The implications of Nigeria’s new green bond

Green bonds have been around for a while now, and using them to raise funds for environmental projects is becoming increasingly popular. The bonds were originally created by international development banks including the World Bank, and now Nigeria has become the first country in Africa to issue this kind of financial product. The first tranche of the N150bn Green Bond programme was released in December as Nigeria joined a green bond market that had a projected issuance of around $135bn in 2017. The government sold 10.7 billion naira ($30m)-worth of bonds in the issuance which ran from 18 to 20 December. Fighting climate change "While our nation is not one of the leading generators of greenhouse gases, we are one of the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change," says our Chairman, Onajite Okoloko. "Our agricultural sector - particularly those small-scale operators who make up such a large proportion of our country's farmers - are particularly vulnerable to more unpredictable weather...
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The huge potential of gas

Natural gas represents a huge opportunity for our nation. Nigeria has an enormous reserve - around a quarter of the entire African continent's total, and the ninth largest reserves in the world - and it is also relatively clean in comparison to fuels such as diesel. There is also an additional environmental benefit, as tapping our natural gas reserves for fuel also removes the need for damaging and wasteful gas flaring. And yet, only around 25 per cent of those reserves are currently being exploited in our country. "There is real potential for Nigeria to make use of this valuable source of cheap, clean energy," says our Chairman, Onajite Okoloko. "There have been a number of factors holding the full exploitation of this resource back in the past, but I believe that the conditions now are much more conducive to making the most of our nation's gas reserves." A more transparent industry One of those limiting factors has been the instability in major...
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The importance of technical innovation in our industry

Innovation is crucial in any industry. It's what separates the winners from the runners up - the businesses that get ahead are the ones who are able to carve out a competitive advantage over the rest, and who can use this to deliver consistent profits in an ever-changing market. Oil and gas is no different - and in the diverse landscape of the Nigerian petroleum industry technical innovation of all kinds is proving to be a critical differentiator in a competitive market. "Here at Midwestern Oil and Gas we're proud of the huge investment we make in terms of supporting innovation," says our Chairman Onajite Okoloko. "We see promoting different approaches to industry challenges as the only way we can develop both our people and our technical capabilities as a business." Innovation is key There are a number of reasons why it's clear that the oil and gas sector is an area in which innovation of all kinds is so important. The first...
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Why investment in domestic refining is crucial

While it's clear that our country has huge potential in terms of our vast reserves of oil and gas, there are number of areas where we are still being held back. Thanks to the vision of our government it's true that a great deal of progress has been made in terms of regulation and legislation in the sector, which has helped to create more stable and transparent domestic industry - but there is still much work to do in terms of the actual infrastructure that supports it. That gas flaring still occurs in some areas is a real sign of this lack of investment, and is also indicative of a need to build on our domestic processing capabilities. The message is clear - for our industry and our economy to grow, and for us to fully realise the potential of our oil and gas resources, we need to invest in our refineries. "More refining capacity will allow our nation to generate...
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Is increased production the way forward?

Over the last year, Nigerian oil and gas production has finally been on the rise, in the face of a more stable situation in the main oil producing areas of Delta State. The increase has now allowed to us voluntarily join the OPEC-led round of production cuts which were announced in the face of tanking global oil prices, and our country is now limiting our oil output to 1.8 million barrels per day. Overall, the rise in Nigerian production has still had a dampening effect on the global oil price however - despite OPEC's best efforts via production cuts - and this is clearly a big challenge for oil companies looking to make a profit. So is a continued rise in our domestic oil and gas production actually desirable, even if it is now possible given the more stable situation on the ground? A delicate balancing act It's clear that there is an important balance to be struck - one that is fundamentally...
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What are the implications of a strategic partnership with the US?

Investment in our nation's oil and gas industry is always welcome - but the recent announcement that the United States government will try to encourage more of its businesses to get involved in our sector is great news. As one of the world's leading players on the international oil and gas market, more investment and involvement by American films should have a positive and lasting impact on our country's domestic industry. Proof of potential "The recent statement by the United States administration is a huge vote of confidence - not just in our country's oil and gas sector, but in the talent and ability of our domestic workforce," says our Chairman, Onajite Okoloko. "The interest shown so far by US companies in terms of investing in our country is proof of the huge potential that we have in Nigeria - and of the great deal of progress that has been made to make our indigenous oil and gas industry more attractive to...
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Why renewables are an opportunity, not a threat

As a nation, Nigeria is blessed with many rich natural resources. Of course we have our huge oil and gas reserves - but we also have our agricultural land, abundant wind, water and solar power, and of course our talented and skilled workforce. So, with this in mind, it makes sense for our government and for private sector operators to ensure that we are not solely focused on just one sector - and this is particularly the case when it comes to energy, and the way that we generate the power that runs our country. The example of other oil-rich countries like Venezuela shows that being over dependent on one resource - either in terms of the power it generates or the revenue it brings into the national finances - is not advisable. Diversification is almost always a positive - and prudent - approach to take. So, here at Midwestern Oil and Gas we're excited by the possibilities and opportunities presented...
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Federal government sets guidelines for new marginal oil field bids in 2018

The federal government is once again expected to make a new round of marginal oil fields available for development in 2018. It's a significant step for a number of reasons and builds on the progress made in the industry since the first awards were made in the 1990s. An historic step "Back in late 1999, our Government opened up the opportunities for oil companies to exploit the under-developed fields of our country," says our Chairman, Onajite Okoloko. "This was in response to a situation in which some international oil companies (IOCs) had abandoned or simply set aside fields for years, even after they had discovered oil in many of them. They were often under-developed simply because the larger international operators didn't see them as commercially viable - but the Government's vision opened up huge opportunities for businesses like Midwestern Oil and Gas." Midwestern Oil and Gas was just one of many indigenous upstream entrepreneurs who were able to take advantage of this new...
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Midwestern performs well in Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) was established with a number of important aims. At the time – February 2004 – our nation's government was engaged in a complex and wide-ranging reform programme - and NEITI formed an important part of this. Our nation has come a long way since then – and Midwestern Oil and Gas have played an important role in the NEITI story. Making the most of our resources The overarching intention behind NEITI was to establish a set of practices that would help our nation to efficiently manage the revenues we receive from our oil and gas resources. The approach was four-fold - focusing on improving our country's macroeconomic environment, improving and building on structural changes, managing public expenditure more closely and doing more to implement institutional and governance reforms. "The aim of NEITI was a laudable one," says our Chairman, Onajite Okoloko. “Through the adoption of this initiative the government has shown that it is ready and...
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The importance of cutting gas flares

Gas flaring is the process by which natural gas – a by-product of petroleum – is burned off in the open air, rather than being re-injected underground or collected and sold. It's a controversial and hugely wasteful practice that is also deeply damaging - both to our economy and to the global environment. In many cases operators resort to gas flaring in areas where there has been insufficient funding and investment in the necessary infrastructure to take the excess gas away. "Sadly, gas flaring is still a reality in many parts of our country, and it's important that we make reducing, and ultimately eliminating this practice a real priority,"  says our Chairman, Onajite Okoloko. "Progress has been made in recent years in Nigeria - and the steady decline we're seeing is welcome - but there are still too many operators who are resorting gas flaring as way of avoiding investing in the necessary infrastructure." Still much work to be done In recent years...
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