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Nigeria records 4,919 oil spills in 6 years — Minister

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Minister of Environment Dr Mohammad Abubakar has disclosed that Nigeria l 4,919 oil spills between 2015 to March 2021 and lost 4.5 trillion barrels of oil to theft in four years.

Abubakar disclosed this at a Town Hall meeting in Abuja, organised by the Ministry of Information and Culture, on protecting oil and gas infrastructure.

“According to the National Oil Spill Detection Agency (NOSDRA) data, the total number of oil spills recorded from 2015 to March 2021 is 4,919, the number of oil spills cost by collation is 308.

“The operational maintenance is 106, while sabotage is 3,628 and yet to be determined 70, giving the total number of oil spills on the environment to 235,206 barrels of oil. This is very colossal to the environment.

“Nigeria also lost approximately 4.75 trillion on oil activities in the four years between 2015 and 2018, as estimated by the Nigeria Natural Resources Charter.

“Several statistics have emphasised Nigeria as the most notorious country in the world for oil spills, loosing roughly 400,000 barrels per day.

“The second country is followed by Mexico that has reported only 5,000 to 10,000 barrel only per day, thus a difference of about 3,900 per cent.

“Now the environmental effect, which is the major concern of the ministry of environment, is in the loss of revenue.

“Attack on oil facilities has become the innovation that replaced agitations in the Niger Delta region against  perceived poor governance and neglect of the area.

“The impacts of vandalism of oil facilities have not only caused pollution of the environment, but had consequences on the local people, the national economy and security,’’ he said.

Abubakar added that the activities that come with oil exploration and exploitation had similarly caused alterations to the environment and some of its effects had either been reduced or prevented.

The minister added that adequate mitigation measures had been taken, including enforcement of relevant laws, regulations and guidelines, such as the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Act.

He said the EIA process ensured that measures were put in place to assist in the reduction of the negative effects and enhancement of the positive effects on the ecology, health and social wellbeing of communities in project areas.

“It is in the light of this fact that over 1,300 oil and gas projects in Nigeria have been subjected to EIA process under the supervision of the ministry’’.

Abubakar further added that the ministry held periodic interactive sessions with oil and gas operators, focused on the continued degradation of the environment, fatalities and loss of revenue, attributable to the regular and incessant vandalism of oil facilities, particularly pipelines.

The minister stressed that the effects of the destruction of oil and gas facilities had caused huge economic losses from pipelines to plant shut downs, as well as loss of biodiversity, habitat and ecological damage.

In addition, the destruction had also caused degradation of soil quality, which drastically reduces soil fertility, thereby, affecting crop yields and food security.

“Also, increase in air pollution and the attendant climate change issues, public health impacts on affected communities, social impacts and loss of livelihood, supremacy among militants, casualties, among others,’’ he said.

Oil pipeline vandalism over the years had been one of the major factors contributing significantly to environmental degradation in the Niger Delta region, which accounts for about 70 to 80 per cent of our oil and gas sector that drives the economy, the minister noted.

He added that the country’s oil and gas production accounts for a great deal of upstream and downstream industrial activities and production frontiers were increasingly moving into deep sea operations.

Similarly, the oil sector accounts for over 90 per cent of Nigeria’s total foreign exchange earnings with the bulk of it coming from the numerous producing fields, located on the land, swamp and offshore environment of the Niger Delta region, Abubakar also noted.

He, therefore, recommended increasing awareness creation on the negative consequences of vandalism of oil facilities and other illegal activities.

Such awareness should also be accompanied by increased sustainable community development programmes for host oil communities, to include skills acquisition, provision of infrastructure and basic amenities, among others, by oil companies and relevant government agencies, Abubakar said. (NAN)

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Business & Economy

Port Harcourt Refinery Begins Full Operations Next Month

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Port Harcourt Refinery
Port Harcourt Refinery
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The 210,000-barrel-per-day Port Harcourt refinery is expected to commence operations by the end of July, following multiple delays.

National Public Relations Officer of the Independent Marketers Association of Nigeria, Chief Ukadike Chinedu, revealed this new timeline on Monday. He noted that the refinery’s operation would boost economic activities, reduce petroleum product prices, and ensure an adequate supply.

In December last year, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Heineken Lokpobiri, announced the mechanical completion and flare start-off of the Port Harcourt refinery, the largest in the region.

The refinery consists of two units: an older plant with a 60,000-barrel-per-day capacity and a newer plant with a 150,000-barrel-per-day capacity. The refinery was shut down in March 2019 for the first phase of repairs after the government enlisted Italy’s Maire Tecnimont as a technical adviser and appointed oil major Eni as a technical adviser.

