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Russia-Ukraine War: Nigeria Ready to Step in as Alternative Gas Supplier to Europe, Says Sylva

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Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva

Following the war between Russia and Ukraine, which is threatening the supply of gas to European countries by Russia, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva, has revealed that Nigeria is ready to offer its services as an alternative gas supplier to Europe.
He urged the European Union (EU) to increase investments in gas and hydrocarbons in Nigeria to enable the country to meet the bloc’s energy needs.

This is coming as the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), has declared that the emergence of China as almost the sole destination for Nigeria’s solid minerals resources export poses a risk to the country’s economy.

NEITI advised the federal government to develop a business relationship with other countries to reduce over-dependence on China.
Sylva spoke when he received a delegation led by the EU Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Samuela Isopi on a courtesy call to his office in Abuja.

The minister’s call comes on the heels of the festering war between Ukraine and Russia, which threatens gas supply to European countries.

Russia currently supplies about 30-40 per cent of the EU’s gas needs.
In a statement issued yesterday by his Senior Adviser – Media and Communications, Mr Horatius Egua, the minister said Nigeria was ready to step in as an alternative gas supplier to Europe, urging the EU to encourage its oil and gas companies such as Shell, Eni, and Total Energies to scale up investments in the Nigerian gas sector.

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“We warned that the speed was faster than they were developing renewable energy. You can see now that what we were warning against is what is happening now,” the minister said.
He told the delegation that what stunted growth in the development of gas in Nigeria was the lack of fresh investments, and called for a change of attitude on the part of the EU if its requests to increase supplies to Europe would be realised.

According to the minister, one of the biggest challenges the sector has is a lack of investments.
“In the last 10 years, over $70 billion worth of investments came to Africa, but sadly less than $4 billion came to Nigeria.
“Surprisingly, we are the biggest in Africa. If we cannot attract investments to Nigeria, you know where we are heading.

“You have been our longtime friend. As of today, our gas reserve is one of the biggest in the world. We have a proven gas reserve of 206 tcf and if we focus on gas exploitation we can get up to 600 tcf.
“We are already building gas infrastructure such as the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) pipeline project, expected to take gas to Algeria, and the West Africa Gas Pipeline project designed to take gas to Morocco,” Sylva explained.
The minister further said that after the Russia-Ukrainian war, the EU must have a buffer or an alternative source of gas, and collaboration with Nigeria in that regard was paramount.

He reiterated Nigeria’s commitment to working with the EU to bridge the gap in terms of gas, adding that from the Russian-Ukranian crisis, it was evident that gas had been weaponised and unless it created an alternative, it would only get worse.

He reassured the EU diplomats of Nigeria’s readiness to be an alternative supplier of gas to the EU but urged its companies operating in the country to invest more here.
“We would like to be reliable partners to solve the energy problem in Europe and we can only achieve this by working together. It is only when investing in these areas is increased that Nigeria can meet that obligation,” Sylva said.

While emphasising the need for the transfer of technology in gas and renewable energy, he said Africa must be allowed to continue to exploit its hydrocarbon deposits to develop the continent.
In her response, Isopi urged Nigeria to take advantage of the opportunity offered by the present crisis in Europe to shore up gas supplies to Europe.

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Ortom suspends mining activities in Benue to curb insecurity

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Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, on Thursday ordered the immediate suspension of mining activities in the state as a means of curbing security threats emanating from that area.

He gave the directive at the meeting held with Kwande stakeholders at the Benue State Government House, Makurdi.

The governor said the activities of miners were already posing threat to the peace of the state.

He said that the state government would set up committees at state, local government and ward levels to regulate the activities of the miners.

He said, “Recent events in the Kwande Local Government Area are posing danger and threat to the peace in council and the state in general and this is as a result of mining activities in the area.

“We know that there are some miners with licences from the Federal Government because it is the responsibility of Federal Government to grant licences.

“We know that some of the miners don’t have licences; we have foreigners and indigenous ones among them.

