News Stories in 2nd Quarter 2007 Edition of DDH Magazine
NIGERIAN ENERGY AND TRANSPORT NEWS UPDATE
Ajah Sand Miners Hail 50% Down-payment for Ado Road Dualization.
News that Lagos State Government has made a 50% down payment for the repair of the ever-busy but deplorable Ado Road is causing no small joy amongst road users in the area, especially sand miners whose trucks dominate the thoroughfare all year round.
The Ajah-Badoreh road has been deeply potholed and erosion-prone for the better part of four years when the multiplied numbers of commuters who suffer the hardships of travel through it resulted in many representations to the state government.
Even the Ajah Sand Miners Association claim they had made spirited attempts in the past to repair the road on their own but for the prohibitive cost of doing so and a seeming disagreement with the relevant state authorities on how to go about it.
Now, however, all that seems to be forgotten as beneficiaries of the repairs are full of joy that their hellish experience is at an end.
Speaking to DDH magazine, the secretary of the Dredging Association of Nigeria, Mr Richard Ntang, said he was present at the handing over ceremony of the mobilization-fee to PW Nigeria Ltd for the immediate reconstruction of the road. It is billed to be remade into a four- lane thoroughfare from Ajah to Badoreh. Already the contractors have deployed to site as their heavy duty equipment have started clearing obstructions for the dualisation. When DDH visited the location concrete gutters were being laid on both sides of the road. It could not be immediately ascertained the completion schedule of the project as the company is yet to entertain questions on this.
MOSOP warns Shell off Ogoniland
Hope of a truce in the long drawn bitterness between Ogoni people and multinational oil company, Shell, appeared doused with the host community sustaining its hard stance against the outfit. Indeed, the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) has again affirmed non-recognition of Shell as an oil exploration and exploitation company in the community. The development appears to have voided achievements of the Rev. Hassan Kukah-led peace initiative in the oil-rich community. MOSOP recently stressed that if the Federal Government wanted to commence oil exploration and exploitation in Ogoni, it should consider allocating the Ogoni oil concession to a new operator rather than Shell. MOSOP said that the Ogoni had lost confidence in the Kukah driven peace between the people, Shell and the Federal Government and called for a re-engineered, more transparent dialogue process, which would have nothing to do with the current process. MOSOP Information Officer, Bara-ara Kpalap reacted on behalf of the group to media reports credited to Reverend Kukah in which he gave the impression that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) would soon be signed between the Federal Government, Rivers State Government, Shell, United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and Ogoni to enhance a so-called clean up of the Ogoni environment and facilitate Shell's return to the area to commence oil production.
Highlights of new NAMASA Bill as passed by the House of Representatives
- Name has been changed from NAMASA to NIMASA (Nigerian Maritime Safety Agency )
- NIMASA to henceforth set aside 25 per cent of its yearly income for the establishment of a National Maritime Fund.
- The agency is to spend five per cent of its yearly revenue on the Maritime Academy of Nigeria in Oron, Akwa-Ibom State in the country's attempt to build necessary human capacity in the maritime industry.
- The enabling Act of the agency slashes the proposed 2.5 per cent stevedoring and shore handling charges payable by terminal operators and shipping companies to the agency to 0.5 per cent.
- To ensure that the National Maritime Fund is established by the agency, the law direct NIMASA to present a statement of its expected income to the National Assembly through its supervisory minister every year.
- The bill increased the agency's executive directors from two to three, while labour sector was also accommodated in the board.
- National carriers have the right to participate in the carriage of bulk dry and liquid cargoes across the seas… "The participation of national carriers in the carriage of bulk cargo to and from Nigeria shall be subject to a carriage right of not less than 50 per cent of such cargo. All other cargo to and from Nigeria outside the jurisdiction of liner conferences shall be subject to the same principles of cargo sharing."
- The right to cargo carriage by indigenous ship owners "shall not be limited to the UNCTAD 40:40:20 formular.
- The objective of NIMASA for which the 25 per cent revenue could be expended included regulation of maritime safety, protection of the maritime environment from pollution and other environmental damages, promotion and the development of indigenous commercial shipping trade, search and rescue service, port state and flag state control, maritime security, regulation of maritime labour, etc.
- "Notwithstanding the provisions of any other law where the agency has reason to believe that any ship, being in any port or place in Nigeria, is unsafe ship and security risk, as is by reason of any of the matters mentioned in sub-section (2) of this section unfit to proceed to sea without serious damage to human life having regard to the nature of the service for which it is intended, such ship is liable to be detained... In performing its functions under this section, the agency shall have regard to the ISM Code, the ISPS Code and other international conventions and federal legislation on ship safety and security."
