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Norwegian-based oil exploration and production firm, Aker Energy AS, believes its successful entry into Ghana’s upstream petroleum business is a timeous opportunity to transfer Norway’s decades of technical expertise and vast experience in the oil and gas industry to the country and the sub-region as a whole.
The transfer will be achieved through conscious mentoring and subcontracting to local staff and firms, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Aker Energy, Mr Jan Arve Haugan, told journalists in Accra.
 
In his first interaction with journalists in Accra after Aker Energy successfully replaced Hess Ghana Limited as the operator and 50 per cent owner of the Deep-Water Tano Cape Three Points (DWTCTP) block, Mr Haugan said the company’s contribution to the country and its domestic stakeholders “will be beyond the local content” requirements captured under the Local Content and Local Participation Policy.
 
“We want to contribute to the local economy beyond the requirements of the local content. We know that the oil and gas sector has some sort of minimum requirements on local content and that is a good picture of good governance.
 
“But sometimes, that is also a system that does not really build the industry in the country. So we have communicated very clearly that the Aker family, which I am the representative here today, has an obligation from the owners of the company to contribute to competence beyond local content,” he stated.
 
Aker Energy, the energy wing of Norwegian billionaire, Mr Kjell Inge Rokke, entered Ghana’s nascent upstream petroleum subsector in February this year through a US$100 million share purchase agreement with Hess Ghana for its stake in the DWTCTP block.
 
A financial closure of the transaction was reached last month, paving the way for Aker Energy to pay US$25 million to Hess Ghana. The remaining US$75 million is to be paid after the plan of development (PoD) has been approved by the government, according to the requirements of the transaction.
 
Following the sale, Aker Energy will now lead Lukoil (38 per cent), the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (10 per cent) and Fuel Trade (two per cent) to develop and produce oil in the block, which has proven reserves of about 550 million barrels of oil equivalent with additional potential of 400 million barrels.
 
Mr Haugan said Aker Energy was working hard to ensure that the PoD was submitted to the government in July to pave the way for its approval by December this year.
 
“We have clearly communicated that the critical activities need to be triggered by the end of the year. So currently, we are preparing the application for the development and that has to be submitted for approval to be given before the end of the year,” he noted.
 
He added that the approval would be followed by an ‘order to proceed’ in 2019, enabling the various actors to start development works.
 
“In 2020, it will be the year of assembling, where we will start to manufacture in various locations, then we put the pieces together and divide our pieces into three major blocks – the subsea production system (SPS), the subsea umbilicals, risers and flowlines (SURF) and then the floating, production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel,” the CEO mentioned.
 
He explained that although the company had “framed agreements to be copied from Aker BP,” our sister company in Norway, for the SPS and the SURF, that of the FPSO was different, given that it would be a purpose-built vessel.
 
“For the FPSO, we took the work that was done by Hess and we started. All the technical considerations have been completed and closed, and then we started the commercial process,” he said.
 
He explained that the bid for the FPSO was opened in early April, with the evaluation currently ongoing; with the hope that it would be completed by the end of the year.
 
Credit: AfricanNews.Com
Ethiopia said on Tuesday it would open its state-run telecoms monopoly and state-owned Ethiopian Airlines to private domestic and foreign investment, a major policy shift that will loosen the state’s grip on the economy.
 
The East African nation of 100 million people has one of the most closed and controlled economies in Africa. The ruling EPRDF coalition, in power since 1991, has long supported deep state involvement in the economy.
 
But the EPRDF said on Tuesday that Ethiopia needed economic reforms to sustain rapid growth and boost its exports
 
“While majority stakes will be held by the state, shares in Ethio Telecom, Ethiopian Airlines, Ethiopian Power, and the Maritime Transport and Logistics Corporation will be sold to both domestic and foreign investors,” it said in a statement.
 
It was referring to the state monopolies in the electricity, telecoms and logistics sectors, as well as the highly profitable national flag carrier.
 
The announcement was the first clear signal that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who came to power in April promising a “new political beginning”, would implement real economic reforms.
 
