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We can no longer deliver Ajaokuta steel plant – Minister

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The Federal Government says President Muhammadu Buhari administration will no longer complete the Ajaokuta steel plant in 2022, as earlier promised.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war were blamed for frustrating the project on several fronts.
Olamilekan Adegbite, minister of mines and steel development, disclosed this on Thursday while addressing state house correspondents in Abuja.
He said the FG had, before the pandemic, successfully convinced Russia to complete the steel facility but could not proceed with the negotiations due to what he called “force-majeure brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic”.
The deal with Russia involved a $2 million fee for technical audit required to ascertain the state of the facility before work would begin.

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Weststar introduces all-new Mercedes C-Class, targets end-of-the-year luxury car buyers

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Luxury car firm, Weststar Associates Limited, has announced the introduction of an all-new Mercedes Benz C-Class, said to be sportier and slimmer, to the Nigerian market, targeting buyers of high-end cars for the end of the year celebrations.

This was disclosed in a statement by Weststar obtained via email from the firm’s Marketing and Social Media Manager, Oluwatobi Abimbola.

Already, it said that the firm had started receiving orders for the new car from interested people in Nigeria

Weststar’s CEO, Mr Mirko Plath, was quoted as saying, “We have started receiving some big demand for the all-new C-Class in this market as many of our customers are really blown away with the new high-tech features of this vehicle; it’s also very spacious, thanks to the new long wheel base and I can assure Mercedes-Benz lovers that the driving experience is out of the world.”

The all-new C-Class is said to have the perfect combination of comfort and performance.

The car, according to Weststar, is built with the singular objective of helping people escape the stress of everyday life into a luxurious retreat, into your own comfort zone.

It states, “Being one of Mercedes-Benz’s best sellers and longest running model series, over 10.5 million Mercedes-Benz C-Class models have been delivered to customers globally since its inception in 1982.

“This all-new model generation takes things many steps further with even more digitized features as well as stunning & expressive design features.
The most prominent highlight in the all-new C-Class is most certainly the latest generation of the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system, which is more intuitively operated and has a higher learning capacity.

“Like the new S-Class, the new C-Class is equipped with the second generation of MBUX. The vehicle interior becomes even more digital and intelligent, as both the hardware and software have made great strides. i.e. brilliant images on the LCD screens make it easy to control vehicle and comfort functions.”

It lists other key features of the MBUX in the new C-Class as an increasingly sharp “Hey Mercedes” voice assistant, music streaming available with the “Online Music” service; a stunning widescreen central display; Augmented Video and a fingerprint scanner for personalization of MBUX settings.
The modern and luxurious design of the all-new C-Class is said to be another standout feature.

It says, “The all-new C-Class can be described as slimmer, sportier and more stylish, featuring bold exterior accents like the power domes on the bonnet, the radiator grille with the Mercedes-Benz pattern design and flush 17- to 19-inch wheels in modern designs.

“Another key feature in the exterior design of the new C-Class is the DIGITAL LIGHT which is inherited from the S-Class, it has a light module with three extremely powerful LEDs in each headlamp that pr+-oject resolutions of more than 2.6 million pixels.”

Interior

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The interior design is flushed with new surfaces and elements on the instrument panel and centre console.

It says there is a new air vent design which is reminiscent of aircraft engine nacelles and customers who go for the AMG line interior get more extra special features like the two-tone upholstery.

It’s other interior luxury features are listed as high-resolution LCD screen housing the instrument cluster, ambient lighting featuring optical fibres and the Burmester 3D surround sound system.

Performance
The driving experience in the all-new C-Class is said to come with more power and increased efficiency thanks to powerful new 4-cylinder M 254 petrol engines with outputs at 150kw/204hp – 190kw/258hp and a peak torque of 300nm – 400nm.

“These 4-cylinder engines come with mild hybrid electrified drivetrains equipped with a 48-volt integrated stater alternator (EQ Boost), the additional output of these electrified drivetrains is capped at 15kw/20hp.

“On the new C-Class the shifting is carried out smoothly with the 9GTRONIC automatic transmission.

