Archive for category Nigeria

Nigeria: Survey Report Creates ‘Wall Of Shame’ For PSC’s

What is interesting here is the idea of creating a wall of shame for companies. To actually analyze and determine who the good companies are and who the bad companies are, and publish those results. This process is great, if everyone respects the group doing the survey and agrees upon what the industry best practices are–or standards.

I have no idea if the group doing the survey is actually respected and legitimate, and the article gave no link to this survey or the company that performed it. But what I wanted to do here is highlight the effort. If Frank Anderson Consulting would like to come up and talk about this survey, feel free to do so in the comments or contact me directly. As it stands, I can’t even find a link to the company and I have never heard of them before.

Not only does the group doing the survey have to be respected, but the same group must also be tasked with doing the survey again in the near future to show any trends.  That way you can see what companies are making a turn around, and which companies are on the decline. It will also help investors and clients determine who the true winners and losers are. -Matt

 

Survey report okays 12 security firms in Nigeria
October 2, 2012
By Kingsley Adegboye
THE report of a survey of private security companies operating in Nigeria just released has shown that most of the security firms guarding homes and business places across the country lack the competence to secure lives and property.
The survey conducted by Frank Anderson Consulting however, gave 12 security companies a clean bill of health after a tour of the nation in the wake of recent security challenges nationwide. These companies that were given A+ rating are; ASE  Security Ltd, Bemil Nigeria Ltd, Cardinal Security Ltd, Crest Security Ltd, Executive Guards, Halogens Security, Kings Guards, Nigid Security Ltd, Monaco Security, Prudential Guards, Technocrime  Security, and Pahek Security Services.
The consulting firm noted that “Our survey and appraisals report of the numerous security companies operating in Nigeria was based on assets, branches, people, technology, refined systems, years of existence, board of directors structure and business focus.”

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Maritime Security: Piracy Off Africa Has Plunged, With A ‘Great Deal Of Credit’ Towards Armed Guards

The decrease in attacks appears to be a result of increased security measures taken by commercial vessels and of sustained antipiracy patrols by the navies of more than a dozen nations, including the United States.
Admiral Fox said the shipping industry “can take a great deal of credit” for the trend. More commercial vessels are carrying “embarked security teams” of armed guards, he said, and no vessel with such a team on board has been hijacked.

Excellent job to all security teams out there for producing these results. It is proof that ‘armed guards on boats’ is a crucial element of the overall strategy of countering piracy. Now hopefully every company and team out there doesn’t drop their guard, and they only continue to improve upon their operations and effectiveness.

That, and the industry must pay close attention to the changing tactics of the pirates. Off the coast of Nigeria, pirates seem to be more willing to take the chance of a gun fight with security forces in order to accomplish the task of taking a boat or kidnapping folks. The fear here is that other pirate groups will learn from these types of assaults and attempt the same.

Pirate action groups will also experiment and game the armed security systems of vessels. It will either be the  application of lethal surprise, overwhelming fire power, or the use of well coordinated/organized swarms. All of these tactics will be mixed together and combined by hungry and determined criminals willing to take that risk and try new methods. ‘Risk takers’ in that part of the world are not in short supply, and there is no telling how many smart and innovative criminal leaders/entrepreneurs there are. But they are out there, and we must stay one step ahead of them. -Matt 

 

U.S. Reports That Piracy Off Africa Has Plunged
By THOM SHANKER
August 28, 2012
Acts of piracy in the treacherous waters around the Horn of Africa have fallen sharply in 2012, according to statistics released by the United States Navy. The Navy credits aggressive patrolling by international forces and increased vigilance by the commercial shipping industry for the decrease.
Data released by the Navy last week showed 46 pirate attacks in the area this year, compared with 222 in all of last year and 239 in 2010. Nine of the piracy attempts this year have been successful, according to the data, compared with 34 successful attacks in all of 2011 and 68 in 2010.
Even so, senior Navy officers have been careful not to declare victory.
“The pirates are very adaptable, and they are very flexible,” said Vice Adm. Mark I. Fox, the Navy’s deputy chief for operations, plans and strategy. “We are watching carefully.”

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Industry Talk: Shell Spent Close To $1 Billion On Worldwide Security Between 2007-2009!

But the scale of Shell’s spending, revealed by the data for the first time, raises questions about the effectiveness of its security policies. “What is striking about the amount being spent in Nigeria is its ineffectiveness,” said Amunwa. “Shell spent many millions of dollars each year on government forces who failed to provide the company with adequate security.”
Nkabari said: “Shell cannot call this spending ‘security’. If it was really providing security, then why do we continue to have vandalisation, why do we have bunkering [theft of oil], why do we have the security mess that we have in the Niger delta? They give protection to the oil workers but they are not providing the region with ‘security’.”