“As a result of the danger the activities of the miners pose in the state, we hereby suspend all mining activities in the state including those with licences.

The governor asked all licensed miners to register with the state Ministry of Land, Survey and Solid Minerals.

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Emirates Suspends All Nigerian Flights Over $85m Blocked Funds

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Emirates Airlines has announced the suspension of its flights from Nigeria with effect from September 1, 2022.
The decision was due to the inability of the airline to repatriate its funds from Nigeria.
Recall that the airline had in a leaked letter to the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, said it would reduce its frequencies in Nigeria from 11 to seven by mid August over its trapped $85m in Nigeria.
Daily Trust reports that other airlines may also follow suit as blocked funds belonging to foreign airlines have hit over $600m which they are unable to repatriate as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) could not meet airlines’ request for dollars.
In line with the bilateral air service agreements (BASAs), foreign airlines are expected to issue their tickets in naira while the CBN provides the dollar equivalence for repatriation to their home countries.
In a statement on Thursday morning, Emirates said it would stop all its flights to Nigeria, adding it might re-evaluate its decision if there was any positive development in the coming days.
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The statement read: “Emirates has tried every avenue to address our ongoing challenges in repatriating funds from Nigeria, and we have made considerable efforts to initiate dialogue with the relevant authorities for their urgent intervention to help find a viable solution.
“Regrettably there has been no progress. Therefore, Emirates has taken the difficult decision to suspend all flights to and from Nigeria, effective 1 September 2022, to limit further losses and impact on our operational costs that continue to accumulate in the market.
“We sincerely regret the inconvenience caused to our customers, however the circumstances are beyond our control at this stage. We will be working to help impacted customers make alternative travel arrangements wherever possible.
“Should there be any positive developments in the coming days regarding Emirates’ blocked funds in Nigeria, we will of course re-evaluate our decision. We remain keen to serve Nigeria, and our operations provide much needed connectivity for Nigerian travellers, providing access to trade and tourism opportunities to Dubai, and to our broader network of over 130 destinations.”
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Niger, Benin, Togo Owe Nigeria N5.8bn For Power In 2020 – Report

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The Republic of the Niger, Republic of Benin and Togolese Republic did not pay a N5.86 billion electricity debt in 2020 from an invoice of N16.31bn issued to them by the Nigerian Electricity Market (NEM) for the year.

According to the report for 2020 released by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), the companies for each of the countries are Societe Nigerienne d’electricite (SNE), Societe Beninoise d’Energie Electrique (SBEE) and Compagnie Energie Electrique du Togo (CEET) respectively.

The remittances showed that the Nigerian Market Operator (MO) gave the countries N16.31bn from which they paid N10.45bn for the services received from MO, while N5.86bn was outstanding.

Ajaokuta Steel Company Ltd, termed a special customer in Nigeria, and its host community did not pay anything after consuming N1.08bn worth of electricity in the year. The invoice from Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) to the company was N930m, while that of MO was N150m. NERC recommended in the report that, “MO and NBET must activate the relevant safeguards against continued non-settlement of market obligations by these market participants.”

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Also, in 2020 NERC issued five new generation licences and renewed three others which would add 667.70 megawatts (MW) to the grid. The new licences can add 235MW while the renewed licences were for 346MW capacity of electricity generation. It also gave approval to 33 Meter Asset Providers (MAPs) and certified 17 Meter Service Providers (MSPs).

On metering, the report indicated that 537,400 meters were installed for consumers in 2020, a 60.4 per cent higher figure than the 334,896 meters installed in 2019.

Despite this, the huge metering gap for end-use customers is still a key challenge in the industry. Registered customers grew to 11,841,819 (11.8m) in 2020 but just 4,666,191 (4.6m) or 39.40 per cent of them were metered.

“Therefore, 60.60 per cent of the registered electricity customers are on estimated billing contributing to apathy toward payment for electricity bills,” it stated.

Daily Trust

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