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Oil investment: Shell squeezing Nigeria, wants us to set aside our laws – NCDMB boss



Shell has, reportedly, withdrawn from the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) and the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) signed with the international oil companies (IOCs), introducing a hiccup in Nigeria to reduce upstream projects’ contracting cycle and enable quick development of major oil and gas assets have hit a brick wall.

THISDAY reports that Shell might have pulled out of the deal to force the Nigerian government to suspend the country’s laws and grant it more waivers, after some waivers were granted it as an incentive to quicken development of some of its offshore projects that had been lying fallow for decades.

Simbi Wabote, Executive Secretary of NCDMB, who hinted at Shell’s withdrawal from the September 2023 tripartite pact, during his intervention at the just-ended 41st Annual International Conference and Exhibition of the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE), held in Lagos, said the IOCs, especially Shell, were no longer interested in investing in Nigeria.

The assertion came as NNPC lamented the return of portfolio managers into the Nigerian oil and gas industry due to the advent of the Nigerian Local Content Act.


As part of the steps to address the waning investment in the upstream oil sector, continued production decline, and infrastructure deficit, NNPC and NCDMB had in September signed the landmark MoU with the IOCs to reduce the contracting cycle by 81.6 per cent.

The move was expected to cut down the current contracting cycle to an optimal level of not more than 180 working days from the current 327 days.

NNPC, in a statement at the time, said the deal was expected to improve the ease of doing business, reduce cost and drive efficiency, which would eventually translate to production growth, increased revenues, and, ultimately, improved profitability.

The statement said: “The MoU is also expected to contribute significantly to the double-digit economic growth rate agenda of the federal government and generate tremendous value for all the stakeholders, which include investors, companies, host communities and the nation at large.

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“Key benefits of the framework in the MoU include a reduction of the contracting cycle for open competitive tender, selective tender, and single sourcing tender to 180, 178, and 128 working days, respectively, compared with the current best effort performance of 327, 333, and 185 working days, respectively.”


But contributing during a panel session at the NAPE conference, Wabote stated that the reliance on the IOCs would not help Nigeria make progress in the development of its assets, stressing that Shell no longer wants to invest in the country.

Referring to Shell’s attitude in the September MoU between the IOCs, and NNPC and NCDMB, Wabote argued that the company had continued to demand more waivers after some had been granted it, adding the company wanted Nigeria to set aside every of its laws and allow it to develop the prolonged prolific Bonga Southwest project and some of its shallow offshore projects on its terms.

Wabote stated: “I don’t think Shell wants to invest in this country again. I’m sorry to say it, because I give you an example. Bonga Southwest started before I was even recruited in Shell and that is 26 years before I left Shell.

“Today, Shell wants Nigeria to set aside every law and do Bonga Southwest on their terms. Same thing with some of the shallow offshore projects. They want you to set all your laws aside and they want to create an emergency situation to tell you it is now very critical.

“But we started HI development almost 20 years ago, now it is very critical for Shell. HA development is now becoming critical for Shell. That’s how they leave their projects, such that it becomes critical, they write all the justifications, set aside your PIA, set aside your Local Content Act for them to do those projects. I personally don’t think they want to invest in those projects, they will prove me wrong, but time will tell.

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“We in local content sat down with all the IOCs (myself and Mele Kyari) and we said, what are the issues to enable us increase production. They listed those issues. We agreed on waivers that we would give. Later, I wrote a letter and submitted back to Shell to say, three months ago, we agreed to all the waivers you requested, where is the progress? The next response was that they were looking for further waivers.”

The NCDMB boss encouraged the local exploration and production companies that are now taking over assets divested by the IOCs to apply strict corporate governance so that they could create a joint venture that would help the country to develop its assets. He said Nigeria needed to be deliberate and realise that some of the multinationals were not prepared to help the country move forward, adding, “Let’s take our destiny in our hands and progress accordingly.”

In her intervention at the panel, Executive Vice President (Upstream), NNPC, Oritsemeyiwa Eyesan, who listed the challenges confronting the country’s oil and gas industry, revealed that despite its gains, the Nigerian Content Act had encouraged the return of portfolio managers in the industry.

Eyesan said, “I must at this point just also introduce the challenges we have with local content. When the Local Content Act was passed, we were all excited and looking forward to the growth of local capacity.

“Indeed, there had been some gains in the past in this regard. But you will also agree with me that it has brought with it a lot of challenges, to the extent that we have more or less encouraged portfolio managers rather than build competences and capabilities that the local content law was supposed to achieve.”