The 41-year-old former army officer was appointed by the EPRDF after his predecessor, Hailemariam Desalegn, resigned in February after three years of unrest in which hundreds of people were killed by security forces.
 
Observers say Abiy is under pressure to meet high public expectations. In the past two months he has traveled around Ethiopia, promising to address grievances and to strengthen a range of political and civil rights.
 
Earlier on Tuesday parliament approved the government’s decision to lift a six-month state of emergency two months earlier than planned.
 
Source: StandardMedia.co.ke
The new Country Director for Great Place To Work Nigeria, an affiliate of Peoples Productivity Solutions (PPS) Africa, the parent company of Great Place to Work UK, Dr. Gonzalo Shoobridge, has pledged the company’s commitment to partnering with Nigerian companies on global best practices.
 
Great Place to Work is a global research, consulting and training firm, which helps organisations identify, create and sustain great workplaces through the development of high trust workplace cultures.
 
Shoobridge, who replaced Michael Thomas as Country Director for Great Place To Work Nigeria, said Great Place to Work UK will bring to bear on Nigerian organisations best global practices that conform to the UK and other European companies where the firm has operations.
 
Speaking at the fifth award ceremony of Great Place to Work Nigeria, recently in Lagos, Shoobridge said: “We are bringing best practices here so we can share them with Nigerian organisations that want to become best work places.”
 
According to him, the objective was to have best workplaces in Nigeria, “because if we improve the workplace, we are going to improve the society as a whole.”
 
Shoobridge, who brings over 20 years experience in diverse international business development and human resource consulting roles, however, pointed out that great work places don’t happen by chance. Rather, organisations work hard to become great work places.
 
“It doesn’t happen in one or two years; it is a continuous improvement process, because the bar is very high. That is why we are going to partner with Nigerian organisations in that journey to becoming best work place,” he said.
 
Forty five companies across Africa were recognised as great places to work in various categories at this year’s award by Great Place to Work Nigeria. It was the fifth in the series.
 
The Group Managing Director (GMD), PPS Africa, Kunle Malomo, said the companies were recognised for demonstrating the main attributes of a great workplace.
 
“These companies have the courage and confidence to build the kind of workplace where you achieve organisational objectives with employees who give their personal best and work together as a team or family-all in an environment of trust,” he said, in his welcome address.
 
Credit: The Guardian
 

The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, disclosed yesterday that the Federal Government would mobilise more revenues to drive its growth plan for the economy.The Minister made this known in Abuja at a meeting with a World Bank Mission of 10 Executive Directors led by Mr. Patrizio Pagano.

She stated that the government would accelerate Nigeria’s growth level and also improve the Ease of Doing Business.

“The Nigerian government is working towards accelerating the country’s growth level. The growth will be underpinned by stimulating the Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria and improving our capital expenditure, which we have done in the last two years.

“Nigerians should trust the government to deliver on its promises of improving the economy and providing sustainable infrastructural development. We are very optimistic but we will remain vigilant,” Adeosun said.  The Minister revealed that the country’s taxpayers’ base had risen from 14 million in 2016 to 19 million in 2018, grossing additional five million taxpayers into the system.

“By 2019, the growth will be stronger than the present level in 2018. We are optimistic in sustaining Nigeria’s economic growth. That is why we are driving the mobilisation of more revenues.

“We have been able to grow the taxpayers’ base to 19 million in two years from the 65 million economically active people who are not tax compliant,” she added.

The leader of the World Bank Mission to Nigeria, Patrizio Pagano, explained that the team was in the country to acquaint itself of the government’s growth and power priorities.

“We have met with several Nigerian entrepreneurs and have seen how vibrant the private sector is. We want to understand how the power sector is evolving in Nigeria,” Pagano said.

The World Bank officials had earlier met with the Organised Private Sector (OPS)in Lagos and undertaken a tour of LAPO Microfinance projects in Lagos.

 The 10 World Bank Executive Directors, representing 96 countries, are expected to inspect the Azura Power Plant in Edo State in the course of their three-day visit to Nigeria.

