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Deepwater operations fetch Nigeria $180b

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Nigeria has earned more than $180 billion from deepwater operations, the Group Managing Director (GMD), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru, said yesterday.

Baru, who spoke through the Corporation’s Chief Operating Officer (COO), Upstream, Mr. Musa Rabiu, at the ongoing Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, Texas, United States (U.S.), said the deepwater province holds a great future for Nigeria.

In his paper entitled:  “Deepwater operations in Nigeria: The journey so far”, he said: “Discovered deepwater assets in Nigeria hold approximately 13 billion barrels of oil, out of which about two billion has been produced. There is a huge volume yet untapped and opportunity abounds.

“Also, the industry has committed capital in excess of $65 billion and generated revenue exceeding $180 billion, thereby, creating value for all stakeholders. There are more barrels of oil to be recovered. Therefore, more opportunities are waiting.”

Quoting the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), the NNPC GMD said: “There are 87 deepwater blocks in the country, out of which only seven are producing and additional six at different stages of development.

“It is important to note that there are more than half of the blocks in deepwater Nigeria are still open. This shows there is a huge potential yet to be unlocked.”

According to him, Nigeria remains an active play relative to other regions in terms of deepwater development.

The industry, he noted, started with the deployment of latest technology a stride it has continued to maintain.  Out of the 15 floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) in Nigeria, seven have been deployed for deepwater operations.

With Nigeria ranking next to Angola within the African deepwater operations in terms of FPSO deployment, the NNPC boss said: “I expect an upward trend in activities within the deepwater Nigeria and continued deployment of leading technology.”

On the impact of deepwater operations in terms of capacity and local content development, Baru said: “We have utilised each deepwater project as an avenue to upscale our human capital acquiring unique skills in different areas not limited to engineering design, project management, welding and diving.

“Also, the local content contribution or share of services in deepwater has continued to grow. We have improved from the sub one per cent level to an aggregate contribution of over 25 per cent from engineering man-hours of less than 20,000 to over 1.1 million in recent Egina project. With the Nigerian content, tonnage has grown by 600 per cent from the first deepwater project till date.

“Deepwater projects benefited the wider Nigerian economy by boosting demand for a range of goods and services including offshore vessels and platforms, materials, floating hotels, helicopters and manpower, creating jobs and providing a range of training and maintenance services to the industry locally. Services in areas such as manpower supply, logistics, and vessel supply, chemical supplies have more or less been domesticated.

“Recent further demonstration of this was the in-country topside integration on the Egina FPSO project. This achieves the dual goal of both industrialisation and manpower development through job creation and skill acquisition.

“The gains enumerated in terms of production and reserve growth, revenue and value creation, manpower and technology development needs to be sustained. I must reiterate that sustaining the gains means all hands must be on deck. We must leverage the expected growth in deepwater for national development. We expect within the next 10 years that production from Nigeria deepwater would double.”

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BUSINESS

FIRS to impose VAT on online transactions, says Fowler

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The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) says it will soon begin collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) on online transactions.

The Chairman of the agency, Mr Babatunde Fowler, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in New York on Saturday.

Fowler said: “soon, we will ask banks to impose VAT on online transactions for purchases of goods and services.

“Not that it is something new; it actually should be in existence.

“We will certainly follow up to make sure that every VAT that is due to be collected is collected.”

He explained that the move was part of measures by FIRS to meet its N8 trillion revenue target for 2019.

Fowler said the agency had started taking action against companies and businesses that refused to embrace the Federal Government’s tax amnesty programme.

According to him, FIRS hopes to generate between N750 billion and N1 trillion from the clampdown, which includes closure of defaulters’ bank accounts.

“We are going after everybody. I am sure you have heard that we have placed lien on some accounts of defaulters that have a billion naira turnover annually.

“So certainly, we are not leaving anyone out of the tax net,” he said.

Officially known as the Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme, the tax amnesty programme was launched in 2017.

It gave tax defaulters a one-year period of grace to declare and settle their unpaid taxes.

There have been complaints by some taxpayers of being wrongly targeted by FIRS in the clampdown.

Asked to comment on that, Fowler admitted, blaming it on “administrative error,” arising from the huge number of accounts involved.

“Well, there is certainly one or two instances where we made administrative error, but when you are looking at over 50,000 accounts, there is a tendency that sometimes an error might be made.

“For those that we made errors on, I wrote them personally apologising and of course we lifted the lien on their accounts.”

On plans by the Joint Tax Board to raise the country’s tax population to 45 million, Fowler said the agency was relying on multiple information sources.

These, according to him, include the country’s Bank Verification Number database and sister agencies with relevant information.

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How Nigeria came out of recession, by Emefiele

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Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Godwin Emefiele on Friday disclosed that after five consecutive quarters of negative growth beginning in the first quarter of 2016, a coordinated approach by the fiscal and monetary authorities supported a rebound in the nation’s economy during the second quarter of 2017.

He disclosed this while delivering a special convocation lecture of the University of Nigeria (UNN) at the Princess Alexendra Hall, Nsukka.

The CBN governor, who was also conferred with honorary doctorate degree of the institution, said the recovery has been driven largely by improved non- oil activities especially the agriculture sector, which he said expanded consistently by about 3.5 -4.3 percent reflecting government’s efforts at diversifying the economy.

“After 5 consecutive quarters of negative growth beginning in the 1st quarter of 2016, a coordinated approach by the fiscal and monetary authorities supported a rebound in the nation’s economy during the second quarter of 2017.

“This was nonetheless, reinforced by the pickup in the oil sector as oil prices rallied in 2017. The gradual reorientation of the economic structure towards the agriculture sector reflects the diversification drive of the government which was supported by the development finance initiatives of the CBN.

“The recovery has been sustained for seven consecutive quarters. The pace of quarterly GDP growth has improved from .5 percent in the second quarter of 2017 to 2.38 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018,” he stressed.

Emefiele however noted that challenges still remain such as ensuring that the pace of GDP growth remains well ahead of annual population growth at 3 percent.

He said that this can only be achieved if Nigerians continue to support efforts aimed at improving domestic production of goods in Nigeria.

He added proactive fiscal actions, especially, infrastructure investment were required to enhance economic growth.

The CBN governor further stated that universities have a considerable role to play in working with the private and public sector in supporting research and development of solutions that can be applied to enhance the growth of the economy.

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BUSINESS

MTN Lists Shares On Nigerian Stock Exchange

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Telecommunications giant MTN Nigeria has listed 20 billion ordinary shares at N90 per unit on the Premium Board of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

The official listing of the Johannesburg-based company took place on Thursday at the Stock Exchange House in Lagos.

Chairman of MTN Nigeria, Dr Paschal Dozie, led the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr Ferdi Moolman, and other top members of staff of the company to the event.

The price values the telecoms company at N1.84 trillion.

MTN Nigeria decided to list its local company in the country on the NSE in 2016 after agreeing to pay a $1.7 billion fine to settle a sim card dispute with the Federal Government.

Nigeria accounts for a third of MTN’s annual core profit while indigenous investors own 19.4 per cent of the company.

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