On March 15, 2024, NNPC Limited’s Group Chief Executive Officer, Mele Kyari, announced that the Port Harcourt refinery would begin operations in about two weeks. He made this statement during a press briefing following his appearance before the Senate Ad hoc committee investigating the various turnaround maintenance projects of the country’s refineries.

“We achieved mechanical completion in December,” Kyari stated. “We now have crude oil stocked in the refinery and are conducting regulatory compliance tests. The Port Harcourt refinery will start within two weeks.”

However, two months later, the refinery had yet to commence operations.

In an interview, IPMAN’s Ukadike emphasized that the work done on the refinery represented a complete overhaul rather than mere rehabilitation. He assured that every effort was being made to meet the July deadline.

Ukadike said, “When we visited, the MD informed us that the refinery was nearly ready and would start production by the end of July. The overhaul is extensive, with all the armoured cables replaced and everything almost brand new. The maintenance turnaround is massive, with work being done day and night. All hands are on deck to meet the target. By the end of July, the refinery should be operational.”

When asked about the government’s previous unfulfilled promises to restart the refinery, Ukadike acknowledged the delays but noted that no reasons were given for missing the last deadline in April

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CBN Halts 0.5% Cybersecurity Levy

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CBN Headquarters Abuja
CBN Headquarters Abuja
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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has withdrawn the circular directing banks to implement a 0.5 per cent cybersecurity levy on electronic transactions in the country.

The CBN announced this in a revised circular dated May 17, 2024.

The circular was addressed to commercial banks, Payment Service Providers (PSPs), non-interest, and merchant banks, among others.

It was signed by the CBN Director of Payment Systems Management, Chibuzor Efobi, and the Director of Financial Policy and Regulation Department, Haruna Mustafa.

The circular read: “The Central Bank of Nigeria circular dated May 6, 2024 (Ref: PSMD/DIR/PUB/LAB/017/004) on the above subject refers.

“Further to this, please be advised that the above-referenced circular is hereby withdrawn.”The withdrawal of the circular on the cybersecurity levy followed its suspension by President Bola Tinubu.

it would be recalls that Tinubu suspended the controversial cybersecurity levy on electronic transfers on May 14.

Minister of Information and National Orientation Mohammed Idris, who made this known while speaking to journalists after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, disclosed that Tinubu directed the CBN to suspend the implementation and review the modalities for the implementation of the levy.

Idris added that the levy was thoroughly discussed at the FEC meeting, saying the president was not oblivious to the feelings of Nigerians.

It would be recalled that CBN, in a circular dated May 6, directed banks to start charging a 0.5 per cent cybersecurity levy on all electronic transfers.

The apex bank stated that the deduction and collection of the cybersecurity levy is a sequel to the enactment of the Cybercrime (prohibition, prevention etc) Amendment Act of 2024.

This was greeted with wide condemnations by Nigerians, with many groups and individuals calling for the immediate reversal of the levy.

The House of Representatives also asked the CBN to withdraw the directive.

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CBN Issues July 7 Deadline For PoS Operators’ Registration With CAC

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The Central Bank Of Nigeria (CBN) has issued a July 7, 2024 deadline for Point of Sales (PoS) operators to complete registration with the Corporate Affairs Corporation (CAC).

This was revealed during a meeting between Fintechs and the Registrar-General/Chief Executive Officer (CAC) Hussaini Magaji (SAN) in Abuja on Tuesday.

Speaking at the event, the CAC boss said the two-month timeline to register their agents, merchants, and individuals with the commission, was “in line with legal requirements and the directives of the Central Bank of Nigeria”.

“The measure aims at safeguarding the businesses of Fintech’s customers and strengthening the economy,” a statement titled ‘CAC, PoS OPERATORS AGREE TO TWO-MONTH DEADLINE TO REGISTER THEIR AGENTS AND MERCHANTS TO STRENGTHEN THE FINTECH INDUSTRY‘ issued by the CAC added.

He stressed that the action was equally backed by Section 863, Subsection 1 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, CAMA 2020, and the 2013 CBN guidelines on agent banking.

Magaji explained that the timeline for the registration which will expire on July 7, 2024, was not targeted at any groups or individuals but aimed at protecting businesses.

Several speakers from the Fintech industry pledged to collaborate with the commission to ensure hitch-free implementation of the directive.

Some of them, however, stressed the need for adequate and collective sensitisation, to ensure that the exercise achieved the desired results.

The Special Adviser to the President on ICT Development and Innovation, Tokoni Peter, in his remarks, pledged to ensure smooth facilitation of the process in line with the Renewed Hope Initiative of the present administration.

The representatives of Opay, Momba, Palmpay Ltd, Pay Stack, Fair Money MFB, Monie Point, and Teasy Pay present at the event, later signed up for a document to support the project.

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