“Also, the suspension configuration in the new C-Class provides a high level of suspension, ride and noise comfort, agile handling and driving fun, this thanks to a new four-link axle at the front and a multi-link axle at the rear mounted to a subframe.”

Safety
The all-new C-Class comes loaded with a flurry of safety and assistance systems such as the Active Steering Assist with 360° camera, Active Brake Assist, Parking Package with 360° camera and additional safety features with the Digital Light.

Weststar says the all-new C-Class is available in Nigeria with its dealerships – Barbedos Cars Limited, MB Automobile Services Limited, Skymit Motors Limited, Sunny Motors Limited and Tetralog Nigeria Limited.

 

 

 

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Kia shines at TopGear awards, wins ‘Manufacturer of the Year’  

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Korea’s oldest automaker, Kia, is excited ending the year on a high, having just received the Top Gear’s Manufacturer of the Year award.

Top Gear is a British automobile magazine, owned by BBC Worldwide.

The recognition was given at the magazine’s 2022 awards, according to a statement from the Kia office in Nigeria on Wednesday.

“This is the second consecutive year that Kia has taken home a win at the TopGear.com awards; last year, the newly launched EV6 won the ‘Crossover of the Year’ category,” the statement by spokesman for Kia Nigeria, Olawale Jimoh, added.

Kia recalled that it launched several game-changing models in Europe this year – notably the fifth-generation Sportage and all-new Niro, consistently two of Kia’s best-sellers across Europe, must have influenced the choice of the brand for the award.

Both models are said to offer a major update over their predecessors in several areas, including exterior and interior design, technological advancements, and sustainability credentials.

It quoted the Editor of BBC Top Gear Magazine, Jack Rix, as saying, “Kia’s recent form is remarkable. Despite unprecedented headwinds, the upward trajectory shows no sign of slowing down. In fact, it’s getting braver. The latest Sportage is a superior family crossover in comparison to its closest competitors, the new Niro looks striking, and offers hybrid or electric versions and Kia seems to be landing on its feet when it comes to the transition to fully electric. The EV6 GT offers a 577bhp version with mind-blowing drift mode.”

President of Kia Europe, Jason Jeong, also responding, said, “This has been an outstanding year for Kia in terms of new product, brand awareness and sales. Our year-to-date market share across Europe has held strong at 5.1% over the past two months, and that success is due to our incredible electrified line-up. As we expand our electrified offering throughout 2023 and beyond, we hope to inspire more customers to make the switch and support a sustainable future for all.”

Marketing Director at Kia Europe, David Hilbert, accepted the award on behalf of Kia and said: “2022 has been a milestone year in Kia’s history where the brand became synonymous with electrification and set the new gold standard for the future of mobility. The introduction of EV6 GT was a defining moment for us as we extended our electrification leadership into the high-performance arena. Thank you to TopGear.com for naming us ‘Manufacturer of the Year’ – it is welcome recognition of the brand’s achievements so far, and we look forward to a successful 2023.”

The company says its ‘Plan S’ strategy outlines its sustainability targets, including a line-up of 14 fully-electric models by 2027.

It adds that the next model to launch will be Kia’s highly anticipated EV9, which will be revealed to the European market in 2023.

“The Kia EV9 will represent the pinnacle of what is possible with an electric SUV. Developed on the company’s Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP), the large electric SUV will usher in a new era of sophisticated, high-tech, sustainable mobility for Kia,” it states.

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More Boost for Nigeria as Oil Production Rises to 1.6mbpd

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•NNPC shops for new American IOC for Bonga South-west Aparo FID in 2024

•NCDMB to get first dividend payment from Waltersmith Refinery by year end

•Security, cost optimisation, others at front burner as NLNG, IOCs seek solutions

Nigeria is speedily recovering from the months of under-production with oil production at 1.59 million barrels per day as of yesterday, according to the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC).

