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FG hires litigation firm, Franklin Wyatt, in legal battle with Eni S.p.A

The Ministry of Petroleum Resources has hired a litigation firm to assist in its dispute with Eni S.p.A over oil rights and bribery allegations.

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The Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources has employed the services of Franklin Wyatt, a litigation settlement specialist, to take part in the talks with Eni S.p.A in a long-running dispute over oil rights and bribery allegations.

According to Bloomberg, the London-based consultancy, Franklin Wyatt, was contracted by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, to represent and advise the Federal Government on outstanding commercial and legal issues over Oil Prospecting License 245 (OPL 245), through a letter dated June 29 and addressed to Matthew Carey, the Managing Partner of the firm.

This disclosure was made by the spokesman for the Minister of State for Petroleum, Garba Deen Muhammad.

The letter to the firm partly reads, “This serves as confirmation that Franklin Wyatt’s recruitment was approved by Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, and may be produced as evidence of the firm’s authority to represent the ministry in discussions with relevant counterparties.”

Backstory

It was reported earlier that the Nigerian government, at a hearing into the alleged corruption linked to Eni and Shell’s acquisition of OPL 245, called for a guilty verdict and an advance payment of about $1.1 billion for damages, in one of the oil industry’s biggest-ever corruption trials.

Eni has also accused both Nigeria and US investment firm for assisting the country with its litigation against the Italian oil firm and accused Royal Dutch Shell of a lack of transparency in the $1.1 billion energy deal.

What you should know

  • The 2011 purchase of OPL 245 by Eni and Royal Dutch Shell Plc has been subject to years of legal wrangling. The two companies, as well as some current and former executives, are on trial in Milan for allegedly making corrupt payments during the deal.
  • Italian prosecutors have accused the companies of moving $1.1 billion into a Nigerian government escrow account to obtain the license in 2011, about $800 million of which was then used to pay bribes into private pockets.
  • The current Nigerian government, which came to power five years ago, joined the case in 2018 as a civil party and asked for at least $1.1 billion in damages, while prosecutors are seeking a jail term of eight years for Eni Chief Executive Officer Claudio Descalzi. The tribunal is expected to rule early next year.
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ENERGY

Engineer Sanusi Garba assumes office as Chairman of NERC

The new NERC boss has assumed office today in an investiture event witnessed by other Commissioners of the Commission.

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Engineer Sanusi Garba, today, December 3, 2020, formally assumed office as the Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).

This is according to the statement issued by the media team of the NERC via the official Twitter handle of the Commission.

Engineer Garba whose appointment was confirmed by the Nigerian Senate on Tuesday will be replacing Professor James Momoh, the outgoing chairman of the Commission.

Speaking at the handover ceremony today, the New Chairman of the Commission recognized the efforts and the hard work of Prof. Momoh and thanked the outgoing chairman for his contributions to the development of the Commission and the sector in general.

However, Professor Momoh on his part pledged his continuous support to the Commission and thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for the opportunity to serve the country.

What you should know

  • The new Chairman of Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Engineer Sanusi Garba is a seasoned professional in the Nigerian Energy Supply Industry (NESI), and also a top officer in the Commission.
  • Prior to his nomination as the Chairman of NERC, Garba served as the Vice Chairman of NERC, under the leadership of Prof. Momoh. He also served as the Chief Executive of Katsina Steel Rolling Co. Ltd and the Director (Power) in the Federal Ministry of Power with responsibility for the Generation, Transmission and Distribution aspects of the electricity industry.
  • He also served as Executive Director (Generation) at the Niger Delta Power Holding Co. Ltd during which he provided technical and commercial leadership for the efficient operation of seven (7) NIPP thermal power plants.
  • Engr Garba, who is a seasoned professional has served on many Federal Government Committees including the Presidential Committee on Power Sector Reform (2007/8) and the Presidential Task Force on Power (2009/10).
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ENERGY

FG says recent petrol price increase linked to Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine success

The Federal Government has linked the recent increase in the pump price of petrol to the success of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine.

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The Federal Government has said that the recent increase in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol, is due to the announcement of a positive outcome in the final stage trial of the coronavirus vaccine being developed by American pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer Inc in collaboration with BioNTech.

The explanation follows the public outcry and criticisms that have greeted the petrol price increase.

This disclosure was made by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva, during an interaction with State House correspondents on Monday, November 16, 2020, after a routine meeting with President Muhaammadu Buhari at Aso Villa, Abuja.

According to a report from Channels Television, Sylva pointed out that the announcement by Pfizer, that its COVID-19 vaccine is over 90% effective, triggered a slight increase in the price of crude oil in the global market.

He said, “What happened recently was because of the announcement of a vaccine for COVID-19 by Pfizer. With that, crude oil prices went up a little bit.

“If you have been following crude oil prices, you would have seen that crude oil prices went up a little bit as a result of this announcement. So, when crude oil prices go up a little bit, then you will see that (it will) instantly reflect on the price of petrol, which is a derivative of crude oil.”

Sylva, who pointed out that this is not the first time that the Federal Government will be giving this explanation whenever there is a movement in petrol price, said that the pump price of petrol is directly determined by the price of crude oil in the global market.

He said, “When the price of crude oil goes up, then it means that the price of the fixed stock has gone higher; it will also affect the price of the refined product and that is why you see that product prices are usually not static, it depends on the price of crude oil which goes up and down.

“That is why we say, deregulate so that as the price goes up or down, you begin to go up and down as well at the pump. Before now, we fixed it – which was not optimal for us as a country.”

The Minister while speaking on the petrol price deregulation explained that the price of petrol will continue to fluctuate depending on the price of crude oil. He said it may crash again to a much lower figure, like was experienced in March 2020, if the price of crude drops again.

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ENERGY

NNPC reports explosion at OML 40 facility

The NNPC has reported an explosion at OML 40 facility

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Group has reported an explosion at OML 40 facility managed by Elcrest E&P Nigeria Limited while undergoing production evacuation at Gbetiokun Early Production facility.

The disclosure was revealed by the group through its verified Twitter page as seen by Themoneymetrics.

In the recent press release which was signed by the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Dr. Kennie Obateru, there were no records of fatalities or injuries and no significant spill during the accident.

However, a reputable source informed that there was allegedly significant damage to the marine storage vessel, MT Harcourt, which will impact production by about 10,000 barrels of oil per day.

In lieu of the recent development, NNPC has commenced an investigation to determine the cause and extent of the damage with a view to averting future occurrence.

What they are saying: A press release by NNPC read thus: ‘’ @NNPCgroup reports explosion at OML 40 managed by Elcrest E&P @kennieobateru, #NNPC’s Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, in a statement on the explosion, said there were no fatalities or injuries & no significant spill in the incident’’.

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