technology program complete a broad range of courses that prepare them to constructively take ownership of all aspects of the energy industry, including the social and environmental sides of the business. “It’s our responsibility,” he says, referring to today’s cohort of graduates, “to develop this industry in a sustainable manner.”

And what about those students who cannot find any work in their field of study? If all else fails, they may have to consider employment in other industries. Although that will be disappointing for many students, Arora explains that a temporary job in an unrelated field is better than no job at all. “Every job in industry,” she says, “will lead to something good.” Bangs agrees. It’s not a bad thing,” she says, “to take work outside the sector. But be mindful of how it’ll be transferable for when things pick up.”

For his part, Ojo encourages his peers to keep trying even if their job search in the energy industry seems hopeless. “The applications, interviews and interaction are valuable even if you don’t get a job,” he says. That may be little solace to those worried about how they are going to pay the bills after convocation. Indeed, it’s difficult to be persistent when you are hearing stories about job losses across the sector.

While she acknowledges that these are trying times, Arora says that the energy market will stabilize. She understands that students and graduates are anxious, but she encourages them to remain optimistic despite what they are seeing and hearing in the media. “The oil and gas industry – the energy sector – is here to stay,” she says.



The Itsekiri, Ijaw and Ilaje Coastal Communities have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to speedily check what they described as the anti-local contractors activities of “cabals” in Federal Government-owned institutions and organizations, particularly, the National Petroleum Investment Management Services, NAPIMS and Chevron Nigeria Limited.

In a letter to President Buhari earlier this week by Uyaesan Amaju (Itsekiri), Timiebi Jones (Ijaw) and Ogunmuyiwa Atolagbe (Ilaje), the group accused the cabal of being resolute in its determination to ensure that the status quo ante, which hitherto gave recognition to local contractors by companies in their areas of operations, was disregarded by openly marginalizing the Itsekiri, Ijaw and Ilaje Coastal Communities.

“We are aware that Chevron, a major oil company operating in the Itsekiri, Ijaw and Ilaje coastal communities, is bringing a “RIG” to the Area for use in their exploration and production of crude oil and gas, which as usual is a welcome development, but the circumstances surrounding the arrival of this RIG, the activities and job the rig is to carryout, is our major cause of concern.

“The said rig, on arrival, will operate with about 110 employees and also require the services of contractors to provide other materials and support services. Of these 110 employees, we were informed that the Itsekiri, Ijaw and Ilaje coastal communities were only given 21 slots (that is, 7 slots apiece). The remaining 89 employees had been sourced and employed from outside the Itsekiri, Ijaw and Ilaje coastal communities. This percentage is less than 30 percent of the entire workforce a situation that is unacceptable to us.

“We are saying that workers cannot be brought from elsewhere within the country. The point we are making is that being the ones that feel the brunt of oil and gas exploration and production activities, a sizeable percentage of the workforce ought to be given to us.

“This is not the first time Rigs will be brought to the Itsekiri, Ijaw and Ilaje coastal communities for execution of jobs. The last Rig that came to the area gave over 50 percent of the workforce needed to the Itsekiri, Ijaw and Ilaje coastal communities and they performed creditably well. We therefore, see no basis for this brazen act of marginalization by Chevron.

“Furthermore, all contracts for supply of materials and services have been awarded, without recourse to, and without taking the Itsekiri, Ijaw and Ilaje coastal communities into consideration. The least of these contracts, even for the supply of items like tissue papers were awarded to contractor from outside the area under pretext that these contracts were bidded for, and awarded to the bid winners.

”The group warned that unless the situation was reversed immediately, it would not be able to guarantee the safety of men, materials, facilities and due execution of the job by persons who are alien to our communities, our sacred places, customs and traditions, a situation which may occasion chaos, breakdown of peaceful and conducive environment to work, which may affect the entire project.”

Read more at:


The Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola yesterday said plans have reached the final stage to add extra 1,206 megawatts (Mw) of electricity to the national grid from renewable energy sources.

Fashola said the power would be generated through the concluded 14 frameworks for solar panel projects embarked upon by the Federal Government.

He spoke during a meeting with a French delegation headed by France Minister of Environment and Power, Mrs. Segolene Royal, alongside her Nigerian counterpart, Amina Mohammed in Abuja.

Fashola said the present administration is committed to adopting renewable energy as part of efforts to convert the nation’s numerous challenges to opportunities.

According to him, it became necessary to provide adequate incentives in terms of cost to make solar power more attractive and efficient to the people.

“As you mentioned, we are vulnerable today as a nation facing a loss of our territorial areas to desert encroachment in the north, a lot of erosion in the eastern part of the country, rising water levels and coastal challenges in the southern part of the country. Perhaps, I doubt if there is any country that has such mixture challenges,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Consumer Protection Council, CPC, has thrown its weight behind electricity consumers, insisting that those who have not been metered have the right to contest a bill presented to them.

CPC Director General, Mrs. Dupe Atoki, stated this in Abuja yesterday during a press briefing to announce the programmes for the World Consumer Rights Day. While the international consumer movement has enlisted to focus on “Antibiotic Resistance”, the nation’s apex consumer protection agency is adopting the theme: “Consumer Beware! Antibiotic Resistance Can Kill.”