ExxonMobil affiliate, Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited, operator of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation/Mobil Producing Nigeria Joint Venture, today announced plans to invest up to N13 billion (US$43 million) in three community health, economic empowerment and education projects in Akwa Ibom State in the next 18 months.

These investments amount to one of the largest community investments by any company...

The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Maikanti Baru, says the corporation will prove to Nigerians that it is the most transparent organisation in Nigeria.

Mr Baru said this at a stakeholders’ workshop on validation by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency …

The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru, has announced a three-point smart strategy aimed at ending gas flaring in the nation’s Oil and Gas Industry.

Dr. Baru made the announcement while delivering the lead paper on a panel session at the ongoing 50th Offshore Technology Conference (OTC), in Houston, United States of America.

Speaking on the theme: “Nigeria’s Gas Flare Commercialisation, Prospects & Opportunities”, Dr. Baru explained that in the last decade, gas flaring in Nigeria had reduced significantly from 25% to 10%.

According to the GMD, the multi-pronged approach taken by the NNPC would ensure a sustainable solution to the historical problem of flaring, thereby turning waste into dollars.

The 3-point strategy championed by NNPC to arrest the growth in gas flares includes ensuring non-submission of Field Development Plans (FDPs) to the Industry Regulator – the Department Petroleum Resources (DPR), without a viable and executable gas utilization plan, a move aimed at ensuring no new gas flare in current and future projects.

The other two strategies, Baru added, were a steady reduction of existing flares through a combination of targeted policy interventions in the Gas Master-plan as well as the re-invigoration of the flare penalty through the 2016 Nigeria Gas Flare Commercialization Programme (NGFCP) and through legislation, that is, ban on gas flaring via the recent Flare Gas (Prevention of Waste and Pollution) Regulations 2018.

This development, Baru added, would not only see Nigeria dropping from being the second highest gas flaring nation in the world to seventh, it would also signify a major milestone in its gas commercialization prospects.

“Total flares have significantly reduced to current levels of about 800mmscfd and in the next 1-2 years we would have completely ensured zero routine flares from all the gas producers,” the GMD stated.

According to him, NNPC has embarked on the most aggressive expansion of the gas infrastructure network aimed at creating access to the market.

“Today, we have completed and commissioned almost 600km of new gas pipelines thereby connecting all existing power plants to permanent gas supply pipeline. We are also currently completing the construction of the strategic 127km Obiafu-Obrikom-Oben gas pipeline – “OB 3” connecting the Eastern supply to the Western demand centres,” he added.

Dr. Baru further noted that aside looping Escravos-Lagos Pipeline System (ELPS 2) gas pipeline projects to increase gas volume capacity to at least 2Bcf/day, the corporation has recently signed the contracts to kick off the 614Km Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) pipeline project, which on completion, would deliver gas to the ongoing power plants in the areas and revive the manufacturing industries in the northern part of the country.

He assured that there was evidence that the interventions undertaken by the corporation were working as gas supply to the domestic market is growing at an encouraging rate, having tripled from 500mmcf/d in 2010 to about 1500mmcf/d currently. 

Dr. Baru informed that the aggressive development of gas infrastructure (pipelines and processing plant) between supply sources and the market would also create a sustainable evacuation route for currently flared gas and other gas sources.

Earlier, speaking at a panel session on New Oil & Gas Horizons and Procurement Procurements in Sub-Saharan Africa, Dr. Baru had maintained that huge opportunities abound in Nigeria’s Gas Sector, with the country expecting over $25 billion investments anticipated over the next 10 years.

He described the Nigerian Petroleum Industry as the largest and the most vibrant in Sub-Saharan Africa with lots of potentials, especially in the deep water and untapped gas resources.

Noting that Nigeria offers unique opportunities for investment in exploration, refining, storage, transportation, power, distribution and marketing of petroleum products, Dr. Baru further observed that the nation’s Gas Reform was anchored on a robust strategic framework that is focused on maximum economic impact through gas. 

