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Exploiting Potentials Of LNG In Addressing Development Challenges Of Nigeria

By Edith Ike-Eboh

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Exploiting Potentials Of LNG In Addressing Development Challenges Of Nigeria

“In my salon and Spa, I spend on a daily basis, between N7,000 and N10,000, on petrol to keep my business running. It is tough but I am optimistic that one-day power supply will improve in the country to help me grow my business,” says Mrs Victoria Justice, a Stylist and an entrepreneur in Kubwa, an outskirt town in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

Justice is one among many young small business owners who battle to keep their businesses afloat because of the high cost of running their operations and activities, occasioned by poor electricity supply.

Nigeria is the largest oil producer in Africa and among the largest in the world and it holds the largest natural gas reserves on the continent as well as being the world’s fifth-largest exporter of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) in 2018.

Read Also: Nigeria’s External Reserves Hit $35.81 billion

However, over the years, due to lack of use of its vast gas resources for its development, the country still suffers epileptic power supply, and it is overly reliant on petrol at the detriment of other cost-effective and cheaper energy sources.

This was what spurred the present administration to declare the year 2020 as the year of gas, and its determination to fast-track the completion of a number of delayed, neglected and abandoned gas projects and the commencement of new gas projects in some parts of the country.

Some of the gas projects include taking Final Investment Decision (FID) and award of the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract of the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas’ (NLNG) Train 7 project; Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) gas pipeline project; completion of the Escravos Lagos Gas Pipeline System II (ELPS II) project; Integrated Gas Handling Facility (IGHF), Benin; Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), Liquefied Petroleum Gas Auto Gas project, among others.

This is in tandem with experts’ view that the country needs to utilise its gas resources to facilitate economic growth and development.

Some of them are of the opinion that the challenge of power supply and hike in the increase in the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) also known as petrol, can be solved with gas development and utilisation in the country.

Prior to December 2019, when the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, had declared 2020 as the ‘Year of Gas’, he had stated that the completion of the Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme remained paramount with associated gas-focused deliverables that include deepening domestic gas penetration and adoption amongst others.

He had stated that the government was committed to ensuring the elimination of gas flaring from Nigeria’s oil and gas fields by 2021 for enormous multiplier effect and development.

Sylva said Nigerian Gas Reserves were at 200.79 trillion cubic feet (TCF) as of January 1, 2019, with associated gas reserves slightly above 50 per cent and a total reserves life index of 92 years as of 2018.

According to him, the country is also one of the top 10 global gas flaring nations, with flaring standing at 321.29 billion cubic feet (BCF), representing around 10 per cent to 11 per cent of the total produced gas.

The minister said the government had demonstrated its commitment to ending gas flaring with the development of the National Gas Policy and setting up of the Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme (NGFCP).

“The NGFCP is designed as the strategy to implement the policy objectives of the government for the elimination of gas flares from Nigeria’s oil and gas fields in the near term (two to three years), with potentially enormous multiplier and development outcomes for Nigeria.

“It is also designed as the contribution of the petroleum sector to Nigeria’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement (COP21).

“It is a unique and historic opportunity to attract major investment in economically viable gas flare capture projects whilst permanently addressing a 60-year environmental problem in Nigeria.”

Speaking on efforts to boost domestic gas supply, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Malam Mele Kyari, said that the Corporation had laid down plans to boost domestic gas consumption in the country.

He said that its upstream subsidiary, Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), had set out programmes that would help it to be a major supplier of gas in the country.

He added that taking the FID on the NLNG Train 7 project and the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano Gas Pipeline (AKK) projects were part of efforts to ensure the deepening of the country’s domestic gas supply.

“President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated the 40-inch x 614 kilometres (km) gas pipeline project in June with 24 months timeline of project delivery target.

“The AKK Gas Pipeline is a pipeline planned to transport natural gas from Ajaokuta, in Kogi State to Kano, in Kano State, through several states and urban centres, as part of the Trans-Nigeria Gas Pipeline.

“Upon completion, the project will enable the injection of 2.2 billion standard cubic feet per day (bscf/d) of gas into the domestic market and facilitate additional power generation capacity of 3,600 megawatts (MW),’’ Kyari said.

He further noted that the AKK project, which is at 15 per cent completion, would be delivered at the projected time frame.

“That means expanding gas supply into the hinterland and also making gas ready. We are happy that this project is going on and we will deliver it on course and on schedule.

“We have all the assurances of government and particularly, that this government is focused on delivering this project so that we clear the transnational gas pipeline which has eluded us.

Also, Kyari noted that the commissioning of the Integrated Gas Handling Facility (IGHF) Oredo, Edo State, would also go a long way in helping to achieve government’s desire of deepening domestic gas supply.

“The Oredo Integrated Gas Handling Facility and its associated Natural Gas Liquids (NGL) depot will be delivering 240,000 metric tonnes of commercial-grade liquefied petroleum gas and propane.

It will also deliver about 205 million standard cubic feet per day of lean gas to the domestic market,’’ he said.