It does raise the question as to how effective this has been in actually creating security? Either way, this is a stunning amount of money that Shell has dished out for security, and especially in Nigeria.

One thing about Nigeria is that it is filled with corrupt leaders in the military and government. Leaders that played both sides in the conflict there for economic gain. Meaning, they can get money by attacking the pipelines and stealing oil, and they can make money by protecting the pipelines. So they can just keep the money machine going by attacking through proxies, and protecting with the military. And meanwhile, Shell throws millions of dollars into that machine.

On the other hand, Shell is doing the numbers and doing the cost benefit analysis of all actions. So even if they are feeding this corrupt machine, at the end of the day, they are able to make a profit. Not only that, but the people have a say in this stuff too, and if they do not support the effort because of whatever reason, then they will lend their support to forces like MEND (or ideas like MEND, because everyone acted under it’s banner to steal from Shell)

This stuff is extremely interesting to me because companies like Shell or Exxon Mobil are going into war zones or non-permissive environments throughout the world, and setting up operations. And in one year, they could go from working with a somewhat stable government to being in the middle of political turmoil, rebellion (arab spring), war, or some insurgency. They have to make incredibly tough decisions at all levels of involvement, and they have to be good at predicting what’s next.

So like a small country, they need a security/defense apparatus, and they need an intelligence apparatus in order to create and implement strategies wherever they are at. When Shell had the third highest security budget in Africa, that is pretty significant. I wonder how the other companies compare?

Interesting stuff, and our industry and it’s lessons learned over the last ten years of war will be absolutely crucial to the resource extraction world–now and into the future… -Matt

 

Wearing an orange vest with camouflage?…

 

Shell spending millions of dollars on security in Nigeria, leaked data shows
Internal documents reveal oil company spent $383m over three years protecting staff and installations in Niger delta region
By Afua Hirsch and John Vidal
Sunday 19 August 2012
If it were a country Shell would have the third highest security budget in Africa.
Shell is paying Nigerian security forces tens of millions of dollars a year to guard their installations and staff in the Niger delta, according to leaked internal financial data seen by the Guardian. The oil giant also maintains a 1,200-strong internal police force in Nigeria, plus a network of plainclothes informants.
According to the data, the world’s largest company by revenue spent nearly $1bn on worldwide security between 2007-09: if it were a country Shell would have the third highest security budget in Africa, after South Africa and Nigeria itself.
The documents show that nearly 40% of Shell’s total security expenditure over the three year period – $383m (£244m) – was spent on protecting its staff and installations in Nigeria’s volatile Niger delta region. In 2009, $65m was spent on Nigerian government forces and $75m on “other” security costs – believed to be a mixture of private security firms and payments to individuals.
Activists expressed concern that the escalating cost of Shell’s security operation in the delta was further destabilising the oil rich region and helping to fuel rampant corruption and criminality. “The scale of Shell’s global security expenditure is colossal,” said Ben Amunwa of London-based oil watchdog Platform. “It is staggering that Shell transferred $65m of company funds and resources into the hands of soldiers and police known for routine human rights abuses.”

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Al Qaeda: Boko Haram, Al Shabaab And AQIM Are Linking Up

“It’s one of the main depots of the Malian army,” a security source told AFP, adding that it had been built in case of “a long and difficult war.”A regional security source confirmed the seizure, saying the vast cache of weapons will “really boost AQIM’s striking power”, and adding: “It is really impressive what AQIM has found in the underground depot.”The source said the group “is today more armed than the combined armies of Mali and Burkina Faso”, Mali’s neighbour to the east.

This to me is fascinating and startling at the same time. Look at how fast these Islamist groups are spreading in Africa? They are taking advantage of the leadership vacuum caused by the Arab Spring, or making their moves in really poor and poorly governed countries. Where there is darkness on the continent, they are moving in to set up shop.

They are also capturing some pretty significant weapons and using this stuff to gain ground throughout the region. From the stuff in Libya that was ‘liberated’ during that fighting, to weapons depots in Mali that were taken by force.

And what gets me here is that I still haven’t heard what exactly Ansar Dine was able to get out of this weapon depot in Gao, Mali. Apparently they are now ‘more armed than the combined armies of Mali and Burkina Faso’, says the quote up top. So these non-state actors are now more armed than several countries combined? Yikes, and that is quite the accomplishment….It also makes you wonder about places like Syria, where that country is imploding and weapons depots–to include chemical and bio, could potentially be compromised.

Not only that, but now that the Muslim Brotherhood is in control of Egypt, whose to say that some of their weapons wouldn’t slip out into the world and find their way into Islamist’ hands? Or directly given to Islamists by a government that openly supports them. pfffftt.

We will see how it goes and somehow I don’t think this fire in the Middle East or Africa is going out any time soon. -Matt

 

Captured armored vehicle in Mali.