As part of its efforts to address some of the electricity consumers’ concerns, Atoki stated that the Council, working with the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, had resolved to enforce the mandatory 60 days timeline to Electricity Distribution Companies (Discos), to provide meters to consumers who have elected to procure such under the Credited Advance Payment for Metering Implementation, CAPMI, scheme.

She added that at the expiration of the 60-day timeline, the Discos would lose the right to bill or disconnect consumers’ electricity source. Apart from that, the CPC boss noted that electricity consumers who had not been metered also reserved the right to reject any bill presented to them.

According to Atoki, “Consumers, who have not been metered have a right to contest a bill and opt to pay the last undisputed bill. “As a result, the Council will stand with consumers, who in line with NERC guidelines decided not to pay a disputed bill, including consumers under the CAPMI scheme who refuse to be bullied or disconnected after 60 days of not being provided with meters.”

Source: SweetCrudeReprts

An indigenous oil service company, Ofserv Nigeria Limited has dragged Weatherford International PLC, to court over alleged breach of contract and flouting the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act. Already the matter has been fixed for March 28 for hearing.

It will be recalled that in 2010, the Nigerian government passed into law the NOGICD Act with a view to increase local participation in the oil and gas industry, to facilitate job creation, and promote local enterprise development through increased investments in local supply chains.

Compliance with the NOGICD Act was to be a major criterion for award of contracts to bidders, as a step towards growing the oil & gas sector’s contribution to the nation’s GDP.

The plaintiff, Ofserv, in the suit before a Lagos High Court however alleged that the defendants, Weatherford International and Weatherford Nigeria Limited obtained proprietary market information and contacts from it, while excluding it from execution of contracts that came out from its efforts and resources.

Meanwhile in its notice of preliminary objection, the first defendant, Weatherford International PLC has urged the court to strike out the suit for lack of jurisdiction and that its of no effect whatsoever. The company also requested for an order striking out its name from the suit for non-disclosure of a reasonable cause of action.

Business intelligence

The plaintiff has alleged that Weatherford engaged it to enter into a partnership with Weatherford based on the NOGICD requirements.

Based on that according to the plaintiff, it shared its market data and other business intelligence, introduced Weatherford to drilling services decision-makers and operators in the Nigerian market, and ultimately expended significant resources to facilitate Weatherford’s market entry and secure a drilling services contract for joint execution.

However it alleged that soon, as Weatherford had reached a level of familiarity with players in the market, and was on the verge of securing a contract, it made it clear that it had no intention to follow the parties’ agreement or complying with Nigerian content requirements.

Specifically it submitted that Weatherford insisted that it will only pay Ofserv Nig. a commission and would not allow it to use its own tools or personnel.

The plaintiff further alleged that Weatherford’s actions made it lost approximately 200,000 Nigerian man-hours and over $25million potential lost in-country revenue for the oil & gas sector. It therefore prayed the court for an injunction restraining Weatherford from executing the Sterling contract to the exclusion of Ofserv; equitable compensation to Ofserv on the basis of equity generated by the induced partnership and/or damages incurred by Ofserv as a consequence of Weatherford’s actions.

It argued that a key requirement of the Act is for foreign companies to deliberately impart skills to local firms and personnel through pre-implementation training and on-the-job learning (i.e. inclusion of local personnel in project implementation), wondering why Weatherford is acting to the contrary.

In its motion requesting to dismiss the plaintiff’s suit, Weatherford International argued that Ofserv Nigeria Ltd did not seek the leave of court, which is precedent before issuing the court process meant to be served on the defendant outside jurisdiction.

It stated that the writ of summons by the plaintiff is “void  ab-initio  having been issued without the leave of court first sought and obtained for the issuance and service of the writ of summons on the defendants outside the jurisdiction of this honourable court.”

It further submitted that the plaintiff, “being neither a law enforcement agency nor a regulatory authority in the oil and gas industry, lacks the  locus standi  to institute this action and has no right under the Act capable of being protected or enforced by private litigation as sought in this suit,” it added. To this end , it urged the court to discountenance the suit filed by the plaintiff.

– Vanguard


Saudi Arabia will join a meeting of producers from within and outside OPEC in Doha next month, adding weight to the campaign by financially stricken crude exporters to freeze output and overcome the glut that’s weighing on the market.

Qatar’s oil minister said that countries would meet in the nation’s capital Doha on April 17, without providing details of who would attend. While the participation of Iran is seen as critical for the deal to be effective, the meeting may go ahead without the Persian Gulf nation, according to two delegates who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. Saudi Arabia will attend, according to a person with direct knowledge of the kingdom’s oil policy.

Prices have rallied more than 30 percent since a mid-February proposal by Saudi Arabia, Russia, Venezuela and Qatar to cap oil output and reduce a worldwide surplus that had seen prices slump to 12-year low in January. The summit in April would seek commitments from a wider range of producers both within and outside the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Kuwait was the first other OPEC member to confirm it would attend, according to an e-mailed statement from its oil minister. Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak, speaking to reporters in Moscow, said that 15 countries have confirmed they’ll participate and that Iran is willing to join in. Novak and Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi planned to discuss the meeting on Wednesday by phone, one person said. Delegates from four OPEC members said they hadn’t yet received an invitation.

