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57 investors to get marginal oil field licences Tuesday

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The Federal Government says successful investors in Nigeria’s 57 marginal oil fields of the 2020 bid round will get their petroleum prospecting licences on Tuesday.

On May 31, 2021, the defunct Department of Petroleum Resources issued letters of award to investors for the production of crude oil from 57 marginal fields.

In January this year, the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission announced that a total of 128 awardees emerged as successful bidders in the bid round and had made complete and part payments for signature bonuses in the oil fields.

It also disclosed at the time that 33 awardees did not make payments during the 45-day window given to successful bidders to pay the required signature bonuses for the oil fields and as such had lost their awards to suitably qualified reserve bidders.

Providing updates on the bid round in Abuja on Saturday, the Chief Executive, NUPRC, Gbenga Komolafe, announced that the successful awardees would get their licences on Tuesday.

He said, “In fulfilment of the promise made early this year, the NUPRC will on Tuesday in Abuja, issue Petroleum Prospecting Licences to successful awardees of marginal fields in the 2020 bid round, pursuant to the provisions of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021.

“It will also unveil the implementation template for the host communities development trust for commencement of the provisions under Section 235 of the PIA, 2021, to positively impact against restiveness in the host communities.”

Komolafe said implementing the development trust would guarantee seamless operations, boost investors’ confidence and provide enabling environment for sustainable improvement of the country’s hydrocarbon resources.

“These will mark the conclusion of some of the most urgent and critical tasks inherited by the commission when it was inaugurated in October 2021, after the signing into law of the PIA 2021,” he stated.

The commission had in March this year informed all participants in the 2020 marginal field bid round programme that it had put all necessary machinery in place to progress the bid round exercise to conclusion in line with the PIA 2021.

In furtherance of that resolution, the commission constituted an in-house work team to distill and address the concerns of awardees with a view to close out issues affecting multiple awardees per asset and formation of Special Purpose Vehicles by awardees in line with the respective letters of award.

“Awardees were therefore enjoined to avail themselves of the resolution mechanism provided by the commission in the overriding national interest,” Komolafe stated.

He added, “The successful coordination and resolution of the issues culminated in the emergence of the successful awardees that would be handed over licences on Tuesday.”

Business

Naira drops to N680/$ at parallel market

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The naira, on Wednesday, depreciated against the dollar at the parallel market as it traded for N680 per dollar.

Last week, the naira closed at N665 to a dollar at the street market.

The street traders put the buying price of the dollar at N665 and the selling price at N680, leaving a profit margin of N15.

They said scarcity has returned to the FX market.

On the official market, the naira appreciated by 0.52 percent to close at N428.75 to a dollar on Tuesday, according to FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange, a platform that oversees foreign-exchange trading in Nigeria.

The foreign exchange market had witnessed appreciation in the past one week after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission raided a BDC hub in Abuja.

The EFCC accused some BDC operators of mopping up foreign currencies, especially the dollar, to either hoard or smuggle the funds out of the country.

It therefore vowed to clamp down on persons and organisations hoarding foreign currencies across key commercial cities such as Kano, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Enugu and Calabar.

The Chief Executive Officer of Financial Derivatives Company, Bismarck Rewane,  recently said the naira was overvalued by 200 percent and projected that the official rate would be devalued next month.

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Railway

Diesel cost: NRC reduces Lagos-Ibadan trips from six to two

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The Nigerian Railway Corporation has reduced the number of trips on the Lagos-Ibadan train service to two due to the hike in the price of diesel.

Managing Director of the corporation, Fidet Okhiria, told The Punch that the NRC had cut the number of return trips on the route from six to two every day.

He said, “The Lagos-Ibadan train service is running, but we have reduced the number of trips on that route because of the diesel problem. We reduced the number of trips we are running because of the hike in diesel price.

“We are now doing two return trips as against six, which by now should have gone to 10. So, we run just two trips now due to the diesel problem.”

Despite the rising cost of operations, the NRC boss said it was outside the corporation’s powers to hike fares.

He said the corporation had sent recommendations to the Federal Ministry of Transportation for an adjustment in the train fare.

“We just can’t increase it by ourselves. The government has to do that. We have made some recommendations. But even with the recommendations we made, the new price of diesel has overshot our workings contained in the recommendations,” Okhiria said.

“However, we don’t want to price ourselves out of the market too, because the price of petrol is not increasing as such, rather the increase is little when compared to diesel price. And you know we are competing with transporters on road.”

In the last five months, the price of diesel has hit N800 per litre, representing a 28 per cent increase — it sold for 625/litre in March.

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Train attack: Terrorists release retired general’s six family members, one other

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Four children and three adults among train Abuja-Kaduna passengers kidnapped by terrorists in March have been released.

The children, who are the grandsons of a retired general, were released on Wednesday along with their father and mother.

A 60-year old man was also said to have been released in the latest set of freed abductees on health ground.

They were abducted when the terrorists bombed the rail track near Kaduna, forcing their train to stop and shot at the passengers, killing some of them in the process.

A number of the captives had earlier been released at different times.

A statement on Wednesday a Kaduna-based publisher, Tukur Mamur, who negotiated the release of some of the passengers, said the children and their parents were released after the intervention of Sheik Ahmad Gumi.

“Disturbed by the gory videos images of four teenage children belonging to the same family he saw in the last video released by the attackers of the AK9 Train, Sheikh Dr. Ahmad Gumi for the first time since the abduction of the innocent passengers of that train over 4 months ago has reached out to the abductors through his media consultant, sent Allah’s messages to them and consistently pleaded with them to consider the release of the poor children and their innocent parents.

“It was learnt that the health condition of two of the teenage children has deteriorated since the flogging incident that affected their helpless father. A total of additional seven hostages were therefore released on Wednesday.

“The husband (maybe he meant father) of the four kids is a staff of the National Assembly Commission. There was no intervention from the commission or NASS on his behalf since the travails begun.

“This is to confirm to the world that due to Sheikh Gumi’s efforts and with the support of a serving senator from the North, (a God-fearing personality that doesn’t have any relationship with the hostages) who chose to remain anonymous that all the family of six have regained their freedom on Wednesday morning. Also released is a 60-year-old woman, one Hajia Aisha Hassan, who was said to have been released due to life threatening health challenges that deteriorated recently.”

He gave the names of the six family members released as Abubakar Idris Garba, who is the father of the four kids, his wife, Maryama Abubakar Bobbo, and their eldest son, Ibrahim Abubakar Garba, who is 10 years old.

Others are Fatima Abubakar Garba, seven years; Imran Abubakar Garba, five years old, and the youngest, Zainab Abubakar Garba, who is only one and a half years.

The husband, Abubakar is the son of Maj. Gen. Idris Garba (retd). Gen. Garba, now bedridden, had once pleaded with government to ensure the release of his child, daughter-in-law and grandchildren.

He was a military administrator of Kano and Benue states during the administration of former military president, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida.

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