The Chief Investment Officer, NNPC Upstream Investments Management Services (NUIMS), Mr. Bala Wunti, who represented the company’s Executive Vice President, Upstream, Mr. Adokiye Tombomieye, disclosed this during a panel session at the ongoing 11th Practical Nigerian Content Forum (PNC) in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

Wunti, also said the NNPC and its partners were making significant efforts with corresponding outcomes in the upstream oil sector, revealing that the company was bringing another American oil major to take part in the Bonga Southwest/Aparo Final Investment Decision (FID) billed to take place in 2024.

Also at the forum entitled, “Deepening Nigerian Content Opportunities in the Decade of Gas”, Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited announced that the NCDMB would get its first dividend payment from its 5000 barrels per day modular refinery in Imo State by the end of the current financial year.

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However, issues bothering on challenges of the nation’s oil and gas industry including insecurity, high operational costs, enabling fiscal policies and other such bottlenecks were at front burner as the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Limited, Shell, TotalEnergies and Chevron unanimously canvassed the need to address those problems to drive investments in the gas sector.

Speaking during the panel, which was on “Defining the Requisite Roadmap for Increased Gas Production,” Wunti said the achievement of the 1.59bpd production yesterday was resulted from the collaboration between the NNPC, its partners, the private security contractors and other stakeholders in the industry.

He said that meant that a significant quantity of the lost production volume had been recovered, adding that it represented an average of about 250,000 barrels over the last six months.

Wunti said, “I like talking about outcome and matching the outcomes with the efforts. We do know that in January, our budget is 1.8 million barrels per day.

“I’m sure His Excellency has not been getting the money that he should get from the treasury because the budget was anchored on 1.8 million barrels.

“It degenerated somewhere in July, August to about one million barrels. I’m glad to say, with the collaboration of every one of us and the private security contractor that we put in place, our production today is about 1.59 million barrels this morning. That means we have recovered significant quantity.

“On the average, about 250,000 barrels over the last six months, but on a snapshot, we have seen the 400,000 barrels increase that was deferred earlier as a result of significantly either stealing or as a result of our inability to produce as a result of environmental reasons and some other reasons.”

He, however, revealed that the company was bringing another American oil major to take part in the Bonga Southwest/Aparo Final Investment Decision (FID) billed to take place in 2024.

Bonga Southwest/Aparo is a conventional oil development located in deepwater in Nigeria and is operated by Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited.

Discovered in 2001, Bonga Southwest/Aparo lies in block Oil Mining Licence (OMLs 118, 140 and 132, with water depth of around 4,395 feet.

The project is currently in approval stage and was expected to start commercial production in 2026. The FID of the project was to be approved in 2022 and the development of the asset would involve the drilling of approximately 24 wells and includes Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) and subsea trees.

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Production from the project was expected to begin in 2026 and was forecast to peak in 2027, to approximately 146,765 bpd of crude oil and condensate and 157 Mmcfd of natural gas. Based on economic assumptions, the production would continue until the field reaches its economic limit in 2059.

Also, the field was expected to recover 759.56 million barrels of oil equivalent (Mmboe), comprised of 644.86mbbl of crude oil and condensate and 688.17bcf of natural gas reserves.

The field is owned by Shell, Eni, TotalEnergies, Chevron, Exxon Mobil and Luke Oil.

“I did mention that we’re going for FID on Bonga North either last quarter of this year or first quarter next year. I did mention that Bonga South-west is going to sleep, we’re going to focus on 2024. We’re aligning with all our partners to focus on doing Bonga South-west/Aparo.

“We’re bringing one American more to make it for Aparo. So we’re targeting the FID in 2024. Several other projects with Chevron, we hope to do the FID before the end of first quarter of 2023 – the Agbami Gas Project. All these are coming with significant gaseous hydrocarbon,” he noted.

He said the current improvement in electricity supply was a result of the security architecture, which has enabled the generation of additional 500 million standard cubic feet (scuf) of gas, assuring that the NNPC would be sending additional 250 million scuf to NLNG and 250 million scuf to the domestic market.

“That increase is making Egbin and all the other power plants around Lagos very stable. And we’re making sure that all the efforts we make we can measure them. I was very excited when I saw Simbi putting the outcome versus the input. So in upstream today, we don’t look at only the input and the output, but we go all along to capture and commend the outcome”, Wunti added.