Confirming the assertion of the NNPC chief executive, the Managing Director of Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), Mr Mansur Sambo, said the company was the largest supplier of domestic gas in the country.

Out of about 1.7 billion cubic feet (BCF) that goes to the domestic market, NPDC, with its partners supply about 1.1billion and out of this 1.1 billion, NPDC equity is about 620 million standard cubic feet (MSCF). So, as at today, NPDC is the largest gas supplier to the domestic market,” he said.

He stated that NPDC had laid out plans to ensure that the facility was maintained over the years for economic growth and development.

In addition, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, noted that the Oredo IGHF plant, coming at the close of the year, tells a lot on government’s determination to deliver on its promises in the face of challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

He noted that the accomplishment of the project highlighted the commitment of the NNPC in eliminating gas flare

Nigeria has made unprecedented strides in the area of gas infrastructure development that will facilitate exploitation and monetisation Nigeria’s massive gas resources for national development.

“Beyond the swath of social amenities and employment opportunities, the project will offer broad vistas for business development among the host communities,” Sylva said.

Sylva further noted that government had through its Auto Gas policy inaugurated Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) plants in some selected petrol stations across the country to help reduce the impact of the hike in the price of petrol on motorists.

He said that conversion centres have been established with the provision of over one million conversion kits to the centres.

He said the introduction of gas for the powering of the automobile and other engines was a step in the right direction, adding that it remained a cheaper and cleaner source of energy.

“It is very important to note that this shift to gas underscores Mr President’s seriousness and determination in the development of Nigeria’s vast gas resources.

“This initiative is envisaged to create two million jobs per annum, promote skills acquisition and enhance technology transfer in addition to growing the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” he said.

But experts have urged the federal government to ensure the sustainability of these projects as it targets SME growth.

Specifically, an energy expert, Mr Joseph Nwakwue, said that the declaration by the Minister was a step in the right direction,

“The Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva has declared 2020 as the year of Gas for the Nation. As I have said ever so often, more than an oil nation, Nigeria is a gas nation,’’ he said.

He added that natural gas has the enormous potential to diversify and grow the Nigerian economy, power its industries and homes, produce ever-so-lacking wealth, create jobs, develop associated industries in the petrochemical sector, raise people out of poverty, among others.

“Sylva’s demonstrated intent could perhaps become the most relevant political action anyone has taken in Nigeria in years and could change the country forever,’’ he said.

In addition, Mrs Josephine Edem, an Economist said, “Small business owners are in dire need of power to do their business; they need gas for power to reduce the cost of production.

“Deepening the domestic gas supply will help the growth of Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSME), and by extension, bring about growth and development needed in the country. We need gas now.”

It is expected that full implementation of these gas projects would bring about desired results by improving power supply in the country, creating jobs and boosting local production among small and big business owners.

 

NAN

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First Bank Appoints Nnamdi Okonkwo As New GMD

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First Bank Appoints Nnamdi Okonkwo As New GMD

First Bank Holdings, on Thursday, October 28, 2021, disclosed the appointment of Nnamdi Okonkwo as its new Group Managing Director (GMD).

Newsrand understands that this development marks the return of the award-winning banker barely ten months after he successfully served out his term at Fidelity Bank.

Okonkwo was immediately past Managing Director and CEO of Fidelity Bank of Nigeria PLC.

His appointment followed the retirement of U.K. Eke, who has completed his two-term tenure.

Uke, according to the board, tendered his Notice of Retirement on August 10, 2021

The board further announced the renewal of the appointments of Dr. Adesola Adeduntan and Gbenga Shobo as the managing director and deputy managing director of FirstBank respectively, for another term.

In the same vein, the Board announced the renewal of appointments of Kayode Akinkugbe and Taiwo Okeowo as the Managing Director and Deputy Managing Director of FBNQuest Merchant Bank Limited respectively, for another term.

“Uke’s retirement takes effect at the end of the current Financial Year on December 31, 2021. Mr. Eke’s retirement follows from a 35 years career in financial services, strategy, auditing, consulting, taxation, process reengineering, and capital market operations.

“FBNHoldings Board has also announced that Eke will be succeeded by Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, a focused and result-oriented top banker, who will assume office as Group Managing Director, FBN Holdings Plc effective January 1, 2022,” Seye Kosoko, the Company Secretary said

Okonkwo, the immediate past Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity Bank Plc, brings to bear on the Board of FBNHoldings more than 30 years of unbroken banking career spanning local and international experience. He has a wealth of experience in transformational leadership, business strategy development and visioning, innovative corporate governance, and risk management.

He has led the transformation of banks, with the most recent being Fidelity Bank, where he led the management team in seven years to achieve remarkable results culminating in tripling profit and shareholder value.

Okonkwo previously served as the Executive Director for Southern Nigeria in Fidelity Bank. He has worked meritoriously on an international level in his capacity as the Managing Director of UBA Ghana; Director, UBA Liberia, and a Director of the Ghana National Banking College.

