Nigerian union members and demonstrators march in Lagos to protest the removal of petroleum subsidies by the government on January 3, 2012. Nigerian police fired tear gas to disperse a small crowd burning tires in Lagos and arrested demonstrators in the northern city of Kano on Tuesday as protests continued over soaring fuel prices. (Pius Utomi Ekpei /AFP/Getty Images)
Over the weekend, Nigerian President Goodluck Johnathan said the violence that has erupted from Islamist militant group Boko Haram, is the gravest threat since the civil war in 1967 to 1970 that left as many as 3 million people dead, and nearly ripped the country apart, according to Agence France Presse.
“During the civil war we knew and we could even predict where the enemy was coming from. But the challenge we have today is more complicated,” Jonathan said, according to The Guardian. The president said some Boko Haram supporters even work for the government.
As the Nigerian government attempts to counter this threat, however, the country appears to be descending into chaos. On the first of this year, the president announced an end to government-sponsored fuel subsidies, doubling and tripling the price of gas in a matter of days.
The reaction of the people was swift, as people took to the streets in opposition to the move almost immediately. Yesterday, schools, banks and stores were shuttered, as protests and a general strike swept the nation after an emergency court banned the demonstrations on Sunday, according to Bloomberg News.
The BBC reports at least three people were killed and more than 30 injured in the protests, that drew tens of thousands of people, and are scheduled to continue indefinitely.
CNN reports a higher death toll, citing at least five reported deaths. Hadiza Halliru, an Abuja protester told the broadcaster that soaring fuel prices have caused an increase in the costs of everything from food to school fees. In Nigeria, more than 90 percent of the people live on less than $2 a day.
“The fuel hike, which has doubled and even tripled in some states, would affect not only transportation but the price of foodstuff, clothing, any form of direct labor, construction costs,” he told CNN. “But salaries still remain the same, which means everyone who directly pays bills will be affected, especially the middle class and the poor.”
In a photo on the Voice of America website, one man carries a placard that reads: “One day the poor will have nothing to eat but the rich.”
The fuel subsidy cost the government $8 billion in 2011, and some argue it never really helped the average Nigerian person get ahead. Critics of the subsidy say it filtered large amounts of money into the hands of the few, leaving the country with very little in the way of infrastructure development.
As the debate over the subsidy raged last fall, a Nigerian Tribune editorial hailed local leaders for standing up to the people profiting from the subsidy. The author, Joshua Ocheja, writes:
“We can’t sit and watch while an infinitesimal percentage of the population milk us dry in the name of fuel subsidy … It is high time we called a spade a spade in this country. Our elected officials must account for their actions and inactions as it concerns the populace.
- Burning roadblocks at 2nd day of Nigeria strike (mysanantonio.com)
- Nigeria On the Verge of Chaos As Thousands Strike Over Rising Fuel Prices (clutchmagonline.com)
- Government: Ongoing Nigeria strike invites anarchy (seattlepi.com)
- Nigeria in turmoil (zxeesha.wordpress.com)
|This week the SubseaIQ team added 1 new projects and updated 16 projects. You can see all the updates made over any time period via the Project Update History search. The latest offshore field develoment news and activities are listed below for your convenience.|
- Ophir Begins with Drilling Operations Offshore Tanzania (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Angola: Azul-1 Deepwater Well Brings Oil to Maersk Oil (mb50.wordpress.com)
- USA: Saratoga, McMoRan in Vermilion 16 Field JV Talks (mb50.wordpress.com)
Pacific Drilling S.A. today provided an update on the status of its ultra-deepwater drillships. The Pacific Bora commenced its three year contract with a wholly owned Chevron subsidiary on August 26, 2011, and continues to operate in the Agbami Field in Nigeria. The rig has reached performance levels in line with industry expectations.
In addition, following previously announced repairs and upgrades, the Pacific Scirocco is mobilizing from quayside in Port Ngqura, South Africa, to Nigeria, where it is expected to commence a one year contract with Total E&P Nigeria Limited in December 2011.
The Pacific Santa Ana will complete upgrades prior to expected delivery in December 2011, before mobilizing to the US Gulf of Mexico for a five year contract with Chevron as the world’s first dual gradient drilling rig.
