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Danbatta Reels Out Achievements As Nigeria Hands Over WATRA Chairmanship To Republic Of Guinea

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Danbatta Reels Out Achievements As Nigeria Hands Over WATRA Chairmanship To Republic Of Guinea

…Tasks member states on increased collaboration

Olushola Okunlade Writes

Having successfully piloted the affairs of the West Africa Telecommunications Regulators Assembly (WATRA) as Chairman in the last year, Nigeria has handed over the mantle of leadership of the Assembly to the Republic of Guinea.

Prof. Umar Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), who served Nigeria’s tenure as the Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria’s national telecommunications regulatory authority, handed over to the newly elected Chairman of the Assembly, Sekou Oumar Barry, of the Republic of Guinea.

The handover ceremony was one of the major highlights of the recently-concluded 19th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of WATRA which took place in Conakry, Republic of Guinea. The AGM equally approved WATRA’s new Strategic Management Plan (SMP) 2022-2024.

Barry, the new chairman, who will preside over the affairs of the Executive Council of WATRA for the next year, is the Director-General of the Telecommunication and Posts Regulatory Authority (ARPT) of the Republic of Guinea. The Assembly also elected the representatives of Mali and Sierra-Leone as 1st and 2nd Vice Chairmen respectively.

Danbatta Reels Out Achievements As Nigeria Hands Over WATRA Chairmanship To Republic Of Guinea
Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, outgoing Chairman, West African Telecommunications Regulators Assembly (WATRA)/Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), and Mr. Sekou Oumar Barry. Danbatta handed over to Mr. Barry, the new WATRA Chairman, during the 19th Annual General Meeting of the Assembly in Conakry, Republic of Guinea recently.

In his address at the event, Danbatta acknowledged the important role WATRA has been playing in creating policy, legal and regulatory frameworks for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the sub-region since the mid-1990s and commended the synergy among member states, which he noted has continued to provide an economic defense for member countries against global shocks, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Danbatta Reels Out Achievements As Nigeria Hands Over WATRA Chairmanship To Republic Of Guinea
Left-Right: Engr. Aliu Aboki, Executive Secretary, West African Telecommunications Regulators Assembly (WATRA); Mr. Sekou Oumar Barry, Director-General, Telecommunication and Posts Regulatory Authority (ARPT), Republic of Guinea/New WATRA Chairman; Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Outgoing WATRA Chairman/Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC); Mr. Joseph Bell, Chairman, National Telecommunications Commission (NATCOM), Sierra-Leone; Mr. Daniel Kaitibi, Director-General, NATCOM, Sierra-Leone/1st Vice Chairman/WATRA; and Mr. Issiaka Habibou, Director, Authority for the Regulation of Telecommunications, Information and Communication Technologies and Posts (AMRTP), Mali, during the 19th Annual General Meeting of the Assembly in Conakry, the Republic of Guinea recently.
Danbatta Reels Out Achievements As Nigeria Hands Over WATRA Chairmanship To Republic Of Guinea
Left-Right: Mr. Adewale Adesanmi, Ag. Head, Finance, West African Telecommunications Regulators Assembly (WATRA); Engr. Aliu Aboki, Executive Secretary, WATRA; Rolake Olujimi, Manager, Corporate Planning, Strategy and Risk Management, NCC; Uzoamaka Okenna-Aguneche, Manager, Legal and Regulatory Services, NCC; Mr. Ibrahim Galadima, Head, International Affairs, NCC; Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, outgoing WATRA Chairman/Executive Vice Chairman, NCC; Abisoye Wahab, Principal Manager, Financial Services, NCC; Mr. Shanono Abdullahi, Senior Manager, Special Duties, NCC, during the 19th Annual General Meeting of the Assembly in Conakry, Republic of Guinea recently.

In Nigeria, Danbatta said ICT currently contributes 17 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with an ambitious target of 20 per cent contribution over the next three years, stating that if one big regional market in which ICT policies and regulations are aligned is created, WATRA members can drive ICT investment and growth faster in their respective countries and collectively in the sub-region.

