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FG moves to mitigate COVID-19 impact on oil sector

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The Federal Government is to adopt industry-wide cost containment measure and aggressive capital allocation to key projects as part of efforts to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the oil and gas sector.

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, made the disclosure yesterday at the 2020 Seplat Energy Summit webinar, adding that the PresidentMuhammadu Buhari administration would renegotiate contracts and other business obligations.

Speaking on the theme, “Business Sustainability and Strategic Leadership in Africa”, the minister pointed out that Nigeria needed to genuinely pursue diversification to insulate the economy from the vulnerability of a single commodity evidenced by the free fall of oil prices at the international market.

He said the most populous black nation was constrained to comply with an OPEC quota of 1,412,000 barrels of crude oil daily for May, June and July this year, achieving a unit operating cost of $10 per drum without jeopardising growth.

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Sylva, who decried the adverse consequence of the virus on the industry, promised that government would maximise the opportunities that came with the crisis for more wealth creation.

He said the deepening of domestic gas among the citizens would strengthen the sector

To tackle the nation’s energy quagmire, the minister submitted that the effective utilisation and monetisation of natural gas reserves was necessary to boost power generation.

Sylva held that the move would significantly contribute to the overall economic development of the country through the emergence of a wide range of industrial cluster of fertilisers, petrochemicals, manufacturing and agro-business as well as job creation for the teeming youths.

In a related development, government has approved the evacuation of more Nigerians from the United States on account of the disease and ban on international flights.

Seventh in the series, the plane is to depart the George Bush International Airport, Houston, Texas on August 15 and arrive the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport the next day.

The Ethiopian Airline’s flight, ET8574, will thereafter transit the rest passengers to the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos same day.

The information was contained in a statement issued by the Consulate General of Nigeria in Atlanta, Georgia.

It read in part: “The Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Atlanta, Georgia, in collaboration with other Nigerian missions in the United States of America, is happy to announce that the Federal Government of Nigeria has approved the seventh evacuation flight for stranded Nigerians in USA.

“Accordingly, all prospective evacuees duly registered with any of the three Nigerian missions in USA are expected to purchase their one-way ticket for the journey.”

Besides, The evacuees are to present originals of their COVID-19 test results that are not older that 14 days from the date of departure in accordance with the safety protocols of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Presidential Task Force (PTF).

About 7,000 Nigerians have been evacuated globally since the exercise began.

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