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Marine Platforms boosts capacity in oil sector with local vessel



•  Supreme Court asks firms not to act on OMLs 52, 53 & 55 sales

•  SEPLAT shuts down Oben plant to expand, improve gas delivery

THE delivery of a subsea vessel by an indigenous oil service firm, Marine Platforms, has boosted to the achievement of local content in the sector as espoused by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).

   The NCDMB Act, which was signed into law in April 2010 by President Goodluck Jonathan, is saddled with the responsibilities but not limited to increase indigenous participation in the oil and gas industry; build local capacity and competencies; create linkages to other sectors of the national economy and boost industry contributions to the growth of the national Gross Domestic Product.

   Marine Platforms, an indigenous Nigerian oil service company, delivered its Subsea Vessel built in Havyard Shipyard, Leirvik Norway. The vessel, African Inspiration fully owned by the Nigerian company, flagged and registered in Nigeria arrived on February 16th 2015.

   Being a Havyard 857 model, it is an advanced subsea IMR support vessel designed with the latest environmental demands as built according to DNV clean design rules to operate in harsh weather conditions, synonymous with deep offshore locations. It is diesel-electric drive for optimal operation and flexibility in order to reduce fuel consumption, noise and vibration levels.

   This is a replicated feat of the growing company as she expands her fleet adding yet another vessel to her existing African Vision, a multi-purpose field support vessel, which was purchased in 2012.

     Meanwhile, parties in the case before the Supreme Court in suit No

SC/388/2014 involving Brittania-U Nigeria Limited and Chevron/SEPLAT &others, have been admonished to realise that the apex judicial institution is now fully in charge of the appeal.

  It is in respect of the divestment and acquisition of Chevron’s interest in OMLS 52, 53 & 55.

 Justice Fabiyi, the presiding justice on the panel who sat on the appeal, reminded counsel that it was their duty, being very senior members of the Bar, to advise their clients on the need to respect the authority of the court now that the appeal was ripe for hearing, and not do anything that may overreach the case.

Rickey Tarfa (SAN) and A. J. Owonikoko (SAN) appeared for Brittainia U-the appellant. D. D. Dodo (SAN) appeared with other juniors for Seplat, while Uche Nwokedi SAN and another, came for Chevron Nig. Plc.

   When the case was called, Rickey Tarfa sought to move the motion for interlocutory injunction dated 16th July 2014, pending the hearing of the appeal. At this stage, Dodo said that the appeal itself was ripe for hearing, but that they filed their respondent’s brief out of time.

  He sought to regularise the late filing of their brief, which was granted unopposed by Brittania-U lawyers.

  Etuwewe, counsel for third and fifth respondent also informed the court that they filed their own respondent brief within time.

 With this development, the court expressed its willingness to hear the substantive appeal, rather than take lengthy agreements on pending

motion for injunction and still adjourned for consider ruling on it. The court accordingly directed that the registrars should notify parties of the date for hearing of the appeal, after the appellant might have filed their reply briefs to the respondent briefs which was served on them on Monday February 23, 2015.

  No specific date was pronounced in the open court for hearing the appeal, and the motion for the interlocutory injunction which was not withdrawn, is expected to abide the final judgment of the Supreme Court in the appeal brought by Brittania-U Nigeria Limited.

  The federal High Court Sitting in Lagos, had granted interim injunction against Chevron and other defendants/ respondents, restraining them from proceeding to sell, or conclude sale,especially to Seplat, the 5th Respondent/ Defendant, Chevron’s 40%participation interest in OMLS 52, 53 & 55, which Brittania-U allegedthat it won in a competitive bid conducted by Chevron’s investment bankers-BNP Paribas, in 2013 at a price of USD $1.015 billion. Seplat

appealed to the Court of Appeal in Lagos against the refusal by the Federal High Court to vacate the interim injunction, contending that the jurisdiction of the Court to hear the case was being challenged by the respondent. The court of Appeal allowed the appeal in June 2014, reasoning that the life of the interim order could not be extended, while the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court was being challenged.

This decision of the Court of Appeal is what has been appealed against to the Supreme Court by Brittania-U, and the ultimate relief being sought in the appeal is the restoration of the injunction granted by the Federal High Court, which was to last till the motion for the interlocutory injunction is determined.

  Meanwhile, the NPDC/SEPLAT Joint Venture has announced a shut-down of its Oben gas plant to enable a tie-in of its expansion unit with the existing plant. The 10-day long shut down is scheduled for February 22nd to March 5th and will enable the company tie-in its newly installed, 2 x 75 mmmscf/d unit into the company’s existing gas plant.

  According to a statement from the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Austin Avuru, “Post tie-in operation, SEPLAT will have a single homogenous plant consisting of 2 by 45 MMSCF and 2 by 75 MMSCF trains and will be able to deliver 240MMSCF/D WAGP specification gas post-commissioning, from the Oben node. This facility expansion and upgrades will bring the company’s overall daily gas production capacity to slightly over 300mmscf/d.”

  During the shutdown, SEPLAT’s current daily production of 135MMSCF, from Oben node will, “not be available; however, the company will maintain gas availability of 60mmscf daily from its Sapele node.”

  The shut-down provides the company an opportunity to enhance its current gas delivery into the national gas grid. This achievement aligns with Seplat’s short to medium term domestic gas commercialization strategy, while facilitating greater power generation in the country.

  Last November, SEPLAT signed an MoU with the Ministries of Petroleum Resources and Power, in conjunction with the Central Bank of Nigeria and the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), as well as NNPC, and Gas Aggregation Company Nigeria Limited for gas supply. Improved gas production enables the company meet its obligations and achieve its short to medium term gas objectives.

  Also, Avuru noted, “The company’s investment to develop its gas infrastructure buttresses our commitment to boost gas supply to the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) and support the Federal Government’s commitment to the reform of the Power Sector”.

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