Danbatta recalled that he had worked closely with the Executive Secretary of WATRA, Aliu Aboki, and his team in the last 12 months to achieve a lot in the re-organization of WATRA’s internal governance and processes to make them more efficient and transparent. The EVC, thus, thanked the Executive Secretary and his team for the energy with which they had pursued the re-positioning task just as he commended the Executive Committee for the clarity of purpose with which they have spelled out these priorities.

Danbatta said some of his achievements as WATRA Chairman, include the delivery of a draft four-year strategic plan in line with the 18th AGM resolution, partial payment of long-outstanding membership dues by some member states after long periods of inactivity, deployment of the new WATRA automated Asset Management System, successful organization of various high-quality capacity building programs for members, optimization of WATRA accounting, finance, and budgeting process, as well as the institution of procedures for improved accountability, marked by the weekly financial dashboard.

The achievements recorded under Danbatta’s one-year chairmanship also include the deployment of an automatic external phone answer and routing system, completion of front-end and back-end development of the redesigned WATRA website, a joint development by WATRA, the Coordination Team, and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission of a new organizational framework for roaming regulation implementation, reactivation of Niger participation in ECOWAS roaming regulation implementation through WATRA-ECOWAS Commission collaboration.

Other achievements of WATRA under Danbatta’s leadership include the re-translation of the WATRA constitution drafted and under review by Executive Committee, renewed engagements with ECOWAS on World Radiocommunications Conference (WRC) 2023 collaboration, joint conduct of the 2nd WRC2023 prep meeting, successful organization of the 2-day technical physical meeting in Abuja on fraud and roaming tariffs for ECOWAS regional roaming in collaboration with ECOWAS Commission, the kick-off of Digital Transformation of WATRA Operations and WATRA Operating Model review service being part of a $300,000 grant from the Nigerian government through NCC, Nigeria.

While congratulating Barry, as the new WATRA Chairman, Danbatta expressed the conviction that the new leadership will build on the modest achievements of the last year. “When members see the unique role that WATRA plays in easing the task of national regulators to adopt or fine-tune regulations through mutual learning and capacity building, they see more reason to engage and be active within WATRA. So, if we build on the modest achievements of the Assembly, the benefits will be with the region for decades,” he said.

He also stated that both at home or in the diaspora, West Africa has the talent to study the most efficient ICT regulations in the world and adapt them for the region’s purposes so that it can attract greater investment into the region and transform the economy of member states.  “What we have to do is to continue the work of building WATRA into a platform that seamlessly deploys these talents and capacity to the 16 member states. The gains to us are enormous,” Danbatta stated with patent conviction.

The EVC further assured his colleagues in  WATRA of his commitment to supporting the new leadership in all ways possible. “As I hand over to the incoming Chairman, please be assured of my continued support and that of the Nigerian Communications Commission and, indeed, the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to WATRA,” Danbatta said.

In his acceptance speech, Barry, who thanked Danbatta for making giant strides in the last 12 months, promised to work with the Executive Committee team and the Management Team to consolidate the achievements of the Assembly, and to ensure greater success of the Assembly for the future.

The 19th AGM was attended by the following14 of the 16 WATRA member states; Togo, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Nigeria, Niger Republic, Mauritania, Mali, Guinea Bissau, Republic of Guinea, The Gambia, Cote d’Ivoire, Cape Verde, Burkina Faso, and the Benin Republic. Ghana and Liberia were absent from the meeting.

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NCC-CSIRT Proffers Countermeasures Against Website Scams On Microsoft Edge Browser

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NCC Issues Final Letters Of Licence Awards To 5G Spectrum Winners

Olushola Okunlade Writes

The Nigerian Communications Commission’s Computer Security Incident Response Team (NCC-CSIRT) has issued an advisory for users to install trusted, up-to-date anti-virus software with an Internet security component and to customize News Feed in Microsoft Edge Browser. 

This is part of the countermeasures to lessen the chances of falling for a malicious attack that has been discovered in the browser.

The NCC-CSIRT further advised users of the browser to practice safe Internet browsing habits and to refrain from clicking on links they are unsure of in the face of a malicious attack that has been rated as high in probability and potential damage to systems.

