Royal Boskalis Westminster has received a contract for some €60 million from Brass LNG Limited, a joint venture between NNPC, ENI, ConocoPhillips and Total, for the development of the Brass LNG gas project in Nigeria. The project focus includes site construction for a large LNG production and export facility.
Boskalis is responsible for both the design and the execution of the early soil improvement works as well as the related infrastructure. The objective is to strengthen the ground to allow construction of heavy tanks. The sand for the soil improvement will be sourced from an onshore sandpit. Boskalis will deploy heavy duty equipment from its subsidiary Cofra (for the vertical drains) to accelerate the consolidation process. The project will be executed in approximately one year starting immediately.
In another development, Royal Boskalis Westminster has announced that it has placed an order with the Chinese shipyard Yantai Raffles Shipyard Limited for the construction of an offshore fallpipe vessel of 21,500 tons. According to Dredging News Online, the order is part of the multi-year fleet expansion program at Boskalis. The ship will be completed by the spring of 2011, and the order involves an investment of approximately €120 million. “The new ship strengthens the position of Boskalis in the energy markets. Fallpipe vessels are deployed to position rocks for the protection and support of oil and gas pipelines on the seabed. The new ship will be capable of working at considerably larger depths than existing vessels in this sector. Boskalis already owns two similar ships, Sandpiper and Seahorse, with a capacity of 18,000 tons each,” said the company in a statement.
LAGOS COMMISSIONS 600-TRUCK CAPACITY TERMINAL.
The long awaited relief to road users in Lagos may come with the commissioning in November of the first phase of Bola Tinubu International Truck Terminal at Orile Iganmu in Lagos. At the commissioning ceremony, state governor, Babatunde Fashola announced a blanket ban on illegal parking of vehicles, especially petroleum-laden trucks or other cargo vehicles on roadsides throughout the state. He said many lives had been lost due to fuel tanker accidents and collisions of speeding vehicles with stationary tankers along the roads.
Two roads in the state, Lagos-Badagry and Apapa-Oshodi expressways, are notorious for tankers parking by the roadsides and this used to occasion heavy traffic snarls that last for many hours or even days.
President of National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) where petroleum tanker drivers belong excused the parking of his members on roadsides on the lack of parking facilities. He called on the state government to liaise with the concessionaire of the project, AME Consulting Company and Engineering limited to ensure early commencement and completion of the remaining phase of the project so that all tankers coming to Lagos could be accommodated. The project was financed with a loan facility from Intercontinental Bank Plc. Wale Ogabi, the project engineer from AME, said the work would soon commence on the second phase of the project.
Nigerian Federal Government Reverts to Old Status of Nigerian Ports Authority.
Nigeria’s Federal Executive Council has reverted the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to its old status as a single administrative parastatal governing all the seaports in Nigeria. In May this year, outgoing President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, as part of a wide-ranging port reform process took initiatives that led to the splitting of the over 50 year-old NPA into the Western Ports and Harbours Authority and the Nigerian Delta Ports and Harbour Authority.
Minister of Transportation, Mrs. Diezani Alison Madueke, disclosed that the decision was sequel to the law setting up the NPA which was not repealed prior to the splitting and in response to the questions and concerns of the last House of Representatives.
According to her, “Council today has approved that the Nigerian Ports Authority reverts to its status quo situation as a single autonomous authority in line with the Nigerian Ports authority Act of 1954 as amended in 1999”.
It was understood that Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Justice also counseled the federal government against going ahead with the split in the organization. Malam Abdulsalam Mohammed, who headed the Western Ports and Harbours Authority, was later appointed to head the newly merged NPA.
NIGERIA FG EARMARKS N73B FOR TRANSPORTATION.
Nigeria’s federal government has made a provision of N94.36 billion (about USD740 million) for various transportation projects in the 2008 budget year. Presenting the budget details to a joint sitting of the National Assembly in Abuja on November 8, President Umaru Yaradua said that “..Specifically, we have set aside the sum of N73.1billion for Highway Construction and Rehabilitation; N6.02 billion for Survey, Mapping and Geo-Information activities; N6 billion for Water Transportation development, including the dredging of the River Niger from Lokoja to Warri, (including the construction of jetties); and N9 billion for the development of Air Transportation. To augment government spending on the provision of roads we shall invite private investments into the sector. We have already reached agreements with interested private sector investors for the construction of the second Niger Bridge at Onitsha/Asaba and a Bridge across River Benue at Bagana on the basis of a public-private partnership,”
Other highlights of the budget proposal include a very high vote (20% of total budget) for security and Niger Delta development, up 6.5 per cent from 2007 allocation. This translated to N444.6 billion (about USD3.5 billion). The total budget estimate is N1.986 trillion (about USD15.5 billion).