He has served in various leadership positions across other financial institutions including Broad Bank of Nigeria Ltd; Citizens International Bank, Nigeria; FSB International Bank Plc, Nigeria; Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Nigeria; and Merchant Bank of Africa, Nigeria.

Okonkwo made remarkable feats as a Director in various organizations including UBA Ghana, UBA Liberia, Nigeria e-government Strategy (Negst), Nigeria Interbank Settlement System Plc, Unified Payment System Ltd and as Chairman, Shareholders Audit Committee FMDQ, amongst others. His appointment is subject to the approval of regulatory authorities.

The board also approved the appointment of Tope Orhionsefe Omage as a Non-Executive Director of First Bank of Nigeria Limited by the Board of FirstBank, subject to the approval of the CBN.

The Board also announced the appointment of Meristem Registrars Limited as the new Registrars to take over the Register of Members of FBN Holdings Plc in replacement of First Registrars and Investors Services Limited, with effect from December 1, 2021.

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First Bank: Otedola Is Not Our Largest Shareholder

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First Bank: Otedola Is Not Our Largest Shareholder

First Bank has made a u-turn against its statement that confirmed the emergence of billionaire Femi Otedola, as its largest shareholder.

Newsrand had exclusively gathered that Otedola was buying a lot of shares to become First Bank’s chief.

Responding to the report, First Bank released a statement, saying it was unaware of the development, and promised to inform the investing public after being briefed by involved parties.

“The attention of FBNH has been drawn to media reports of today, Oct. 22, purporting that a certain individual has acquired a significant shareholding interest in FBN Holdings, making him the majority shareholder in the company.

“As a listed company, the shares of FBN Holdings are publicly traded, and sale and acquisition of shares are expected in the normal course of business,” the statement read.

In less than 24 hours after releasing the statement, First Bank released another, confirming Otedola as its largest shareholder with a 5.07% stake.

But in a surprise turn of events, First Bank has now come out to say Tunde Hassan-Odukale is his largest shareholder, and not Otedola as previously claimed.

According to the financial institution, while Otedola has a 5.07% stake, Hassan-Odukale has a 5.36% stake, which made the former the second-largest shareholder in the company.

First Bank’s explanation

While acknowledging that Otedola and Hassan-Odukale individually have more than a 5% controlling stake, First Bank noted that Odukale has a 5.36% stake through his 0.07% direct shares and 5.29% indirect stake through Leadway Holdings Limited subsidiaries.

Newsrand understands that this is higher than Otedola’s 5.07% stake which he holds through his direct 0.03 stake and 5.04 percent through his indirect stake at Calvados Global Services Limited.

In its explanation as to the confusion, First Bank said it didn’t list Odukale as a 5% holder, but instead recorded it as 4.16% (Direct) and 1.20% (Leadway).

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How I-invest Is Creating Investors from Everyday Nigerians

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I-invest

In line with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s financial inclusion target as well as to promote an efficient savings culture among Nigerians, I-invest, a first-of-its-kind mobile application has provided a secure and safe platform for millions of Nigerians at home and in the diaspora to invest in and secure their future.

Developed by Parthian Partners, an organisation regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and FMDQ, I-invest allows retail investors to conveniently buy and manage Eurobonds, Treasury Bills, Commercial Papers, Equities, and many more without the help of a broker on a secure platform.

Through the I-invest app, Nigerians are able to access a plethora of investments based on their risk appetite. Potential investors do not need banking officials, fill lengthy documents or spend valuable time in banking halls.

A major objective of the app is to enable Nigerians secure their future through investment, an objective that very much aligns with this year’s edition of the Nigeria Economic Summit (#NES27) themed, “Securing Our Future: The Fierce Urgency of Now.” The summit is holding at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja from 25th to 26th October 2021.

Speaking at the Summit, Oluseye Olusoga, Founder of I-invest and Group Managing Director, Parthian Partners, said I-invest is leveraging technology for Nigerians to invest and build a savings culture. Olusoga said the unique advantage of the App is the safety, ease-of-use and convenience, in addition to being regulated.

“The #NES27 theme, ‘Securing our Future’ can be realised through saving and investing for tomorrow hence I-invest has been designed to allow users do this in the most seamless and convenient way, for not only the user but for dependants as well. The application is built by Nigerians to help Nigerians invest in Nigeria.

He added that, “The impact of the application on the Nigerian economy is to create an environment where Nigerians are involved in the development of the country through their investments, instead of taking their money out of the country.”

Olusoga explained that the app allows Nigerians to invest in different sectors of the capital market in both Dollar and Naira instruments; ranging from mutual funds to fixed deposits with different banks.

“I-invest is an App for everything financial services in Nigeria, it even allows you to buy insurance. With the advent of BVN, we are taking the advantage of technology to be able to invest directly. Users can buy equities straight from the stock exchange, and Treasury Bills from any of the accredited banks, all from the mobile App,” he enthused.

Speaking on his expectations from the #NES27, Olusoga said he wants Nigerians to be more aware and involved in tackling challenges facing the nation in turn changing the country’s narrative.

The I-invest App is available for download on Google Play or Apple store.

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