The advisory stated that the malicious advertising campaign, unearthed on the Microsoft Edge Browser News Feed, redirects victims to fraudulent tech support websites and that cybercriminals have resorted to posting bizarre, attention-grabbing stories or advertisements on the Edge news feed to entice users to click on them. The malicious advertisements appear legitimate but contain malware and/or other threats.

According to the advisory, “The Microsoft Edge News Feed is the default page that appears when a new tab is opened, and it displays information such as news, advertisements, weather, and traffic updates. Also, the following are the steps that result in being redirected to a bogus tech support page: The user clicks on a story or advertisement, and the Edge browser setting is analysed for various metrics.”

Based on the aforementioned metrics and prior results, the advisory said “if the user is adjudged to be a bot or in a location that is not of interest, the user is redirected to a harmless dummy page that is relevant to the story or advertisement initially clicked on; However, if the user has adjudged a potential victim, then the user is redirected to a tech support scam website for further exploitation.”

Victims of the tech support website scam could have their Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and other data harvested or they could be with malware.

The NCC, therefore, urges telecom consumers and other stakeholders in the ecosystem to install up-to-date AntiVirus software and be alert to the wiles of cyber criminals in order not to fall victim to cyber scams.

The CSIRT is the telecom sector’s cyber security incidence centre set up by the NCC to focus on incidents in the telecom sector and as they may affect telecom consumers and citizens at large.

The CSIRT also works collaboratively with the Nigeria Computer Emergency Response Team (ngCERT), established by the Federal Government to reduce the volume of future computer risk incidents by preparing, protecting, and securing Nigerian cyberspace to forestall attacks, and problems or related events.

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Zoom Users Advised To Update Software After Vulnerabilities Found

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NCC Issues Final Letters Of Licence Awards To 5G Spectrum Winners

Olushola Okunlade Writes

The Nigerian Communications Commission’s Computer Security Incident Response Team (NCC-CSIRT) has advised users of the video telephony platform, Zoom, to install the latest update of the software from its publisher’s official website following the discovery of vulnerabilities that allows a remote attacker to exploit the app.

In an advisory issued on Wednesday, NCC-CSIRT reported that the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) found several flaws in Zoom products.

The video telephony platform became popular for virtual meetings in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic with more than 300 million daily users.

According to the NCC-CSIRT advisory, “A remote attacker could exploit the vulnerabilities to circumvent implemented security measures and cause a denial of service on the targeted machine.” 

It noted that “These vulnerabilities exist owing to incorrect access control implementation in Zoom On-Premises Meeting Connector MMR prior to version 4.8.20220815.130. A remote attacker could exploit these flaws to join a meeting they were not permitted to attend without being seen by the other attendees. They can also access audio and video feeds from meetings they were not permitted to attend, as well as interrupt other sessions.”