Latest Date
April 17 is the latest and firmest date in a series of suggested times for follow-up talks on the freeze. Nigerian Petroleum Minister Emmanuel Kachikwu said on March 3 that those talks would be held in Russia on March 20. The next day, Russian Energy Minister Novak told state television channel Rossiya 24 that a meeting could take place between March 20 and April 1 in Russia, Doha or Vienna.

The proposed freeze “put a floor under oil prices,” Qatari Oil Minister Mohammad Al-Sada said in an e-mailed statement on Wednesday. “To date, around 15 OPEC and non-OPEC producers, accounting for about 73 percent of global oil output, are supporting this initiative.”

Oil rallied after the Qatari statement, gaining 4.1 percent Wednesday to settle at $40.33 a barrel in London.

Iran Increase
There are reasons to be doubtful that the planned freeze can radically alter an oil market that’s fallen victim to a global fight for market share, causing stockpiles to rise to a record. Most significantly, Iran is seeking to increase production after the end of economic sanctions and has said it won’t participate in any accord until its output has recovered.

Iran boosted output by 187,800 barrels a day to 3.13 million a day in February, the biggest monthly gain since 1997, OPEC said in a report on Monday.

Brazil will also add more than 100,000 barrels of supply this year and has shown little interest in taking part.

“We will now see if OPEC and Russia are able to freeze the bears in the oil market,” said Olivier Jakob, managing director at consultants Petromatrix GmbH. “The significance of the agreement is that it could remove the perception that OPEC is fighting for market share.”

Other forces have driven prices higher in recent weeks. Outages from Iraq and Nigeria have disrupted more than 800,000 barrels a day of supply and tightened the Brent market, according to Citigroup Inc. And falling drilling activity in the U.S. shale industry has seen analysts raise forecasts for declines in North American production.

One key question is how fast shale production could come back if OPEC and some non-OPEC producers succeed in driving prices higher.

Oil ministers for Argentina, Venezuela and Colombia didn’t immediately respond to questions on whether they would attend. Ecuador’s oil minister said he still plans to gather Latin American producers before the April 17, after a planned meeting earlier this month was postponed.

“It’s not surprising they’d be willing to agree to this because the outlook for a further production increase was quite limited,” Jeff Currie, global head of commodities research at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., said in an interview on Bloomberg Television. “You can’t operate a cartel the way you used to.”

*Wael Mahdi, Mohammed Aly Sergie & Grant Smith; Francine Lacqua, Elena Mazneva, Angelina Rascouet & Andrey Biryukov – Bloomberg

The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi has urged state governments to get involved in solid minerals exploration and exploitation for the economic development of their respective states and growth of the nation in general.

Fayemi also kicked against what he considers are “residues of our authoritarian past” wherein state governments are left completely in the dark about mining operations in their states, arguing that the nation must be pragmatic, and engage local authorities, if it hopes to optimize the benefits of exploitation of its natural resources.

The Minister, who was speaking at the 52nd Annual International Conference and Exhibitions organized by the Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society, in Ilorin, Kwara State, noted that there is no excuse for states not to be involved in mining operations given the huge potential of the sector for job creation and wealth generation.

Fayemi said, “There is nothing in any law in this country that prohibits states from being active participants in the development of minerals endowed within their territories. As a former governor, I know where the shoe pinches government and I know the importance of this to state governments who want to increase their revenue base.

“But I also know that the law that is referred to (Section 39 of the Constitution) which puts exclusive control of mineral resources on the Federal government does not foreclose that states can get involved in mining; the law does not in any way suggest that states cannot form their own special vehicle or enter into partnership with joint venture operator in order to develop the resources that abound in their domain. That is an excuse for inaction if states say that.”

However, according to the Minister, the federal government must actively encourage states to play a part. “If anyone imagines that the minister will sit in Abuja and simply because someone has license can just enter into Share in Kwara State and start operating without some level of engagement with the local authorities, that is not right.

“I think it is a misnomer. That is not the intention of our constitution. It is the residue of our authoritarian past that is still allowing people to feel that that is what exclusivity refers to. I want to assure the governors that we need to partner.”

The Minister added that, “Since my assumption of office, I have opened up interactions with various interest groups in the sector to ensure that positive contributions are received to ensure sectorial economic growth.

“In line with this efforts are underway to encourage state governments to be more committed in participating in the development of solid minerals located in their States. Modalities for a closer working relationship between the Federal and State governments are being reviewed.

Fayemi said he has met with several governors from minerals-rich states, to reassure them on the need for partnership in the exploitation of mineral resources in their various states.

“I have also given the governors information on every license that has ever been approved for mining operations in their states. They have that information now; they can monitor and know exactly what is going on their states, and then determine whether it is something they want to be part of or not.

“The important point is that states and communities must be actively involved if we are make our quest for turning solid minerals mining into an alternative vehicle for economic development in Nigeria a success.”

Source: SweetCrudeReports

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