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NNPC, Schlumberger sign agreement to boost upstream operations

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Energy Services Limited (EnServ) and Schlumberger (SLB), a renowned global technology company, have signed a technical partnership agreement toward bolstering upstream operations.

The agreement was signed at the NNPC Ltd’s Corporate Headquarters in Abuja on Thursday, with senior management teams from both companies in attendance.

Speaking shortly after the signing, the Group Chief Executive Officer of NNPC Ltd., Mr Mele Kyari described the ongoing reforms within the industry as a trigger for potential release of investments in the short term.

Kyari, in a statement issued by Olufemi Soneye, the Chief Corporate Communications Officer, NNPC Ltd. described the agreement as part of strategic reforms aimed at unlocking opportunities in the nation’s oil and gas industry,

“Quite a number of reforms are unfolding, and at the back of it is a potential release of investment that we are seeing in a very short term.

“Our physical environment is excellent today; contracting processes have been reviewed, by virtue of the clear reforms the President has put in place; and ultimately, we are already seeing substantial energy going into unlocking opportunities,” Kyari said.

Highlighting the numerous benefits of the partnership, Kyari said it would lead to increased activity and more drilling campaigns that would add value to the two organisations.

He said that NNPC was working on a rig share platform with a definite plan around well drilling activities and associated operations in the coming years.

This, he said would increase crude oil production and support the ongoing plan to deepen gas utilisation within the country.
Kyari, who expressed confidence in the long-standing relationship between NNPC Ltd. and Schlumberger, said the NNPC would leverage on the assets within its control to accelerate the values that will come from this partnership.

“We are counting on Schlumberger as our partners of 70 years. We are in business; we see the opportunities and strategic need to work with you and ultimately, we will create value for our country, “ the GCEO noted.

Earlier in his remarks, Mr Olivier Le Peuch, the Chief Executive Officer, Schlumberger, said the agreement would accelerate the achievement of Nigeria’s exploration and production targets, which would foster Nigeria’s economic growth and prosperity.

“We are here to celebrate the strategic partnership that we signed with EnServ as a technical partner.

“This agreement is geared towards unlocking the capacities of EnServ for Nigeria, which potentially will help NNPC Ltd. to achieve its exploration and production targets.

“We look forward to using this technical partnership as a springboard to accelerate the vision that the industry needs,” Le Peuch said.

According to him, as a company that has been on the shores of Nigeria for 70 years, it remains committed to investing in local talents and building capacity through technology and performance.

“We are pleased to be at the centre of this transition and are in a position where we can bring our technical capability, technology, and capacity to the country so as to support the operations of NNPC Ltd,” he said. (NAN)

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CBN gives fresh guidelines on dormant accounts, unclaimed balances in banks

The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has directed all banks and other financial institutions in the country to transfer all dormant accounts and unclaimed balances and other financial assets to its dedicated account.

The apex bank disclosed this on Friday in a guideline on the management of dormant accounts, unclaimed balances signed by its acting director of the Financial Policy and Banking Regulation Department, John Onojah.

According to the circular, all dormant accounts and unclaimed balances with banks for at least ten years will be warehoused in a dedicated account known as the Unclaimed Balances Trust Fund (UBTF) Pool Account”.

Accordingly, CBN said the funds from Dormant Accounts, unclaimed balances may be invested in Nigerian Treasury Bills (NTBs) and other government securities.

However, the new Guideline which is a review of the Guideline issued in October 2015 exempted dormant accounts, and unclaimed balances under litigation and investigation.

“CBN shall treat unclaimed balances (dormant accounts and financial assets) as follows:

“Open and maintain the ‘UBTF Pool Account’; Maintain records of the beneficiaries of the unclaimed balances warehoused in the UBTF Pool Account;

“Invest the funds in Nigerian treasury bills (NTBs) and other securities as may be approved by the ‘Unclaimed Balances Management Committee’;

“Refund the principal and interest (if any) on the invested funds to the beneficiaries not later than ten (10) working days from the date of receipt of the request and where it is imperative to extend the timeline, a notice of extension shall be communicated to the requesting FI stating reasons for the extension,” it said.

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CBN’s decisive actions has strengthen the economy- Cardoso

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said in Abuja on Friday that its monetary policies and actions have stimulated growth and stability of the nation’s economy.