In 2019, the Southern Swamp Associated Gas Solutions project was commissioned, and the SPDC JV is planning to reduce associated gas flaring further through its Forcados Yokri gas-gathering project, of which large parts are set to be completed in 2022. Despite such efforts to reduce continuous flaring, unfortunately flaring intensity (the amount of gas flared for every tonne of oil and gas produced) at both SPDC- and SNEPCo-operated facilities increased in 2021 owing to short-term operational issues. Flaring from SPDC-operated facilities increased by around 5% in 2021 compared with 2020. The increase was primarily because of the extended outage of the gas compression system in SPDC’s shallow-water operations. The system was restored and became operational from January 2022. Flaring at SNEPCo-operated facilities rose by around 160% in 2021 compared with 2020. This was mainly because of an increase in flaring on the Bonga floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel. Repairs to a flex-joint on the Bonga FPSO’s gas export riser in the second quarter took longer than expected, in part because of weather conditions. While repairs were under way, the FPSO continued to produce oil and therefore flaring was necessary for safety reasons. The repairs were safely concluded in July 2021. Although flaring intensity levels rose in 2021, SPDC and SNEPCo over the last 10 years have almost halved the combined amount of hydrocarbons they flare from 1.5 million tonnes in 2012 to 0.8 million tonnes in 2021. This reduction is the result of a strict flaring reduction management process and both SPDC and SNEPCo will continue to work in close collaboration with joint-venture partners and the government to make progress towards ending routine flaring of associated gas. NIGERIA LNG EXPANSION UNDERWAY Global demand for LNG continues to grow as the world increasingly seeks reliable supplies of lowercarbon energy. Shell’s investment in Nigeria’s gas infrastructure for export is expected to help 6 This is according to a data provided by global research and consultancy business Wood Mackenzie. the country benefit further from revenues. Shell Gas B.V. and its partners took a final investment decision in 2020 on a new LNG processing unit – known as Train 7 -- at NLNG. The expansion is expected to create around 12,000 jobs for Nigerians during construction and stimulate growth of the local oil and gas service sector, with 55% of engineering and procurement of goods and services being sourced in-country. Train 7 is expected to ensure Nigeria’s continued place as a global player in a lower-carbon energy source. Once operational, Train 7 will add around 8 million tonnes per annum of capacity to the Bonny Island LNG facility, taking the total production to around 30 million tonnes per annum. In 2021, NLNG began awarding procurement and construction contracts. Early works started at the site. The first phase of the worker village is expected to be ready for occupancy in 2022 and the new material offloading facility ready for use by the end of 2022. NLNG’s Train 7 is expected to come onstream in the middle of the 2020s. KEY LICENCE RENEWED FOR DEEP-WATER SNEPCo has interests in four deep-water blocks in the Gulf of Guinea, two of which it operates. Today, nearly one-third of Nigeria’s deep-water oil and gas production comes from the Bonga and the nonoperated Erha fields.6 Since production began in 2005, Bonga alone has produced more than 950 million barrels of oil with the 2021 average oil production per day at 105,000 barrels. The Bonga FPSO vessel has a total production capacity of 225,000 barrels of oil per day and 150 standard cubic feet of gas export per day. In 2021, the availability of the FPSO vessel increased to 80% from 70% in 2020. In addition to Bonga, SNEPCo’s exploration activities have led to several significant discoveries of oil and gas over the last two decades, including the Bolia and Doro fields (Shell interest 55%). Nigeria Briefing Notes Helping to power Nigeria’s economy 13 In the right investment climate, SNEPCo believes that there are opportunities to expand. In 2021 the OML 118 (Bonga) production sharing contract was renewed and the lease extended for 20 years. Bonga North and Bonga South West Aparo (BSWA) oil fields are two such potential opportunities. Bonga North is a proposed tie-back project to the existing Bonga FPSO with Phase 1 comprising 14 wells. BSWA is a development of a new FPSO with Phase 1 comprising 23 wells. SUPPORTING RENEWABLE ENERGY STARTUPS Millions of Nigerians are excluded from the country’s power grid and Shell Companies in Nigeria have established and provided substantial funding for a not-for-profit, impact-investing company called All On. Operating as an independent company, All On works to bring reliable electricity – often from renewable energy sources -- to off-grid urban and rural customers. This support aims to build a solid pipeline of viable businesses that can create the scale required to address Nigeria’s access to energy gap. In December 2019, SPDC and SNEPCo made a significant additional 10-year financing commitment of $160 million in All On, bringing the total commitment to $200 million. By the end of 2021, All On had provided investment capital to over 40 renewable energy start-ups in its portfolio – an increase of more than 30% from 2020. One such company is Infibranches Technologies Limited, to which All On has committed $2 million, which is expected to enable the indigenous technology company to expand sales of solar home systems via its more than 13,000 agent banking partners across Nigeria. With the support of the Rockefeller Foundation, the All On Hub was established in 2020 to provide nonfinancial support and build the capabilities of off-grid energy entrepreneurs. In 2021, the hub supported 81 ventures – nearly double the 41 supported in 2020. Also in 2021, All On, Odyssey Energy Solutions and the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet launched a $10 million equipment financing facility as part of the DART pilot programme in Nigeria. 7 Hydraulic flying leads support the delivery of hydraulic fluid and/or chemicals between subsea equipment. 8 Subsea trees are an assembly of valves and other components used to monitor and control the production of a subsea well. DART will combine demand pooling, aggregated purchasing of solar equipment, and access to affordable finance to unlock economies of scale for solar companies, achieve cost savings for end-users, and accelerate the growth of the renewable energy sector in Nigeria and beyond. DEVELOPING LOCAL CONTENT AND SKILLS Shell Companies in Nigeria contribute to the growth of Nigerian businesses that can provide technical and support services to the industry. This includes the manufacture of tools and technical kits, the operation of helicopter flights in the Niger Delta, and strategic partnerships between foreign and local companies to stimulate technology transfer and capacity development. While there are government-required programmes in some areas, such as the Nigerian and Community Content Strategy embedded in the Assa North/Ohaji South gas development project, Shell Companies in Nigeria deliberately seek to contract local businesses wherever possible. In 2021, Shell Companies in Nigeria awarded $800 million worth of contracts to Nigerian-registered companies. Of these, 92% were companies with at least 51% Nigerian ownership. SNEPCo has awarded major engineering and construction contracts to companies that are indigenous, have local staff, or possess domestic capabilities in the country. At present, the manufacture and rebuild of hydraulic flying leads7 (HFLs) is being carried out in-country by wholly indigenous companies. Pressure Controls Systems Nigeria Limited, another Nigerian company, continues to refurbish old subsea trees.8 Sometimes, a lack of access to capital hinders Nigerian companies from competing for and executing contracts effectively. Shell Companies in Nigeria have provided access to nearly $1.6 billion in loans to 901 Nigerian vendors under the Shell Contractor Support Fund since 2012. These loans help improve their tendering opportunities.