At the presentation of the Appropriation Bill 2008 to the federal lawmakers, President Yar’Adua reeled out other figures for various departments of state, including education, N210 billion; energy sector, excluding National Integrated Power Projects, N139.78 billion; Agriculture and Water Resources N121.1 billion. The President said under the Paris Club Debt settlement, and in pursuit of the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the 2008 budget will devote the entire debt relief gains, amounting to N110 billion, to carefully selected poverty reduction initiatives and programmes in Education, Agriculture, Water Resources, Power and Social Safety Nets.
It is instructive that the federal government is devoting money to the dredging of the lower River Niger, a project that has been slowed by much bureaucracy in the recent past.
Yar’Adua Appoints CEOs for NPA, FAAN
President Umaru Yar’Adua has approved the appointment of Mr Abdulsalam Mohammed, as Managing Director of the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA).This followed government’s decision to revert the organisation to a single autonomous administrative unit, in conformity with the NPA Act of 1954 as amended in 1999.
The immediate past administration had carved out two ports authorities out of the NPA in May, which the Executive Council declared illegal in November.
Mohammed was the Managing Director of one of the scrapped authorities, the Western Ports and Harbours Authority. The appointment took effect from immediately. The president also approved the appointment of Mr Richard Aisuebeogun, as the Managing Director of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN). Until his appointment, Aisuebeogun was the Chief Operating Officer of Overland Airways, a private airline.
ICAO Summons NCAA DG over Airports Certification
The Director-General of Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Dr Harold Demuren, has said that the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has summoned him to explain why the Authority is yet to certify the nation’s airports. Demuren stated this yesterday in Lagos during the Aviation and Ramp safety week seminar at the Murtala Mohammed Interna-tional (MMA).
“I made an undertaking to ICAO to undertake the certification of airports and I’ve been summoned three times to explain what is going on,” the NCAA Director-General said.
He noted that it was unfortunate that airports in the country were yet to meet the conditions for certification, one of which was ramp safety.
Demuren reiterated the need to ensure that airports meet the minimum standards and urged the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to work toward meeting the requirements. He said NCAA had however commenced the process of certifying the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company PLC (NAHCO) which was one of the ground handling companies operating at the airports in the country.
He said that airlines also needed to license their cabin crew to ensure they were able to calm passengers in times of emergency during rough flights.“The duty of cabin crew is to make people calm and take their place by the exit in times of rough flights. If this had happened in Port Harcourt (Sosoliso crash), we would have saved some lives,” he said.
Demuren stated that NCAA, on its own part, would bring in some foreign experts to train people who work on the ramp .This,he said,is to boost safe operations, remarking that the authority was committed to training which gulped six million US dollars this year.
The Director of Airport Operations of FAAN, Mr. John Eze-Nwankwo, in his contribution, regretted that FAAN had failed to meet its promises toward certification several times.
“We’ve made promises but have failed to meet up, but we will not fail again,” he stated.
Eze-Nwankwo said that FAAN was already putting in place some documents which would form the basis for standards toward meeting certification requirements.
FG to privatise roads, bridges
Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday said that the Federal Government would privatise more public enterprises, especially roads and bridges. The Vice-President, who spoke at a meeting with a delegation of the United Kingdom Department for International Development in the State House, Abuja, explained that the privatisation policy was a continuing process.
“Rather than relax on the programme, this administration will continue to support transparent and effective implementation of the privatisation programme towards achieving expanded investments, efficient productive sectors and an accelerated economic growth,” he said.
According to him, the economic team is working hard to ensure that by early January 2008, a lot of other public property and utilities are privatised.
He noted that privatisation would ensure 100 per cent maintenance of these utilities.
Jonathan said that the Bureau of Public Enterprises needed to work more closely with its international support agencies like the World Bank and the DFID to bring up modalities that would ensure that part of the profits accruing from privatisation were utilised in accelerated development of some aspects of the economy, rather than returning such to treasury.
The Vice-President commended the World Bank and DFID for their support in improving BPE’s capacity to implement programmes and in helping to develop and adopt best practices in privatisation transactions.
Earlier, the Director-General of the BPE, Mrs. Irene Chigbue, had briefed the Vice-President on the multilateral support of the USAID, World Bank, and DFID.
“These international Development Agencies have contributed immensely in the area of institutional and policy support by strengthening the capacity of BPE to manage the privatisation programme, through technical assistance, regulatory support and consensus building,” she said.
She noted that through DFID support, the BPE had concluded two major restructuring programmes in 2004 and 2006 and strengthened its management information systems.
The DFID Country Director, Mr. Eamon Cassidy, acknowledged that the Federal Government’s ongoing economic reforms “are timely and focused, especially as outlined in President Yar’Adua’s seven-point agenda.”
