NAPIMS Boss gets 24 hours to appear before Senate over $16b project

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…As FG discovers 178 gas flare sites across Nigeria***

The Senate Committee on Local Content has ordered the Group General Manager of National Petroleum Investment and Management Service (NAPIMS), Mr. Roland Ewubare, to appear before it within 24 hours or risk being forced to do so.

Chairman of the panel Samuel Adeola gave the order at its sitting attended by 10 senators investigating the variations associated with the $16 billion Egina Deep Sea Oil Project. He said it was becoming a tradition in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and its subsidiaries to treat National Assembly invitations with levity. “This committee will henceforth not deal with lieutenants of these agencies without their heads or cogent reasons in advance.”

NAPIMS had sent three general managers as representatives to the committee after it received an invitation three weeks ago for appearance of the group general manager to throw light on submissions made by Total Exploration and Production Nigeria Ltd handling the Egina project.

Godswill Akpabio, the vice chairman of the committee and Minority Leader said the importance attached to the information likely to be provided led members to turn out in large numbers. According to him, it is insulting not only to the Nigerian constitution but the office of the GGM for him to disregard the Senate invitation on issues relating to how Nigerians are being shortchanged by foreign companies and their local collaborators.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives Committee on Customs has invited the Comptroller General, Hammed Ali, Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over alleged abuse of waivers and bond on import duties.

Also invited are bank executives, importers, inspection agents, SGS, Cotecna, Global Scan and Web Fountain Nig Ltd. to defend the roles they played in the sector from 2010 till date with regard to the waivers. They are to appear before the committee next week Wednesday.

In a letter to the invited stakeholders dated 13 November, the committee chairman, Abiodun Faleke (APC, Lagos) Said:” In view of the timeline set for the assignment, kindly ensure that the information and documents required of you are sent to the committee’s secretariat before November 29.”

The lawmakers requested for schedules of all beneficiaries with respect to all duty waivers, exemptions and concessions processed by the invited stakeholders from 2010 till date.

In the meantime, the Federal Government, Wednesday, disclosed that it has commenced the verification of gas flare sites across the country, stating that already, it has discovered that there are at least 178 sites where gas are flared, as opposed to 140 sites listed in the past.

Speaking in Abuja, at the Gas Buyers’ Forum, organized by the Gas Aggregation Company of Nigeria, Programme Coordinator of the Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Mr. Justice Derefaka, stated that the verification exercise was conducted in conjunction with the World Bank, United States Agency for International Development, USAID, and the Canadian government.

He noted that the verification is still ongoing, as only 60 per cent of the expected data had been received, while the rest are being awaited. Derefaka lamented that the country had burnt money that would have been used to generate wealth, create employment and also generate electricity for the people.

He explained that the essence of embarking on the verification exercise was to address issues of bankability and the need to attract investors and financiers to the gas flare commercialisation initiative.

According to him, the overall idea is that the country must have a credible, measurable, attainable data that is bankable, so that it would be an investment-grade data for investors and lenders to put their money.

Derefaka noted that by the time investors see that the World Bank had done a lot of studies with the Federal Government, and the remaining sites are verified, they would come in and make investment.

He said, “We have bankability issues, because data is very key to us. Without accurate data, gas flare data, then this programme is dead on arrival. What we are doing beyond the data that we have at the National Depository in DPR, is that we are going beyond what they have, and we have sent a special template we designed with the World Bank and the USAID, asking for unique data sets from the producers, and it would amaze you what we found out.

“What we know in this country is that we have 139, 140 gas flare sites, but by our verification with our partners, we found out that we have 178. That in itself is not complete, because we are around 60 per cent, 40 per cent data is missing, some of the information is inaccurate. So we are doing a detailed information request in the DPR office in Lagos. So that we send this information and get these things back, then these things might increase.

“In this country, right now, we have 178 gas flare sites, of the 16,000 that we have globally in 19 countries. Daily, we flare around 755 million SCF per day; you can imagine how much we lose as a country.

The carbon credit we would have gotten from this, the electricity we would have generated, the LPGs and the likes of those, even if they had have to go to any of the LNG trains.” He noted that the Federal Government would soon carry out a market study, to determine what the buyers need, their appetite; the volume of gas they need, so that it can help the investors understand the needs and demands in the market.

Guardian NG with additional report from Vanguard

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