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Pull Out of OPEC- Former Petroleum Minister Advises Nigeria



A former minister of Petroleum Resources, some past group managing directors and directors of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation have questioned the country’s continuing membership of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

They said that Nigeria’s membership of the cartel was currently hurting the economy and urged the country to pull out of the organisation.

They spoke at a symposium to mark the 80th birthday of a two-time Managing Director of the NNPC, Chief Festus Marinho, in Lagos.

The theme of the symposium was: ‘Nigeria’s energy evolution – A glimpse at the future’, and had a former Minister of State (Petroleum) and a former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Odein Ajumogobia, as a keynote speaker.

Ajumogobia queried the country’s continuing membership of OPEC, saying the body had not protected the Nigerian economic interest.

The former minister said, “Let me in conclusion prophesy that well before any significant volume of Nigerian oil production would have to be shut in on account that the production cost per barrel is more than the price per barrel, this ongoing price and market share war would have abated and OPEC would have reverted to its adapted role of working with large non-OPEC producers like Russia, Norway, Mexico and Oman to balance the market and stabilise the price in the interest of oil producers and consumers alike.

“This conclusion, however, makes me seriously question the benefit of our continuing membership of the organisation in the absence of any protection or leverage whatsoever within the organisation.”

He said there seemed to be the desire of individual countries in OPEC, particularly Saudi Arabia and the Arab states, to protect and maintain their market share.

“Unfortunately, Nigeria with zero excess capacity, is a mere onlooker at the mercy of the two biggest oil producers in the world, namely the United States and Saudi Arabia,” Ajumogobia said.

A former Group Executive Director of the NNPC, and Chairman, Transmission Company of Nigeria, Mr. Ibrahim Waziri, also lamented the country’s continuing membership of OPEC, saying, “We are inconsequential and our continuous membership of OPEC is destructive and not necessary.

“Nigeria should not be afraid to experiment as a nation. OPEC membership has not worked; so, we have to change.”

Waziri, who noted that the government had played a crucial role in taking the oil industry to an enviable height, called on the Federal Government to withdraw from the industry.

He said, “The role of government in the industry has reached a point of diminishing returns. It is now a clog in the wheel of progress for the industry.

“Why do we need a state company? Why do we need the NNPC, for example? It is essentially an agent of government for revenue collection such as taxes and royalties. This organisation has not been doing well. There has been a lot of value destruction rather than value addition.”

He noted that it was not that the NNPC chief executives were incompetent but that they were being distracted.

Also speaking, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Seplat Petroleum, Mr. Austin Avuru, who compared the NNPC to its counterparts in OPEC nations, said, “Is the NNPC really adding value to the industry today? I think the NNPC is a destroyer of value in the industry.

“We should accept that it is time to look inwards and accept the truth. Government and its agencies must withdraw from the industry and restrict themselves to proper revenue collection and management of the revenue for the interest of this and future generations,” Avuru said.

A former Group Managing Director, NNPC, Chief Funsho Kupolokun, said the corporation should leave the refineries so that they could be privatised.

Another former GMD of the NNPC, Lawrence Amu, said it was the government that needed to understand what it wanted from the NNPC, adding, “The NNPC GMDs don’t act on their own, they are people that are controlled by politicians.”

A former Group Managing Director, NNPC, Chief Chambers Oyibo, said the frequent changes of the GMDs would affect policy formulation and implementation.

“The NNPC GMDs are just office boys. But that’s not what it is in other OPEC countries,” he said.

The Founder, Centre for Values in Leadership, Prof. Pat Utomi said, “We have reached a structural shift in the oil industry and it might not return to business quite as usual.”


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WAIVER CESSATION: Igbokwe urges NIMASA to evolve stronger collaboration with Ships owners



…Stresses the need for timely disbursement of N44.6billion CVFF***

Highly revered Nigerian Maritime Lawyer, and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mike Igbokwe has urged the Nigeria Maritime Administration and safety Agency (NIMASA) to partner with ship owners and relevant association in the industry to evolving a more vibrant merchant shipping and cabotage trade regime.

Igbokwe gave the counsel during his paper presentation at the just concluded two-day stakeholders’ meeting on Cabotage waiver restrictions, organized by NIMASA.

“NIMASA and shipowners should develop merchant shipping including cabotage trade. A good start is to partner with the relevant associations in this field, such as the Nigeria Indigenous Shipowners Association (NISA), Shipowners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Oil Trade Group & Maritime Trade Group of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA).

“A cursory look at their vision, mission and objectives, show that they are willing to improve the maritime sector, not just for their members but for stakeholders in the maritime economy and the country”.

Adding that it is of utmost importance for NIMASA to have a through briefing and regular consultation with ships owners, in other to have insight on the challenges facing the ship owners.

“It is of utmost importance for NIMASA to have a thorough briefing and regular consultations with shipowners, to receive insight on the challenges they face, and how the Agency can assist in solving them and encouraging them to invest and participate in the maritime sector, for its development. 