 

African extremist groups linking up: U.S. general
June 25, 2012
By Lauren French
Three of Africa’s largest extremist groups are sharing funds and swapping explosives in what could signal a dangerous escalation of security threats on the continent, the commander of the U.S. military’s Africa Command said on Monday.
General Carter Ham said there are indications that Boko Haram, al Shabaab and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb – groups that he labeled as the continent’s most violent – are sharing money and explosive materials while training fighters together.
“Each of those three organizations is by itself a dangerous and worrisome threat,” Ham said at an African Center for Strategic Studies seminar for senior military and civilian officials from Africa, the United States and Europe.
“What really concerns me is the indications that the three organizations are seeking to coordinate and synchronize their efforts,” Ham said. “That is a real problem for us and for African security in general.”
The United States classified three of the alleged leaders of the Islamist sect Boko Haram, based in remote northeast Nigeria, as “foreign terrorist,” on June 20. But it declined to blacklist the entire organization to avoid elevating the group’s profile internationally. Police in Nigeria said members of the group seized a prison there Sunday and freed 40 inmates.

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Nigeria: Former MEND Militant Forges $103 Million Deal To Stop Piracy

Hmmm. Interesting. So is Nigeria taking a page from the Woodes Rogers playbook for their fight against pirates and militants? Below, I posted a snippet from Theodore Richard’s paper on the Letter of Marque. Is this a case of ‘it takes a pirate, to defeat a pirate’? lol -Matt

 

Expulsis Piratis, Restituta Commercia in Nigeria?

 

The western world’s “Golden Age of Piracy” began in 1715, following the 1713 Peace of Utrecht, which brought an end to a decade of European warfare involving all the continent’s major powers. The upsurge in piracy was caused by the unemployment of significant numbers of sailors: the English navy alone discharged 54,000 sailors and privateers could no longer obtain commissions to attack European commerce. This “Golden Age of Piracy” peaked around 1720 and reached an abrupt end in 1725. More than anyone else, the man responsible for bringing this age of piracy to an end was Woodes Rogers.
In an early example of the “revolving door” between the private and public sector employment, Rogers was a privateer before being appointed  as the Governor of Bahamas, then the pirate capital of the Americas. In order to reform this territory, Rogers dispersed the pirates of the Caribbean with privateers.
The piracy problem during this era was solved through a combination of tactics:
(1) the British Parliament passed legislation allowing overseas piracy trials, rather than requiring suspected pirates to be brought to England;
(2) captured pirates were publicly tried and executed;
(3) pirates who turned themselves in were pardoned;
(4) naval patrols were increased;
(5) rewards or bounties were promised for the capture of pirates; and
(6) private ships were licensed to attack and capture pirates.
Of these methods, the last is the most relevant here.

From the paper, Reconsidering the Letter of Marque: Utilizing Private Security Providers Against Piracy, by Theodore Richard.

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Nigerian ex-militant forges security contract
Linked to $103M deal to stop piracy
By Jon Gambrell
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
A former militant leader in Nigeria’s oil-rich southern delta is linked to a private security company that signed a $103 million deal with the government to patrol the West African nation’s waterways to stop piracy, officials have told the Associated Press.
The commander, who was granted amnesty in 2009, endorsed hiring Global West Vessel Specialist Agency Ltd. to protect the waterways, something Nigeria’s navy and civil authorities appear unable to do.
Before the amnesty, men allied with the ex-militant, Government Ekpumopolo, carried out attacks and killings in the southern Niger Delta.

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Nigeria: Threats To Oil In Nigeria And The Role Of Private Security On Land And Sea

Given the region’s location on the Atlantic, allowing direct supplies to the United States without the dangers plaguing Middle Eastern exports, the region is expected to provide the United States with about one-quarter of its crude imports by 2015.
Most of the attacks involve theft, particularly large amounts of oil, rather than hijackings for ransom, the primary tactic used by the Somali pirates.
“Gulf of Guinea attacks have been targeted almost solely against oil- and diesel-carrying vessels,” Oxford Analytica noted in a recent report.
So any serious threat to supplies could have an impact in the United States.

Lately I have been focused on oil related stories. The reason for that is there are a lot of factors in play right now that could severely impact the world oil markets. So it pays to take a look at where we get oil, and the stability of this source.

Also, where there is a security issue and private interests at stake, then usually you will see private security involved in some capacity. From managing a guard force, to security assessments, to protecting assets and individuals, private security is very much involved. Security contractors are extremely important to the world wide effort of securing these oil related efforts, and the world is not getting any safer.

The focus here is on oil imports to the US, and there are a few imports out there that deserve some attention. I focus on the US because I am citizen there, but it is also important to follow what impacts the US because often times news there impacts the rest of the world. For the record, here are our top import sources.