The Pacific Mistral arrived in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, on November 21, 2011. The rig will now undergo regulatory approvals and acceptance testing with its client, Petrobras, prior to beginning operations, which are expected to start in December 2011.
- Dolphin Drilling to Provide Two Drillships for Anadarko’s Mozambique Operations (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Fred Olsen Wins Contract for Belford Dolphin and Newbuild Drillship (gcaptain.com)
- Ocean Rig Bidding to Rent 5 Drillships to Petrobras, Brazil (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Drillship animation in the Gulf of Mexico (video) (mb50.wordpress.com)
- South Korea: Naming Ceremony for Odfjell Drilling’s New UDW Drillship (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Inauguration of Noble Globetrotter I at Schiendam, the Netherlands (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Deepwater Millenium Drillship Not Moving to Brazil. Stays in Ghana (mb50.wordpress.com)
Government of Yement today informed Nexen that the company’s application to extend the Block 14 (Masila) Production Sharing Contract has not been accepted, and that a newly Yemen national company will take over the operatorship of the block upon the PSC expiry on December 17.
Marvin Romanow, Nexen’s President and CEO said: “While we’re disappointed we did not receive an extension, we’re proud of the accomplishments we’ve achieved there. Our operations at Masila have generated significant value for our company, enabling us to deploy the cash flow to build our current portfolio of legacy assets.”
Nexen explained on its website that decrease in the company’s all round production volumes as a result of the contract expiry will be reduced by the start-up of the Usan project, offshore Nigeria, which is expected to begin production in the first half of next year.
The Usan field was discovered in 2002 and is located some 100 kilometers offshore in water depths ranging from 750 to 850 meters. The field development plan includes a floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel with a storage capacity of two million barrels of oil.
- Nexen Inc. could see end of Yemeni operations – Calgary Herald (calgaryherald.com)
- Ship Photo Of The Week – FPSO Positioning (gcaptain.com)
- Yemen Crisis Situation Reports: Update 107 | Critical Threats (theromangate.wordpress.com)
- Nexen’s $3.3-billion North Sea project gets approved (calgaryherald.com)
- Nexen’s profit up slightly, cuts 2011 production (business.financialpost.com)
Fairmount Marine, a Dutch marine contractor for ocean towage and heavy lift transportation, announces that its powerful tug Fairmount Glacier has successfully assisted the new build semi submergible drilling rig Scarbeo 9 sailing around Cape of Good Hope.
Fairmount Glacier was contracted to sail towards a meeting point offshore South Africa where she met with Scarabeo 9 and escorted her safely around the Cape of Good Hope. Despite the bad weather encountered during the route, the convoy proceeded at an average speed of 4.5 to 5.0 knots.
The semi submersible drilling rig Scarabeo 9 has a length of 115 metres, is 80 metres wide and her depth – from keel to main deck – is 35 metres. After they had safely cleared the South African Coast, the Master of Scarabeo 9 thanked Fairmount Glacier for her continued support throughout the voyage. The Fairmount Glacier returned to Cape Town.
- Fairmount Marine Brings Ocean Yorktown Rig in U.S. Gulf of Mexico (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Singapore: Keppel Completes Scarabeo 9 for Saipem (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Anti-Castro Cuban Americans Fret Over Drilling Rig (mb50.wordpress.com)
In Iraq, Saipem has been awarded by South Oil Company the EPIC contract for the Iraq Crude Oil Export Expansion Project – Phase 2, within the framework of the expansion of the Basra Oil Terminal, off the Al Faw Peninsula in the Arabian Gulf, approximately 550 kilometres south-east of Baghdad.
The contract encompasses the engineering, procurement, fabrication and installation of a Central Metering and Manifold Platform (CMMP), to be installed in a water depth of 28 metres, along with associated facilities.
Fabrication of the CMMP topsides will be carried out at Saipem’s yard in Karimun (Indonesia), while the jacket and piles will be fabricated at the Saipem Taqa Al-Rushid (STAR) yard in Dammam (Saudi Arabia). Offshore activities will be performed in the third and fourth quarter of 2013.
In Nigeria, Saipem has been awarded the OFON2 – D030 contract by Total E&P Nigeria Limited, for new offshore facilities in the Ofon field, about 50 kilometres off the southern coast of Nigeria.
