By Daniel Alfred
AMNIÂ International Petroleum Development Company (AMNI) and Afren Nigeria hasÂ formally revealed the beneficiaries of scholarship grants for tertiary, post graduate and specialised studies courses for students from Eastern Obolo Local Government Area in Akwa Ibom state.
AMNI/Afren, the owners/technical partners of the Okoro Setu field offshore Akwa Ibom today awarded 64 scholarship grants to students from the Eastern Obolo Local Government Area.
The awards were divided into three categories, with 50 students receiving awards for tertiary education (university, college of education, school of nursing etc), 7 students receiving post graduate awards for study at local institutions and 7 students receiving awards for specialised studies (eg:Postgraduate Institute of Petroleum Studies).
Speaking at the ceremony to grant the awards in Uyo, Akwa Ibom, Afren Nigeria Acting COO, Adebayo Ayorinde said â€œwe are delighted to be awarding these scholarships today. This marks the third year we have provided such scholarships, with the number of recipients expanding year on yeaâ€.
â€œAfren and AMNI are committed to supporting the development of education in the regions where we operate. Ensuring strong technical capabilities amongst our youth will be one of the pillars of ensuring wider local participation in the oil and gas industry and a better future for us all. We wish the recipients luck and ask them to work to ensure that they maximise the value they receive from it.â€ he said
The grants provide an allowance per annum and last for the period of the course being undertaken as grants can be used to fund any education related costs including text books, lab fees, uniforms and any other fees associated withÂ studentâ€™s studies.
Afren/AMNIÂ realised First Oil at the Okoro Setu field in June 2008 following a two year exploration, appraisal and development programme. The companies and their contractors have instituted a comprehensive community relations and development programme in Akwa Ibom and is currently in the exploratory phase of establishingÂ womenâ€™s economic empowerment micro-finance scheme in the community following the success of the scheme in other parts of the Niger Delta.
Afren Nigeria further announced that arrangements for a new US$450 million reserves based lending (â€œRBLâ€) debt facility have been secured. meanwhile the facility agreement for up to US$450 million was executed by Afren Plc, its subsidiary and the three Mandated Lead Arrangers, BNP Paribas, Natixis and CrÃ©dit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank.
The new debt facility will be used for the development funding of the Ebok field (the â€œProjectâ€), and has the flexibility to be used for the development funding of the Okwok field, OML 115, or other development projects located in Oil Mining Lease 67, offshore Nigeria, subject to certain conditions being met.
The facility has been secured against the Project reserves, based on the assessment of Netherland, Sewell and Associates, Inc and the Technical Banksâ€™ assessments. Also, Oriental and Afren have signed a drilling contract with Transocean to undertake development, appraisal and exploration drilling at the Ebok/Okwok complex, with the first well Ebok Deep to be spudded end March 2010.
The chairman, Oriental Energy Rsources, Alhaji Mohammed Indimi also commented â€œWe are delighted that we have secured financing that will provide additional flexibility on the Ebok, Okwok and OML 115 projects. Through existing Afren relationships with international financiers and the strength of our partnership they have been able to put in place quickly the finance required to secure the fast development of these assets, further increasing indigenous involvement in Nigeriaâ€™s oil sector.â€
Chairman of Afren, Egbert Imomoh, further opined â€œWe are very pleased to have extended our banking relationships with BNP Paribas, Natixis and Credit Agriciole, all of whom are participants in our existing Okoro RBL facility.
This financing underscores the quality of the Ebok and Okwok assets.Â It also provides us with the financial flexibility to realise the substantial oil potential that exists across the broader Ebok / Okwok / OML 115 area and quickly monetise any future reserve additions through our aggressive exploration and appraisal drilling programmeâ€.