“NIMASA should see them as partners in progress because, if they do not invest in buying ships and registering them in Nigeria, there would be no Nigerian-owned ships in its Register and NIMASA would be unable to discharge its main objective.

The Maritime lawyer also urged NIMASA  to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF)that currently stands at about N44.6 billion.

“Lest it be forgotten, what is on the lips of almost every shipowner, is the need to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (the CVFF’), which was established by the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act, 2003. It was established to promote the development of indigenous ship acquisition capacity, by providing financial assistance to Nigerian citizens and shipping companies wholly owned by Nigerian operating in the domestic coastal shipping, to purchase and maintain vessels and build shipping capacity. 

“Research shows that this fund has grown to about N44.6billion; and that due to its non-disbursement, financial institutions have repossessed some vessels, resulting in a 43% reduction of the number of operational indigenous shipping companies in Nigeria, in the past few years. 

“Without beating around the bush, to promote indigenous maritime development, prompt action must be taken by NIMASA to commence the disbursement of this Fund to qualified shipowners pursuant to the extant Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (“CVFF”) Regulations.

Mike Igbokwe (SAN)

“Indeed, as part of its statutory functions, NIMASA is to enforce and administer the provisions of the Cabotage Act 2003 and develop and implement policies and programmes which will facilitate the growth of local capacity in ownership, manning and construction of ships and other maritime infrastructure. Disbursing the CVFF is one of the ways NIMASA can fulfill this mandate.

“To assist in this task, there must be collaboration between NIMASA, financial institutions, the Minister of Transportation, as contained in the CVFF Regulations that are yet to be implemented”, the legal guru highlighted further. 

He urged the agency to create the right environment for its stakeholders to build on and engender the needed capacities to fill the gaps; and ensure that steps are being taken to solve the challenges being faced by stakeholders.

“Lastly, which is the main reason why we are all here, cessation of ministerial waivers on some cabotage requirements, which I believe is worth applause in favour of NIMASA. 

“This is because it appears that the readiness to obtain/grant waivers had made some of the vessels and their owners engaged in cabotage trade, to become complacent and indifferent in quickly ensuring that they updated their capacities, so as not to require the waivers. 

“The cessation of waivers is a way of forcing the relevant stakeholders of the maritime sector, to find workable solutions within, for maritime development and fill the gaps in the local capacities in 100% Nigerian crewing, ship ownership, and ship building, that had necessitated the existence of the waivers since about 15 years ago, when the Cabotage Act came into being. 

“However, NIMASA must ensure that the right environment is provided for its stakeholders to build and possess the needed capacities to fill the gaps; and ensure that steps are being taken to solve the challenges being faced by stakeholders. Or better still, that they are solved within the next 5 years of its intention to stop granting waivers”, he further explained. 

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Breaking News: The Funeral Rites of Matriarch C. Ogbeifun is Live



The Burial Ceremony of Engr. Greg Ogbeifun’s mother is live. Watch on the website: and on Youtube: Maritimefirst Newspaper.

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Wind Farm Vessel Collision Leaves 15 Injured



…As Valles Steamship Orders 112,000 dwt Tanker from South Korea***

A wind farm supply vessel and a cargo ship collided in the Baltic Sea on Tuesday leaving 15 injured.

The Cyprus-flagged 80-meter general cargo ship Raba collided with Denmark-flagged 31-meter wind farm supply vessel World Bora near Rügen Island, about three nautical miles off the coast of Hamburg. 

Many of those injured were service engineers on the wind farm vessel, and 10 were seriously hurt. 

They were headed to Iberdrola’s 350MW Wikinger wind farm. Nine of the people on board the World Bora were employees of Siemens Gamesa, two were employees of Iberdrola and four were crew.

The cause of the incident is not yet known, and no pollution has been reported.

After the collision, the two ships were able to proceed to Rügen under their own power, and the injured were then taken to hospital. 

Lifeboat crews from the German Maritime Search and Rescue Service tended to them prior to their transport to hospital via ambulance and helicopter.

“Iberdrola wishes to thank the rescue services for their diligence and professionalism,” the company said in a statement.

In the meantime, the Hong Kong-based shipowner Valles Steamship has ordered a new 112,000 dwt crude oil tanker from South Korea’s Sumitomo Heavy Industries Marine & Engineering.

Sumitomo is to deliver the Aframax to Valles Steamship by the end of 2020, according to data provided by Asiasis.

The newbuild Aframax will join seven other Aframaxes in Valles Steamship’s fleet. Other ships operated by the company include Panamax bulkers and medium and long range product tankers.

The company’s most-recently delivered unit is the 114,426 dwt Aframax tanker Seagalaxy. The naming and delivery of the tanker took place in February 2019, at Namura Shipbuilding’s yard in Japan.

Maritime Executive with additional report from World Maritime News

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