Militants attack NNPC vessel off Lagos coast
In late February 2007, heavily armed militants attacked a barge fully loaded with petroleum products from a vessel belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) off the Lagos coastal waters.
This time, they were intercepted by men of the Nigerian Navy from the NNS Beecroft, Apapa, who arrested the offending barge. Most of the pirates were arrested while some others dived into the sea and escaped.
The attacked barge, “Arthemis”, belonging to MRS petroleum, an independent oil marketing company was taking petroleum products from a mother vessel (MT Lovet Sky) belonging to the NNPC and had on board 13,500 metric tonnes of petrol at the time of attack.
General Manager, M.R.S Petroleum, Mr Alex Ita Esuk, told newsmen that the barge was engaged in ship-to-ship transfer during the attack and that the pirates tied up every body on board and inflicted body injuries on the crew members, six of whom were hospitalized in Lagos.
MRS Chief Security Officer, Major M.N Babasanda said there was an exchange of gunfire between the naval men and the pirates. “Twenty-one of them were met on board while six principal crew members including the Captain, the Sounding Master, the Engineer, and a brother to the owner of the (pirate) vessel (Mt Udo)”, he said. They have all been taken by the Naval authorities,” he said.
The identity of the owner of MT Udo was not immediately known.
Trucks Banned on Third Mainland Bridge
Heavy-duty vehicles like trailers and tankers above 10 tonnes would not be allowed to ply the Third Mainland Bridge until after repairs being initiated by the federal government to strengthen parts of it.
In addition, a new speed limit of 50 kilometres per hour will be in force for all vehicles on the bridge, according to information released by the Federal Controller of Works, Mr. Babatunde Ekunsumi at a stakeholders' meeting in Lagos.
Following much outcry by users that the bridge was vibrating and may collapse, the federal government instituted a post-engineering investigations panel which confirmed that sections of the bridge from Ebute – Lagos axis were vibrating. The original designers of the bridge, Messrs IN.Co, Milan of Italy were invited as consultants and joined the investigation.
Although the interim report of the consultants confirmed no immediate threat of collapse of the bridge, it called for traffic control on Decks 13 and 14, which are within the approach from Ebuta Metta to Sura Market until fully repaired.
The consultants also proposed, among other things, reduction of weight and speed on the bridge, reduction of lanes to two, through physical barriers placed along the length of the affected sections of the Lagos-bound carriageway.
The Federal Ministry of Transport has inaugurated a committee on the repair of the Third Mainland Bridge to implement the consultant’s report. Headed by Mrs. Dada Alamutu, the chairperson of Lagos Megacity Development Authority, it has the Federal Controller of Works, Mr. Babatunde Ekunsumi and representatives of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, Federal Road Safety Commission, the Police and Lagos State Ministry of Transport as members.
Trucks and tankers are to use alternative bridges, the Carter and Eko bridges. Main reconstruction works on the bridge are expected to start in six months.
NIMASA sacks top management staff...77 middle cadre on their way out
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has penciled down over 77 middle cadre staff of the agency for sack and the affected staff have been sent for training preparatory for their disengagement.
In a letter pasted on the notice board of the authority, the Director General explained that the staff retrenchment was due to a directive by the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) that employees promoted above level seven without the relevant prerequisite be removed from employment.
The mass media have been awash with wrangling at the top management level of the organization about who should be affected by such a purge, a situation that delayed the staff rationalization exercise.
NPA Grades shipping companies
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has classified shipping companies into three groups according to their history of settling port bills. The Terminal Co-ordinator of the Tin-can Island Port Mr Joshua Asanga has explained that the classification was not arbitrary, as shipping firms were categorized based on their indebtedness to the Authority
well as other factors like ship traffic, cargo and transaction volume and manifest accuracy. In the exercise, seven shipping companies were classified as category ‘A', 39 firms as category ‘B’ while 19 companies were put in category ‘ C ’.
Asanga said incentives would be given to companies in good categories of A and B while the C category companies would have a hard time until they improve their acts, especially with the prompt settlement of NPA bills. Positions in the ranking are not fixed but subject to review from to time. NPA has also served debtor companies a 3-week notice in March to settle their bills or have their operations in the port suspended.