Canada (25%)
Saudi Arabia (12%)
Nigeria (11%)
Venezuela (10%)
Mexico (9%)

Looking at this list, you can see exactly what I am talking about. Saudi Arabia is located in a region that is certainly threatened by the aspect of war and revolution (Iran or Arab Spring comes to mind). We depend on Saudi Arabia’s security apparatus to protect this oil production. Just imagine if Iran bombed refineries there for some kind of retaliatory attack against the west, if Israel bombs Iran? Other import sources would all of sudden become very important.

Or look at Venezuela where the leader there actively promotes his hatred of all things US, and goes out of his way to make partnerships with countries like Iran, just to thumb their nose at the US. Amazing that we are still doing business with this country. But they have oil.

Then look at Mexico with the drug war and constant attacks on their nationalized oil company called Pemex? What would happen if cartels started attacking oil rigs or Pemex as a retaliation against the US drug war effort? Or terrorists targeted these assets as a way of hurting the US?

Luckily imports from Canada are stable and secure, but that is about it. Now let’s put this into perspective. Imagine if any one of these top importers had their oil infrastructure attacked and disrupted by a nation or a group? The shock wave to the world oil markets would be severe, and the pain would definitely be felt economically in the US. That is why I follow this stuff. In my view, the more we can shore up energy independence, the better. But let’s keep this focused on the reality that we have, and not the one we wished we had.

So the importer that I want to focus on today is Nigeria. There are a few things to look at here for system disruptions. The first is piracy. Off the western coast of Africa, things are now getting bad enough to raise some alarms. Lloyds Market Association puts the waterways near Nigeria in the same risk category as Somalia’s.

Lloyd’s Market Association, a London umbrella for a group of insurers, listed Nigeria, Benin and nearby waters in the same risk category as lawless Somalia. That could signal higher insurance rates for shipping, including oil traffic, off West Africa.

Both the coastal region and the deltas/waterways are all hunting grounds of pirates seeking to capture oil tankers or hostages, and there is an upward trend for this activity.

Below, I posted a story that talked about a private public partnership that Nigeria is taking on in order to deal with this issue. The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency has recently contracted with a company called Global West Vessels Specialist Nigeria Limited. Here is the basics of this deal, which is valued at  $103 million.

“What the government has done is simply address issues of maintenance bureaucracy that had crippled the patrol arm of NIMASA. By the partnership agreement NIMASA has asked a private firm to supply patrol boats, surveillance equipment and also maintain them. NIMASA and the NAVY will use these facilities to protect the nation’s maritime domain”, he explained.

 I don’t know anything about this company or public private partnership. So I couldn’t even say if this group is an honest partner in the deal, or if it will be effective. We will see….

The second thing to look at are these militant groups who target the oil as part of their strategy. Groups like MEND did a number on oil infrastructure there. Shell has also invested much into security in order to protect their investments and operations there, and from the sounds of it, MEND is wanting to get back into the game of system disruptions.

You also have the Islamist extremist angle. Boko Haram comes to mind as just such a group that could increase their systems disruption attacks as a strategy to coincide with the increased demand for oil throughout the world. Meaning if the west depends upon the oil coming from Nigeria, then what better way to hurt the west and Nigerian government by attacking the oil. This is not a new idea and I discussed how Al Shabab is targeting western oil interests in Somalia as another example of this kind of thing. (notice that private security is a necessity to counter the threat in both countries)

Finally, I picked up on this little part of an article below and this is interesting to me. Liberia and Sierra Leone could turn into another source of oil. Check it out.

U.S. company Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and oil companies have reported new discoveries off Liberia and Sierra Leone in recent weeks, heightening expectations that the war-scarred region is heading for a major bonanza.

So with that said, will we see Royal Dutch Shell and similar companies respond with setting up security that looks more like a private military force? Will we see a drive to promote armed guards on all boats operating off the west coast of Africa?  Who knows and it is something to watch as events unfold in this region of the world. -Matt

 

 

Nigerian Delta Unrest Cuts Oil Output by 1 Million Barrels
By Elisha Bala-Gbogbo
Mar 5, 2012
Oil production in Nigeria, Africa’s biggest producer, is down by about 1 million barrels a day because of violence and theft in the Niger River delta, according to the state oil company.
Output is yet to be restored at 40 onshore oil fields mostly operated by Hague-based Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA), San Ramon, California-based Chevron Corp. (CVX) and smaller producers more than two years after a government amnesty led to the disarming of thousands of militants and a decline in attacks on oil companies, according to data obtained from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corp.
The “underlying tensions that mark the region were decades in the making and have yet to be resolved,” Antony Goldman, head of PM Consulting, a London-based risk advisory specializing in West Africa, said today in an e-mailed response to questions. “The concern among oil companies is that there is a risk of a slide back to violence if stakeholders do not seize the opportunity presented by the current relative calm to begin to build a better and fairer future for the Niger delta.”

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