A successful exploit of these vulnerabilities could allow an unauthorized remote authenticated user to bypass implemented security limitations on the targeted system.

The Computer Security Incident Response Team (CSIRT) is the telecom sector’s cyber security incidence centre set up by the NCC to focus on incidents in the telecom sector and as they may affect telecom consumers and citizens at large. The CSIRT also works collaboratively with the Nigeria Computer Emergency Response Team (ngCERT), established by the Federal Government to reduce the volume of future computer risk incidents by preparing, protecting, and securing Nigerian cyberspace to forestall attacks, and problems or related events.

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NCC Urges NSSB To Create Awareness About Digital Literacy

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NCC Urges NSSB To Create Awareness About Digital Literacy

…NCC continues to give research grants to lecturers and students in the universities

Olushola Okunlade Writes

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has urged the Nasarawa State Scholarship Board (NSSB) to support the NCC in creating awareness about the intervention projects of the Commission concerning research and digital literacy in order to provide more opportunities for the citizenry.

Director of Digital Economy at the Commission, Dr. Augustine Nwaulune, who hosted a delegation of the Board, led by the Board’s Executive Secretary, Hajia Saadatu Yahya, on behalf of the Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, recently, recalled that Nasarawa State is one of the beneficiaries of NCC’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) intervention projects such as the Digital Awareness Programme (DAP) for secondary schools, the Advanced Digital Appreciation Programme for Tertiary Institutions (ADAPTI), the Wireless Cloud, as well as the E-Health program.

“While we don’t give scholarships to students, the NCC has continued to give research grants to lecturers and students in the universities and provided additional opportunities including sponsoring competitions involving students, as well as endowing professorial chairs in universities across the country. In the last seven years, the financial value of the endowments and grants is more than N500 million.

“Therefore, I will appeal to NSSB to create awareness about these initiatives of the NCC among stakeholders in the academia, particularly the research grants to enable stakeholders to leverage such opportunities offered by the Commission to scholars interested in carrying out telecommunications-based research,” he said.

NCC Urges NSSB To Create Awareness About Digital Literacy
Left-Right: Haruna Sani, Senior Special Assistant to Nasawara State Governor on Information and Communication Technology; Dr. Beluchi Nwanisobi, Head, Knowledge Management, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC); Sani Jibrin, President, Nasawara State Students Association; Saadatu Yahya, Executive Secretary, Nasawara State Scholarship Board (NSSB); Dr. Austine Nwaulune, Director, Digital Economy, NCC; Freda Bruce-Bennett, Head, Digital Services and Skills, NCC; Edoyemi Ogoh, Head, Quality of Service and Interconnect, NCC, during a courtesy visit of the NSSB to the Commission on Wednesday (September 21, 2022) in Abuja.