Eyesan explained that the return of portfolio managers made projects’ financing more difficult, “because when you have middlemen, sometimes, you have several layers in these middlemen that it becomes almost impossible to complete projects profitably”.

She said another challenge facing the oil and gas industry in Nigeria, which was causing the exit of the IOCs and discouraging new entrants into the sector, was the difficult and lengthy contracting process. She described it as an operational challenge, which NNPC Limited was not insulated from.

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Eyesan lamented as dismal a situation where a contracting process would linger for 24 months, instead of two to three months obtainable in other climes.

Citing political and regulatory risks as one other challenge in the industry, Eyesan said the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) was supposed to be an enabler for investment, explaining that if well implemented, it would enable and attract investment into the industry.

She said financial risk was another major encumbrance in the sector, explaining that currency and exchange rates instability make it difficult to structure financing deals that would deliver on the expected return. She added that investors were leaving the shores of Nigeria partly because of the financial risk.


The NNPC EVP further said, “First of all, we all agreed that virtually all the IOCs are leaving onshore, not to say they are leaving Nigeria completely, and we’ve articulated some of the reasons why they are leaving. Security is a major one, because if I’m not assured that I would get my money at the end of the day, then there is no reason why I would continue.

“The other risk that confronts participants in the sector is operational risk. We talk about insecurity in the Niger Delta and in the entire country as a whole. Again, I want to invest, I’m not assured my investment will be realised. That definitely will not make it possible for me to come.

“Technology deployment as well: when we are not able to deploy cutting-edge technology because we cannot afford it, it becomes even more difficult for us.

“There are other in-country reasons: stability in our regulations, stability in the fiscal environment. Until you solve those problems, it will be difficult for you to start saying you want to attract foreign investment.”



BREAKING: Stop these demolitions, you’re killing the people, Obi tells Lagos govt



A government that has lost the milk of human kindness is not justification to preside over their affairs, Peter Obi, presidential candidate of the Labour Party’s (LP) in the February 25 election, said on Thursday, in reaction to the ongoing massive demolitions of properties in parts of the country, particularly, Lagos and Abuja, mostly.

While Nyesom Wike, Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), had been engaging in some demolitions of buildings contravening the building plans of the city, the more devastating outcomes are being witnessed in Lagos, which seemed to have gone haywire with the bulldozers, which had been pulling down multi-billion structures in high-brow areas.

Alaba International Market, Abule Ado, Lekki and other parts of Lagos, have witnessed some of the onslaughts with the building owners lamenting that in many cases they were given just a few hours to evacuate their properties, a condition which many of them could hardly meet.

Obi, while bemoaning the situation, while pleading with the government to take the suffering of the people into account and approach the issue with human face, said:


“All government actions must show compassion, even though we should enforce sensible regulations.”

Amid the speculations that some of the victims who come from the South East were being punished for creating the situation, which gave Obi the massive votes in Lagos that made him beat President Bola Tinubu, who governed the state for eight years, and still maintains a stronghold on the political structure of the state, who used his X handle to air his position, on Thursday, advised the government to come up with measures aimed at alleviating the people’s hardships considering the current harsh economic conditions in the country.

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He said, “It’s with complete despondency and unhappiness that I have followed the ongoing demolitions of properties across the country, especially knowing the extra hardship such acts have been heaping on hapless citizens who are already battling with multi-dimensional poverty.

“What a responsive government should be doing under the current harsh economic conditions in the country is to come up with measures aimed at alleviating the people’s hardships and to carry out measures that will take more people out of poverty.

“Even if there are some violations as the governments are claiming, this critical time is not auspicious for such an exercise knowing the hardship in the land and the consequences it will have on the poor who are struggling to make ends meet with their little resources.


“The poor in our midst who are putting their meager resources are going through very severe financial stress that should not be multiplied further. In some cases, the properties being demolished are the life time savings and retirement abodes of the aged and incapacitated.

“My appeal therefore is for the respective governments involved in this act to consider the hardship in the country and try and put a human face to their actions. While we should enforce sensible regulations, all actions of government must show compassion.”

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It’s Tinubu’s budget of ‘hopelessness and pains,’ prepare for more hardship – PDP



Nigerians must gird their loins for more suffering with the budget President Bola Tinubu released on Wednesday if allowed to pass, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has said, warning the National Assembly not to approve it if they were truly representing the people.

Describing the N27.5 trillion budget for the 2024 fiscal year as deceitful, strangulating, and hopeless, the party in a statement by Debo Ologunagba, its spokesman, said if the budget was allowed to pass, it will further plunge the nation into more economic depression and hopelessness.