NCAA to ground old aircraft
Nigerian airlines with old aircraft in their fleet may soon be stopped from operating them by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA); plans are said to be afoot to ground them by the end of March 2007. affected aircraft are those between the ages of 25 and 30 years.
NCAA Director-General, Olusegun Demuren, said the resolve to ground the planes was in line with the Air Marshal Paul Dike aviation sector review committee's recommendation that the use of old aircraft should be outlawed in the industry
Demuren said NCAA would soon issue a circular to the operators through their umbrella body, Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON), on the new development.
Most of the aircraft in the fleet Nigerian operators are over 30 years, though Arik Air and Aero Contractors have relatively newer aircraft.
Until the latest move, the NCAA had only repeatedly spoken of its intention to ground the industry's older aircraft, long after the Federal Government legislated against them.
FG Restricts Fuel Depots in Apapa Ports
Following traffic woes that snarled the port city of Apapa for the better part of March and a fire incident at the premises of Yinka Folawiyo Petroleum, the federal government has read the riot act to owners of tank farms in the city.
Minister of Energy, Dr. Edmund Daukoru had, shortly after the fire incident while on a port assessment tour, expressed concern over the state of the nation’s ports and assured that the Federal Government will ensure that new developers are not allowed to build more oil depots at the Apapa port. He stated that there was need for the government to urgently decongest the port for safety reasons, even though he expressed concern over the extent of damage on Yinka Folawiyo’s Petroeluem depot.
On a separate visit, days later, Minister of Transportation, Chief Cornelius Adebayo relayed a Federal Government order for the relocation of tank farms on Tin-Can Island and Apapa on account the same reasons stated by Dr Daukoru: traffic congestion in the area, and its attendant implications for petroleum products supply and distribution. The government also directed that further construction of new tank farms in the area be stopped forthwith.
Chief Adebayo, while on tour of Tin Can Island port said that the location of the MRS Oil and Petroleum Limited situated between PTML terminal and Five Star Logistics in Tin-Can Island port did not allow for the smooth flow of traffic and directed that it’s relocation. Moreover, he faulted the location of other tank farms at Ibru Jetty along Oshodi-Apapa expressway saying corrective measure must be made immediately, especially against all depots that contribute to the daily buildup of heavy traffic along the expressway. Even his entourage was not spared a taste of the ordeal on the day of his visit as they were held up for quite some time.
While briefing the Transportation Minister, the managing director of Nigerian Ports Authority, Chief Adebayo Sarumi fingered A-Z Petroleum Ltd, G-EuroAfric Ltd and Hensmore Ltd as tank farms that were notorious for improper location and for not having any parking space for trucks heading towards their facilities. The NPA boss singled out NIPCO PLC as the only fuel depot which had adequate space for its operations.
FG to reclaim 25 abandoned mine sites
Nigeria’s Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Alhaji Bala Borodo has committed the federal government to the tune of N500m for reclaiming 25 abandoned mine sites around the country. Selected out of 423 abandoned sites, they were found in conditions that constituted serious health hazards.
Alhaji Borodo made this known in Abuja at the submission of a report on abandoned mines and quarries and an action plan for remediation in March. He explained that N500m had been released in the first quarter of 2007. Confirming the recent a dedicated department for the rehabilitation and restoration of abandoned mine sites all over the country, he added that the inventory was conducted with the collaboration of the World Bank and covered about 423 sites nationwide, with the intent of itemising all the sites and prioritising the most critical sites for immediate reclamation.
According to Borodo, “Previous administrations had not taken due cognizance of the enormous dangers these sites had posed and consequently did not appropriate for them. To underscore the importance of these reclamation works, the President directed that immediate action be taken to fast track the remediation process in the most critical sites.”
He stressed the benefits of the project including safety of life and property and the reduction of loss in biodiversity, lives, property and promotion of the alternative use of the land for farming purposes. On the Mining Bill, which was resent to President Obasanjo after the Senate had recalled the initial version, he said it had been signed into law.
Africa ’s container traffic to increase by 12%
Sub-Saharan Africa‘s container traffic will increase by 11 to 12 per cent a year between 2007 and 2011, according to APM Terminals International BV.
“Africa‘s growth is higher than the world average because it‘s coming off a low base,” APM Terminals South Africa Ltd‘s Managing Director, Simon Pitout, said in an interview in Durban, South Africa recently.
APM Terminal, which operates more than 40 container terminals in 24 countries, expects African port capacity utilisation to increase from an estimated 70 percent to about 80 per cent during the same period, Pitout said.