“We recognise the successes of this administration since May 2007. The seven-point agenda is a focus for growth. Privatisation is working and it will make the private sector more effective,” he said.
FG Upgrades Enugu Airport
President Umaru Musa Yar’adua, has given approval for the upgrading of the Akanu Ibiam Airport , Enugu, to the status of an international airport. This was contained in a press statement signed by Chief Press Secretary to the Minister of Transportation, Lawrence Ojabo. He quoted the Minister, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke as saying that President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua approved the upgrading of the airport to “alleviate the travails of the many business men and travelers to the South East zone.”
She said the Presidential approval would enable the Ministry commence a phased programme of major infrastructural upgrading and developments at the airport, to transform it into a major sub-regional transportation hub. This would be achieved by “utilising existing budgetary appropriations along with new initiatives under Private Investment Schemes to generate the requisite funds.”
Alison-Madueke expressed the hope that the exercise could be completed within the next few years. She reiterated that the Federal Government is committed to the completion of the Domestic Terminal building at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport. She added that the modernising and upgrading of infrastructure at the airport remain a top priority of the administration of Yar’Adua.
She ordered contractors handling the Port Harcourt International Airport to expedite action to ensure that it was open to commercial traffic before Christmas recalling that approval was given about two months ago for the settlement of outstanding payments to the contractors handling the runway lighting system, and expressed the hope that the contractors would reciprocate government’s goodwill by working round the clock to meet her deadline of first quarter of 2008 for the completion of all works and handing over of the airport to the Federal Government.
She directed that while minor work was still going on at the airport the airport should at least begin daylight operations during the hours between 8.00am and 6.00pm, to ease the sufferings of businessmen and air travelers to that destination. Alison-Madueke also directed the Director-General of NCAA to ensure that all necessary safety parameters are put in place to allow daylight operations take off within the next five weeks in order to facilitate full scale commercial activities in the area.
Bad Legislation Cripples Tinapa, Export Processing Zones.
Governor Liyel Imoke of Cross River State has called for a review of the legislation on the operation of the Calabar Free Trade Zone, Calabar Free Port and Tinapa Business Resort for the realisation of their economic benefits.
While receiving members of the Presidential Committee on Waivers, Concessions and Incentives, led by Senator Udoma Udo Udoma on a courtesy call, in Calabar, Imoke noted that lack of proper legislations and gazette on the operations of the different zones located in Calabar have crippled their operations and created conflict of interests between the supervisory ministries.
According to Imoke, Calabar Free Trade Zone had been moribund since inception until 1999, when government introduced an aggressive drive to make it what it should be, saying that their legislation be reviewed to make them realisable since the current federal government policies have crippled those zones. Imoke stated that the laws establishing the zones are outdated and as such have created conflicts between the offices of the Ministers of Commerce and that of Finance as its processes are cumbersome, while the status of the Calabar Port as a Free Port is not recognised by the Customs.
On Tinapa, Imoke said, it was given Free Trade Zone status, but its policy and control fall exclusively to the federal government with the state at its mercy, adding that the challenge was that it could not be open because the state did not know how it could operate as a free trade zone as investors would want to know much about Customs, Immigration and Inland Revenue policies.
He averred that for the Federal Government to achieve its vision of being one of the 20 largest economies by 2020, there was need to look critically at the current system, hoping that the committee was different from the previous ones and its recommendations abided by the federal government.
Obasanjo spent N450bn on roads – FG
Over N450 billion was spent on the construction, repairs and rehabilitation of federal highways during the eight years of the immediate past administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Minister of Transportation, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke, who disclosed this during the National Council on Works held at Royal Tropicana Hotel, Kano, regretted that in spite of the enormous resources committed over the years to construction, rehabilitation and maintenance of our roads, it is sad to note that the nation’s road condition continues to deteriorate unabated.
She recalled that, “from 1976 to 1998, the Federal Government spent over N25 billion to build and maintain the Federal Roads network which is about 34,340km”.
“In addition, from the inception of the civilian administration in 1999 to 2006, a total sum of about N450 billion has been spent on the construction and rehabilitation of roads and bridges. A total of 117 road and bridge projects of about 4,748km have been completed while 118 road and bridge projects covering a total length of 6,447km are currently on-going, and are at various stages of completion although with serious funding constraints”, she said.
“As mentioned earlier despite the major resources invested in the road sector over the past few years, the conditions of our roads have continued to deteriorate. The heavy reliance on the roads as a better alternative to other means of transport (rail and water), a weak regulatory environment and unreliable and unsustainable sources of funding for road construction, rehabilitation, and maintenance, have resulted in the continuous deterioration of the condition of the Federal Roads Network”, she concluded.