Zambian President Edgar Lungu has told Glencore’s Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) unit to accept higher electricity prices caused by the removal of state energy subsidies, his spokesman said on Saturday.

Copperbelt Energy Corp. (CEC), which buys power from the state-owned electricity company and sells it to mines, slashed the supply to Mopani to 94 MW from 130 MW following a dispute over the new tariffs.

Mopani said on Friday the power supply restrictions had put its investments at risk, and has warned that it might lay off 4,700 staff as a result of the cuts.

Presidential spokesman Amos Chanda questioned Mopani’s decision to contest the higher tariffs, saying all other mining companies had accepted them.
“We do not have problems with any other mining company other than Mopani and they are mining the same copper,” he told reporters, calling Mopani’s jobs warning unacceptable.

Chanda said the government remained committed to the removal of fuel and electricity subsidies: “If those reforms have been accepted in the consumer sector by the poor, the president expects all sectors of the economy have to accept the reforms.”

The government in April announced a proposal introducing a flat tariff of 9.30 U.S. cents/kilowatt hour (kWh) backdated to January for mining companies, instead of individually negotiated rates that have averaged 6 U.S. cents/kWh.

Negotiations over the proposed higher tariffs involving the government, power suppliers and mining companies have been going on since November last year.

Mopani has a total workforce of 15,000 employees and produced 129,000 tonnes of finished copper in the year ended December 2016.

Reporting by Chris Mfula; Editing by Helen Popper

Invest in Africa (IIA), a not-for-profit organisation, through its African Partner Pool (APP) initiative, is partnering banks to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) access funds easily for their business.

The APP is an online portal that connects both multinationals and local companies to SMEs that are looking for opportunities to get into the supply chain.

Speaking in an interview with the B&FT on the sidelines of a forum held in Accra to educate the business public on Invest in Africa and the APP, Ibrahima Aminu, APP Manager, said: “We give the local Ghanaian businessman market opportunities via the APP for skills training using a Business Excellence Programme, and to finance via our banking partners, that is, Ecobank, UT Bank, and Societe Generale.

A lot of the times, our SMEs get the opportunities but they don’t have the capital to be able to execute the jobs, so our banking partners, if you win the tender on the APP, will help you fund that deal,” he added.

He further said: “What we try to do is that through our excellence programmes, we educate SMEs on what the banks are looking for, because if you want to apply for a loan you obviously need to have your books in order.”

In addition to accessing funds, the programme offers training and grooming services for SMEs to develop their skills and managerial competencies as well, through the ‘Business Excellence Programme’.

Ms. Aminu added: “The APP is an online portal that primarily allows SMEs to be aware of what is happening elsewhere.

For instance, at Tullow Oil, or MODEC, giving them the feasibility apply and take advantage of opportunities available there. The portal is multi-sectored; giving all sectors the chance to be explored by business people.”

The vision of the APP, Mr. Amin said, is to grow the community by getting more supplier and buyers on board “because the more buyers we have, the more tenders there are”, adding: “We want to ensure that more of the tenders put on there are won by APP suppliers.”

Companies that are enrolled on the programme include Tullow Oil, GE, MODEC, Newmont, Atuabo Free Port and many others. So far, the value of tenders that have been won on the APP by suppliers is $11.6million.

The Chief Executive Officer of Adom Properties, Bright Boakye, a user of the APP, narrated to the B&FT how beneficial the platform has been for his construction company, saying the initiative has changed the phase of business since the company signed up in 2015.

“Initially, we were having issues with getting tenders, because you are mostly not aware of advertisements. You have to always go through the newspapers or do door-to-door visitations to offices, and this was stressful.

Since we became a member of the APP, we do not have to go through all that, because APP has all the information on tenders and they notify us when they put them up, and all we have to do is just bid,” he added.

To qualify to use the application, the business must be a registered Ghanaian entity that has operated for at least two years. The company would be required to pay GH¢235; which is the start and annual renewal fee to be activated, and thereafter, be notified via mail and text anytime a buyer puts a tender or a business opportunity on the platform.

Source: Rashidatu Ibrahim

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