Saipem will carry out the engineering, procurement, fabrication and installation of the OFP2 Jacket (comprising the 1,970 ton jacket structures and the 4,500 ton piles), as well as the transportation and installation of the complete new OFQ living quarter offshore platform.
The fabrication of the jacket will take place in the Saipem Rumuolumeni Yard in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
Offshore activities will be performed mainly by Saipem 3000 vessel, in different phases during 2013.
Furthermore, Saipem has been awarded contracts in the Norwegian and British sectors of the North Sea and in the Gulf of Mexico, mainly based on deployment of the Saipem 7000 vessel, for the transportation and installation of platforms and marine facilities, along with the decommissioning of existing offshore structures.
Offshore activities will be performed in several phases commencing in the fourth quarter of 2011 through to late 2014.
Finally, Saipem has agreed to increase the scopes of its work on a number of existing E&C Offshore contracts.
Saipem is organised into two Business Units: Engineering & Construction and Drilling, with a strong bias towards oil & gas related activities in remote areas and deepwater. Saipem is a leader in the provision of engineering, procurement, project management and construction services with distinctive capabilities in the design and execution of large-scale offshore and onshore projects, and technological competences such as gas monetisation and heavy oil exploitation.
- Iraq Awards Oil Export Project to Italy’s Saipem $469 million contract (ataleoftwocitiesdotnet.wordpress.com)
- Chinese-built oil rig setting sail for Cuban waters (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Iraq inks final gas deal with SKorea’s KOGAS (seattlepi.com)
- High-Spec Jackup Market: Hercules Offshore increases stake in Discovery Offshore (mb50.wordpress.com)
Almost immediately after it was announced that President Goodluck Jonathan won Nigeria’s presidential election this past weekend, violence erupted in many northern states. This post-election violence unfortunately tarnishes the nationwide vote that most observers deemed to be an improvement over previous elections, although it is evident that some rigging did occur.
Since the government transferred from military to civilian rule in 1999, each election has been riddled with violations. The 2007 presidential elections were generally considered deeply flawed. Election rigging, electoral fraud, and voter intimidation have been fixtures in Nigerian elections. Much of this was owed to the massively inaccurate voter registration list—which laughably listed Nelson Mandela and Mike Tyson as voters.
This election year, the government made significant attempts to reform the system. Last June, Jonathan appointed a respected academic, Attahiru Jega, to head the Independent National Electoral Commission. Tasked with ensuring that the elections were free and fair, Jega implemented robust reforms and held those seeking to disrupt the process accountable. Despite initial delays in the election process, international observers endorsed the election results, describing them as “generally acceptable.” Jonathan won, quickly surpassing the mandatory 25 percent of the vote in two-thirds of Nigeria’s 36 states. He reportedly received 22.5 million votes, with his nearest rival trailing by 10 million. The U.S. State Department hailed the elections a “positive new beginning for Nigeria.”
While the international community has accepted the results, many in northern Nigeria have not. Nigeria’s religious divisions between North and South will remain a flashpoint for some time. Tensions flared considerably since last September when President Jonathan, a Southern Christian, decided to run as the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, a choice opponents say violates Nigeria’s zoning system, under which the presidency is supposed to rotate between the North and South.
Rioters have burned churches and mosques and targeted PDP officials and supporters in the North. Both President Jonathan and General Muhammadu Buhari have called for a restoration of peace. Former Ambassador to Nigeria John Campbell sees this escalation of violence as the continuing pattern of bifurcation within the country.
With gubernatorial elections scheduled for this weekend, continued violence is expected. In many areas, curfews have been declared and the Nigerian military is patrolling the streets. Campbell anticipates that the “the gubernatorial elections will be a further indication of whether the country is bifurcating along regional and religious lines.”
Once Nigeria’s elections are over, the Nigerian government should make a determined effort to ease religious and ethnic tensions. This will require working closely with state and local leaders to resolve issues regarding marginalization and discrimination.
As Africa’s most populous country and a major oil supplier, Nigeria is a key U.S. trade partner. It has also proven to be a force for stability in Africa in recent years. In order for Nigeria to sustain its international commitments, democratic governance must improve and energetic efforts must be made to heal the North–South, Christian–Muslim divide.
Author: Morgan Roach