Container traffic in Africa may grow to about 10 million 20-foot equivalent units by 2011, from about 6 million this year.
APM Terminals which is based in The Hague and owned by Denmark‘s A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S, has seven facilities in Africa, including Apapa in Nigeria, Tema in Ghana and Port Said in Egypt.
It bid a little over $1bn in 2004 to clinch the Nigerian facility which is the largest in the country. Nigeria accounts for roughly 68 per cent of total sea trade in the West African region. On the whole, Nigeria has eight ports, 11 oil terminals and 128 private jetties
FG Plans to Concessions Egbin Station to Korean Firm
Nigerian President Olu-segun Obasanjo has ordered that Egbin thermal power station situated on the outskirts of Lagos Nigeria be concessioned to the Korean Electricity Power Corpor-ation (KEPCO) of South Korea. This followed constant power outages nationwide culminating recently in the explosion of one of the boilers at the 1320MW station.
The terms and conditions of the concession agreement which are yet to be agreed but would entail a five year rehabilitate, operate and transfer (ROT) arrangement that requires the South Korean firm to repair the malfunctioning units at Egbin and manage the thermal station for the duration of the concession period, according to media reports.
KEPCO is South Korea ’s state-run electricity utility which was established in 1961, and currently provides over 56,000MW of electricity to Korea through a combination of thermal, hydro and nuclear power stations. South Korea , like several rapidly growing economies in Asia, is seeking cheaper alternative energy sources in Africa and the Middle East. The country recently made forays into Nigeria ’s oil and gas sector through the Korean National Oil Corporation (KNOC) and has held preliminary discussions with Nigerian government officials on the possibility of investing in the electricity sector.
$11b Olokonla LNG project to stop gas flaring
THE proposed Olokonla liquefied natural gas (LNG) project is aimed at utilizing gas reserves that are now being flared into the atmosphere. It was commissioned in March for USD11b and comprises an LNG plant and other auxiliary services.
With main client as the NNPC, the sod of the first phase of the project, is slated for turning in the first week of April at Araromi Seaside community in Ondo State, Nigeria.
The contract for site clearing and land preparation was awarded for $600 million at the same site, Olokonla, a coastal boundary area between Ondo and Ogun states, whose grounds include a Free Trade Zone, a Deep-Sea port, refineries and other industrial and commercial facilities.
While the first phase will begin by connecting the plant site with oil reserves in the Niger Delta through pipelines, the second phase of the project is scheduled for award by the end of this year at the cost $18 billion.
Ondo State Governor, Olusegun Agagu, disclosed last week while signing into law the N13.4 billion 2007 Appropriation Bill of the state Oil-Producing Areas Development Commission (OSOPADEC), that with the recommendation of the Olokola mega projects, the stage has been set for unprecedented development of the state in the industrial sector.
Three DGMs, 500 Others, lose jobs at NIWA
Three deputy general managers and over 500 other ranks lost their jobs at the National Inland Waterways Authority which regulates sand mining and inland water transport and activities in Nigeria. The fate befell them in April.
The retrenchments which were managed by the Bureau for Public Entreprises (BPE), is in the spirit of privatising NIWA's operation to reduce it to a regulator and landlord.
Some of the criteria for the let-off was proximity to retirement age and those with very low educational background.
NIWA’s infrastructure like ferryboats, jetties and landed property spread across Nigeria have been marked for sale to interested private investors.
The sales agreement would require the buyers to rehabilitate, operate and then transfer them back to government in specified time periods.
NIWA by its establishing decree in 1997 was supposed to survey, remove, and receive derelicts, wrecks and other obstructions from inland waterways as well as grant licenses to private inland waterway operators.
It also grants permit and licenses for sand dredging, pipeline construction, dredging of slots and crossing of waterways by utility lines, water intake, rock blasting and removal, as well as the construction, administration and maintenance of inland riverports and jetties, among other numerous functions.
Some of the failings of the agency so far include the inconclusive arrangements for the dredging of the lower Niger which has been on since the defunct Petroleum Trust Fund of the General Sani Abacha era gave contracts to five multinational dredging companies to tackle the job which they failed to accomplish.
Since the coming of the President Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime in 1999, some major developments at NIWA include a budget of N1.6 billion made for the agency to purchase 12 gunboats for its security operations in 2005.
Most of the impetus for the latter-day improvement of the efficiency of NIWA was hinged on its potential to aid in policing the Niger Delta waters whose instability has surged in recent years.