 

CBN Governor, Mr. Olayemi Cardoso, said this during an engagement with Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions.

Cardoso said that given the positive indicators, Nigerian were in for better days.

He said: “The spread between official and BDC rates has narrowed significantly from N162.62 in January to N47.22 in June indicating successful price discovery, increased market efficiency and reduced arbitrage opportunities.

“The stock of external reserves increased to 36.89 billion dollars as of July 16, compared with 33.22 billion dollars as at end-Dec 2023, driven largely by receipts from crude oil related taxes and third-party receipts.

“In first quarter 2024, we maintained a current account surplus and saw improvements in our trade balance.

According to him, the nation’s external reserves level as at end of June can finance over 11 months of importation of goods and services or 14 months of goods only.

Cardoso said this was significantly higher than the prescribed international benchmark of 3.0 months, indicating a strong buffer against external shocks.

He said that the banking sector remained robust and diverse, comprising 26 commercial banks, six merchant banks and four non-interest banks.

“Key indicators such as capital adequacy, liquidity, and non-performing loan ratios all showed impressive improvements, underscoring the sector’s growing stability and resilience.

“The equity market has shown impressive performance, with the All-Share Index rising by 33.81 per cent and market capitalisation expanding by 38.33 per cent from Dec 2023 to June 2024, reflecting growing investors’ confidence,” he said.

Cardoso said that while CBN was encouraged by these positive trends, it remained vigilant and committed to implementing policies that support sustainable growth in the financial markets, while maintaining overall economic stability.

He also assured  members of the committee that required measures and strategies had been mapped out to confront emerging challenges.

“To combat inflation, we have implemented a comprehensive set of monetary policy measures.

“These include raising the policy rate by 750 basis points to 26.25 per cent, increasing cash reserve ratios, normalising open market operations as our primary liquidity management tool.

“And adopting Inflation Targeting as our new monetary policy framework,” he said.

Cardoso said in the area of banking supervision, CBN had taken decisive actions to ensure the safety, soundness, and resilience of the banking industry.

He said that key measures included intervention in three banks, revocation of Heritage Bank’s license, increasing minimum capital requirements, and enhancing AML/CFT supervision.

“We also introduced new frameworks for Cash Reserve Requirements and cybersecurity and prohibited the use of foreign currency collaterals for local currency loans,” he said.

Cardoso said that CBN was in the process of reviewing micro and macro prudential guidelines to reinforce the resilience of financial institutions to withstand tightened conditions, thereeby creating a secure and attractive investment climate.

“We have signaled our plans to re-capitalise deposit money banks in Nigeria to improve capital inadequacy and their capacity to grow the economy.

“Our ultimate goal is to create a more stable, resilient, and efficient financial system that can better serve the Nigerian economy, while adhering to international best practices,” he said.

Earlier, Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Adetokunbo Abiru, said the purpose of the interaction was to update the committee on efforts, activities, objectives and plans of the CBN with respect to monetary policy.

 

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Nigeria’s external reserves surge to $35.77bn – CBN

Nigeria’s external reserves increased to $35.77 billion on Thursday up from the $33.09 Billion at the end of 2023.

This is according to Thursday’s data from the Central Bank of Nigeria on the country’s external reserves movement.

The figure represents a $2.68 billion increase in the country’s external reserves in the past six months.

Further data showed that Nigeria’s foreign reserve crossed the $35.05bn on July 8 to the $35.77 mark on Thursday.

Meanwhile, according to the recently released economic outlook by CBN, titled ‘Macroeconomic Outlook: Price Discovery for Economic Stabilisation’, the apex bank had projected a decline in the country’s external reserves in 2024.

The CBN based its assumption on continued payments of outstanding foreign exchange forward obligations, matured foreign exchange swaps, and debt service.

The apex bank, however, said, “the expected improvement in crude oil earnings, together with recent reforms in the foreign exchange market and energy sector, however, would cushion the drop in external reserves.”

The outlook also projected a marginal increase to $19.42 billion from $19.17 billion in 2023 for diaspora remittances.

“The external reserves, which stood at $33.09bn in 2023 could reduce slightly in 2024.

“This is on the assumption of continued payments of outstanding foreign exchange forward obligations, matured foreign exchange swaps, and debt service,” it said.

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