Nwaulune said the NCC has been upbeat in ensuring implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), 2020-2030, in which one of its eight pillars, rests on digital literacy, while the Digital Economy Department has been set up and equipped by the Commission with the human resources required to coordinate its programs in concrete terms.

Yahya, whose delegation visited to discuss areas of collaboration for deepening digital/technical training and skills acquisition in Nasarawa State, commended the Commission for the central role it has played in promoting digital awareness and skills across the country and pleaded that Nasarawa State should be given more opportunities to benefit from NCC’s social investments and other digital economy-focused interventions, being the closest State to the Federal Capital Territory, the base of the Commission.

In 2019, the Southern Swamp Associated Gas Solutions project was commissioned, and the SPDC JV is planning to reduce associated gas flaring further through its Forcados Yokri gas-gathering project, of which large parts are set to be completed in 2022. Despite such efforts to reduce continuous flaring, unfortunately flaring intensity (the amount of gas flared for every tonne of oil and gas produced) at both SPDC- and SNEPCo-operated facilities increased in 2021 owing to short-term operational issues. Flaring from SPDC-operated facilities increased by around 5% in 2021 compared with 2020. The increase was primarily because of the extended outage of the gas compression system in SPDC’s shallow-water operations. The system was restored and became operational from January 2022. Flaring at SNEPCo-operated facilities rose by around 160% in 2021 compared with 2020. This was mainly because of an increase in flaring on the Bonga floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel. Repairs to a flex-joint on the Bonga FPSO’s gas export riser in the second quarter took longer than expected, in part because of weather conditions. While repairs were under way, the FPSO continued to produce oil and therefore flaring was necessary for safety reasons. The repairs were safely concluded in July 2021. Although flaring intensity levels rose in 2021, SPDC and SNEPCo over the last 10 years have almost halved the combined amount of hydrocarbons they flare from 1.5 million tonnes in 2012 to 0.8 million tonnes in 2021. This reduction is the result of a strict flaring reduction management process and both SPDC and SNEPCo will continue to work in close collaboration with joint-venture partners and the government to make progress towards ending routine flaring of associated gas. NIGERIA LNG EXPANSION UNDERWAY Global demand for LNG continues to grow as the world increasingly seeks reliable supplies of lowercarbon energy. Shell’s investment in Nigeria’s gas infrastructure for export is expected to help 6 This is according to a data provided by global research and consultancy business Wood Mackenzie. the country benefit further from revenues. Shell Gas B.V. and its partners took a final investment decision in 2020 on a new LNG processing unit – known as Train 7 -- at NLNG. The expansion is expected to create around 12,000 jobs for Nigerians during construction and stimulate growth of the local oil and gas service sector, with 55% of engineering and procurement of goods and services being sourced in-country. Train 7 is expected to ensure Nigeria’s continued place as a global player in a lower-carbon energy source. Once operational, Train 7 will add around 8 million tonnes per annum of capacity to the Bonny Island LNG facility, taking the total production to around 30 million tonnes per annum. In 2021, NLNG began awarding procurement and construction contracts. Early works started at the site. The first phase of the worker village is expected to be ready for occupancy in 2022 and the new material offloading facility ready for use by the end of 2022. NLNG’s Train 7 is expected to come onstream in the middle of the 2020s. KEY LICENCE RENEWED FOR DEEP-WATER SNEPCo has interests in four deep-water blocks in the Gulf of Guinea, two of which it operates. Today, nearly one-third of Nigeria’s deep-water oil and gas production comes from the Bonga and the nonoperated Erha fields.6 Since production began in 2005, Bonga alone has produced more than 950 million barrels of oil with the 2021 average oil production per day at 105,000 barrels. The Bonga FPSO vessel has a total production capacity of 225,000 barrels of oil per day and 150 standard cubic feet of gas export per day. In 2021, the availability of the FPSO vessel increased to 80% from 70% in 2020. In addition to Bonga, SNEPCo’s exploration activities have led to several significant discoveries of oil and gas over the last two decades, including the Bolia and Doro fields (Shell interest 55%). Nigeria Briefing Notes Helping to power Nigeria’s economy 13 In the right investment climate, SNEPCo believes that there are opportunities to expand. In 2021 the OML 