Delivering the sponsor’s keynote address, the Chairman of the Independent Petroleum Producers Group (IPPG) and Waltersmith Petroman Oil Limited, Mr. Abdulrazaq Isa, announced that the NCDMB, which is an investor in the 5000 barrels per day Waltersmith modular refinery would be receiving its first dividend by the end of the 2022 financial year.

According to Isa, “After just 27 months of operations, NCDMB will receive its first dividend payment from the refinery for this financial year. We also forecast that by Q2 2023, the refinery will have paid off all its debt and commenced installation of another module of 5000 bpd.

“The Waltersmith Refinery which was enabled by NCDMB has been phenomenally successful.”

Isa also stated that the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, had been instrumental in driving the Decade of Gas policy, which aims to unlock over three billion cubic feet of gas per day.

He added that this would create significant benefits for Nigeria by attracting Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) in excess of $10 billion in addition to creation of millions of jobs across the gas value chain.

He posited that unlocking this gas potential within the decade would certainly involve big gas development projects, where the local content successes recorded on similar projects could be replicated.

He said the commitment of funds under the NCDMB’s commercial ventures partnership programme continues to stimulate investment and promote in-country capacity, adding that it was imperative that the role NCDMB had played through strategic investments and as a business catalyst on impactful projects were highlighted.

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Isa maintained that the Waltersmith refinery was a notable example of efforts of the NCDMB to promote local content through active financial participation in businesses that have huge local values.

He disclosed that the refinery has enhanced value-add from the industry by increasing local refining capacity, creating employment opportunities, and delivering diesel, kerosene, naphtha and High Fuel Oil (HFO) into the domestic market.

In his remarks, the Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Mr. Simbi Wabote, revealed that the board has achieved 54 per cent local content retention level in the Nigerian oil and gas industry in 2022.

According to him, the push for Nigerian Content as envisaged in the agency’s 10-year Strategic Roadmap has continued to yield results in the last five years, pointing out that out of the 96 initiatives under the strategic roadmap, NCDMB has completed 77.

“It is my pleasure to announce that the 2022 Nigerian Content level in the Nigerian oil and gas industry is 54 per cent based on our monitoring and evaluation of industry activities which bring the average in the last five years to 44 per cent Nigerian Content level.

“Once again, this performance is well above the minimum target of 42 per cent NC set for 2022 by the Board’s Project Management Office (PMO) just like we outperformed the 38 per cent NC target set for 2021 by achieving 42 per cent Nigerian Content.”

He listed the top-three performers of in-country spend in 2022 as Fabrication and Construction at 99 per cent NC, Manpower at 81 per cent NC, and Project Management at 80 per cent NC, while the bottom-3 performers were Procurement at 34 per cent NC, Engineering at 46 per cent NC, and Services at 50 per cent NC.

He noted that the Practical Nigerian Content Forum was a flagship event of the Board which attracts major stakeholders in the oil and gas industry from across Nigeria.

“The event serves as an opportunity to showcase the practical investment opportunities and achievements by NCDMB in the Nigerian oil and gas industry and its linkage sectors.

“It also hosts senior government officials, heads of International and Indigenous Oil Companies, and exhibitions of industry products and services in the upcoming event.”

However, in their separate interventions during the panel session moderated by the pioneer Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Dr. Ernest Nwapa, the Chairman of Shell Companies in Nigeria and Managing Director of Shell Petroleum Development Company Limited (SPDC), Mr. Osagie Okunbor; Managing Director of TotalEnergies Upstream Nigeria Limited, Mr. Mike Sangster; Managing Director of Chevron Nigeria Limited, Mr. Rick Kennedy; and Deputy Managing Director of NLNG, Mr. Olalekan Ogunleye, harped on the need to address the challenges confronting operators in the nation’s oil and gas industry.

They listed such issues as insecurity, high operational costs, unfavourable fiscal policies and other such bottlenecks that make Investments in the industry especially achieving the Decade of Gad agenda difficult.

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