Stating that NASS must activate its mandate to the constitution under Sections 80, 81, and 82 of the 1999 Constitution, to reject the 2024 budget as presented, he said: “The PDP calls on the National Assembly pursuant to its Constitutional duty under Section 80, 81 and 82 of the 1999 Constitution to reject the 2024 budget as presented and use its legislative powers to disassemble the budget and make provisions that are critical and pivotal to the growth of the economy and the welfare of Nigerians,” the party said.

Ologunagba, while stressing that the document was devoid of concrete mechanisms to revive the economy, create jobs, address the comatose manufacturing and productive sectors, human capital development deficiencies, and depleting the life expectancy of Nigerian citizens, alleged that it was filled with heavily padded figures, duplicated items, and several false statistics, including claims of global increase in the inflation rate.


The PDP National Publicity Secretary declared that the budget is predicated and expected to be funded from multilateral and bilateral foreign loans and increased taxes on Nigerians and is designed to further mortgage the nation and strangulate the already impoverished Nigerians.

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No room for corruption in Abuja anymore – Wike * Says, Abuja metro ready in six months



Anybody planning how to skew the process for personal advantage, would discover the hard way that there is a new sheriff in town and it would no longer be business as usual, Nyesom Wike, Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), said on Wednesday.

Wike, former Governor of Rivers State and the only Minister of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) or member of the opposition in the cabinet of President Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), made this solemn declaration on the floor of the National Assembly, where he presented and defended a N61billion supplemental budget for the year 2023.

The Minister, whose is presenting the fresh estimates one month to the end of 2023, said components of the proposal, were projects-specific, added that President Bola Tinubu would commission most of them including the Abuja Metroline by May as part of activities marking the president’s one year in office.

According to him, the N61 billion FCT Supplementary Budget was drawn from its Paris Club refund, PAYE, the N5billion special presidential intervention for states, the presidential infrastructure support funds and the territory’s Internally Generated Revenue IGR.


For instance, Wike, who assured that the President would commission the metro line by May adding that part of the project, which would ease the movement of the people in the capital, was already contained in the national budget, presented by Tinubu on the same day.

Wike, who also spoke on the fate of victims of the administration’s demolition exercises, blamed them  for the situation, saying there was no way that the desire of a world-class Federal Capital Territory by Nigerians could materialise with those entrusted with making it happen engaging in excuses for unplanned and illegal developments.

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Noting that demolitions could not be stopped as long as people continue to build on green areas, water and sewage lines and other unapproved places, he said the Administration would however pay compensation in areas designated for resettlement.

He said: “We can’t stop demolitions. You cannot go and build in a green area and then when we demolish, you want us to compensate you. Illegality is illegality. But if we want to acquire your property for development, we will pay you.”

Wike, who justified his decision to engage Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN) to help handle cases involving the Administration, lamented that the lack of diligent prosecution of cases in the past by FCT officials led to the loss of a number of cases, adding that over 800 litigations involving the FCT, were currently pending in various courts.


Wike, who also alleged complicity on the part of some officials who connived with plaintiffs to get judgments against the FCT Administration, he said: “I have never seen a territory with over 800 litigations. Some of these litigations were in connivance with staff of the FCT. So, I said I will engage SANs because I don’t want a situation whereby someone will go to court and then agree with the plaintiffs and judgment is entered against the FCT.”

Revealing that his administration would revive the city’s mass transit system to eliminate cases of “one chance”, adding that private operators would undergo security vetting before being allowed into the system, he added that he was working with the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and the Department of State Services (DSS) with regards to providing Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras in strategic parts of the city.

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Accusing some of his staff of using some Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) entered into by the FCT with some private developers, to fleece the administration, he vowed to cancel the contracts, adding: “I will cancel several PPPs. All the PPPs in Abuja are about land and are against the FCT.”

Citing a case in Wassa where the FCT gave a developer land for mass housing, and gave him another N85billion for infrastructure, he lamented a situation where the same developer would go and build houses, and sell to people at market value without anything coming to the government.

On the recertification of all Certificates of Occupancy (C of Os,) he said: “All C of Os will be recertified and you will put your NIN. In FCT, there are a lot of fake C of Os but with this new development, we will end that and security-wise, we can know people who own each structure. If you have a C of Os and you have enjoyed recertified, it will no longer be valid,” he stated.


Chairman of the House Committee on FCT, Muktar Betara lauded the minister for his passion for developing the territory, however urged him to reconsider the uniform fees for obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy, saying highbrow areas like Asokoro, Maitama, Wuse and others cannot have the same fees with the satellite towns.

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