118 (Bonga) production sharing contract was renewed and the lease extended for 20 years. Bonga North and Bonga South West Aparo (BSWA) oil fields are two such potential opportunities. Bonga North is a proposed tie-back project to the existing Bonga FPSO with Phase 1 comprising 14 wells. BSWA is a development of a new FPSO with Phase 1 comprising 23 wells. SUPPORTING RENEWABLE ENERGY STARTUPS Millions of Nigerians are excluded from the country’s power grid and Shell Companies in Nigeria have established and provided substantial funding for a not-for-profit, impact-investing company called All On. Operating as an independent company, All On works to bring reliable electricity – often from renewable energy sources -- to off-grid urban and rural customers. This support aims to build a solid pipeline of viable businesses that can create the scale required to address Nigeria’s access to energy gap. In December 2019, SPDC and SNEPCo made a significant additional 10-year financing commitment of $160 million in All On, bringing the total commitment to $200 million. By the end of 2021, All On had provided investment capital to over 40 renewable energy start-ups in its portfolio – an increase of more than 30% from 2020. One such company is Infibranches Technologies Limited, to which All On has committed $2 million, which is expected to enable the indigenous technology company to expand sales of solar home systems via its more than 13,000 agent banking partners across Nigeria. With the support of the Rockefeller Foundation, the All On Hub was established in 2020 to provide nonfinancial support and build the capabilities of off-grid energy entrepreneurs. In 2021, the hub supported 81 ventures – nearly double the 41 supported in 2020. Also in 2021, All On, Odyssey Energy Solutions and the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet launched a $10 million equipment financing facility as part of the DART pilot programme in Nigeria. 7 Hydraulic flying leads support the delivery of hydraulic fluid and/or chemicals between subsea equipment. 8 Subsea trees are an assembly of valves and other components used to monitor and control the production of a subsea well. DART will combine demand pooling, aggregated purchasing of solar equipment, and access to affordable finance to unlock economies of scale for solar companies, achieve cost savings for end-users, and accelerate the growth of the renewable energy sector in Nigeria and beyond. DEVELOPING LOCAL CONTENT AND SKILLS Shell Companies in Nigeria contribute to the growth of Nigerian businesses that can provide technical and support services to the industry. This includes the manufacture of tools and technical kits, the operation of helicopter flights in the Niger Delta, and strategic partnerships between foreign and local companies to stimulate technology transfer and capacity development. While there are government-required programmes in some areas, such as the Nigerian and Community Content Strategy embedded in the Assa North/Ohaji South gas development project, Shell Companies in Nigeria deliberately seek to contract local businesses wherever possible. In 2021, Shell Companies in Nigeria awarded $800 million worth of contracts to Nigerian-registered companies. Of these, 92% were companies with at least 51% Nigerian ownership. SNEPCo has awarded major engineering and construction contracts to companies that are indigenous, have local staff, or possess domestic capabilities in the country. At present, the manufacture and rebuild of hydraulic flying leads7 (HFLs) is being carried out in-country by wholly indigenous companies. Pressure Controls Systems Nigeria Limited, another Nigerian company, continues to refurbish old subsea trees.8 Sometimes, a lack of access to capital hinders Nigerian companies from competing for and executing contracts effectively. Shell Companies in Nigeria have provided access to nearly $1.6 billion in loans to 901 Nigerian vendors under the Shell Contractor Support Fund since 2012. These loans help improve their tendering opportunities.

“The purpose of our visit is to seek collaboration with the NCC in whatever ways possible, especially in the areas of scholarship, and ICT skills and literacy for our people. The ICT is, today, the engine room of the global economy and we do not want to lag in this new digital order, hence, our decision to seek collaboration with organisations in the ICT space such as your work, especially because you are contiguous to our State,” Yahya, the NSSB Executive Secretary said.

Other members of the delegation, including Senior Special Assistant to Nasarawa State Governor on Information and Communication Technology, Haruna Sani; and the President, Nasarawa State Students Association, Sani Jibrin, spoke in favour of a greater collaboration with the NCC which would add the needed impetus to the current efforts by the state government to leverage ICT for economic development.

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