GE, Baker Hughes to combine oil, gas businesses

Manufacturing conglomerate General Electric will combine its oil-and-gas business with energy services provider Baker Hughes in a deal that structures the new publicly traded entity as a partnership jointly owned by each company’s shareholders.

The deal comes nearly six months after Baker Hughes’ previous merger agreement with rival Halliburton collapsed following a regulatory fight with the U.S. government.

It also comes as GE seeks to remake itself as a company more narrowly focused on digital technology solutions, having already greatly reduced its GE Capital division and sold its appliance business. GE CEO Jeff Immelt revealed Monday that the company is also in discussion with potential buyers to sell its water products business, with annual earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $250 million to $350 million.

Baker Hughes is still reeling from oil’s devastating slide below $30 per barrel earlier this year — despite a recent recovery to about $50 — which has led companies to seek consolidation opportunities to navigate the rough terrain. Baker Hughes’ revenue through the first nine quarters of 2016 fell 39.8% to $7.4 billion, compared with a year earlier, while its net loss widened from $936 million to $2.3 billion.

GE and Baker Hughes said the new company would have $32 billion in annual revenue and employ about 70,000 people. The companies expect to achieve $1.6 billion in annual “synergies” — which typically include cost cuts and combined purchasing power — by 2020.

The synergies amount to $1.2 billion in costs and $400 million in revenue opportunities, according to a presentation prepared for investors. The companies expect to complete the deal by mid-2017.

GE shareholders will own 62.5% of what the companies called “the new Baker Hughes.” Current shareholders of Baker Hughes will be apportioned 37.5% of the new entity and will receive a one-time special dividend of $17.50 per share.

The dividend payment will cost GE $7.4 billion, but it could be worth it to shed a unit that has dragged down the company in recent quarters. The oil and gas division’s third-quarter revenue slumped 24.7% to $2.96 billion and its operating profit plunged 42.1% to $353 million.


“We’ll have scale, diversification and a great team,” Immelt said on a conference call. “The new company is exceptionally well positioned to serve our customers.”

Baker Hughes shares jumped 8.7% to $64.26 in pre-market trading but the gains didn’t last. Shares dove 6.3% to close at $55.40. GE shares edged 0.4% lower to $29.10.

With operations in more than 120 countries, the combined company will maintain dual headquarters in Houston and London.

Immelt will become chairman of the new company, and GE Oil and Gas CEO Lorenzo Simonelli will retain that title with the combined entity. Baker Hughes’ chairman and CEO, Martin Craighead, will become vice chairman of the new company.

Of the nine board members of the new company, GE will appoint five and Baker Hughes four.

Craighead said the deal is particularly appealing because of the opportunities afforded by GE’s digital capability, including software that enhances data analysis viewed as critical to energy industry’s future.

“We see an opportunity to unleash the power of digitization and data that has long been anticipated in the oil and gas sector,” Craighead told investors.

Still, the combined company may not fare much better if oil prices languish. The commodity’s slide over the last two years has pelted companies across the sector, but Craighead said the new Baker Hughes “will be far more resilient and cycle resistant,” with a presence in upstream, midstream and downstream oil.

Immelt said the deal projects oil prices of $45 to $60 per barrel through 2019, with a steady uptick over that period.

GE’s oil and gas division includes surface wellheads, downhole tools, subsea systems, compressors, turbines, measurement equipment and services. Baker Hughes’ business includes drilling services, oil well construction, completion equipment and reservoir analysis.

The company had agreed in late 2014 to a merger with Halliburton. But they nixed the deal in early May 2016 after the Obama administration filed a lawsuit seeking to block the accord as a violation of anti-trust laws.

Although regulators will need to sign off on the new deal, Simonelli told investors that there’s “minimal overlap” between the two companies and “we feel confident” the deal will clear antitrust scrutiny.

Baker Hughes collected a consolation prize, however: a $3.5 billion breakup fee from Halliburton.

Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Conference and Exhibition 2016


Ofserv Nigeria Limited exhibited at this year’s SPE NAICE Conference and Exhibition held from August 4 to 6 at the Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island Lagos. Our real time Drilling and Production monitoring systems, Measurement / Logging While Drilling services as well as Corrosion and Theft detection technologies were on display.
Representatives from client companies visited the Ofserv booth at the SPE Conference to see live demonstrations of the various monitoring solutions on display. Clients expressed excitement at the demonstrations and stated that the live demos helped them visualize the impact our products would have when deployed on their assets.
Quoting the Ofserv Business Development executive, Mr Soyinka Sowoolu, “ In all, the exhibition provided a platform to showcase our technologies and project ourselves as a front runner in delivering top notch technologies for the optimization of Oil and Gas operations. “
Ofserv customarily had its spinning prize wheel working and attracted over 200 visitors to the booth in the span of the three-day conference.


Ofserv Contributes to Opebi Senior Grammar School’s Valedictory Ceremony

In line with Ofserv’s overall commitment to the development of its surrounding community, it has consistently contributed to improving Education for students of the Opebi Senior Grammar School. Ofserv was invited yet again to officially attend it’s valedictory/award ceremony for the outgoing graduands and shown huge appreciation for its continued support over the years.




Europa League final: Why Liverpool should fear Sevilla

Sevilla players celebrate winning the 2015 Europa League

Sevilla have won the Europa League, previously the Uefa Cup, four times in their past 10 attempts

Liverpool will attempt to secure their first major piece of European silverware for 11 years when they take on Sevilla in the Europa League final in Basel, Switzerland, on Wednesday.

Sevilla finished seventh in Spain’s La Liga, 39 points behind champions Barcelona, yet cannot stop winning in the Europa League and are looking to win the trophy for a fifth time since Liverpool’s Champions League win in 2005 – and the third time in a row.

But who is their main threat? Why are they so good in this competition? Who is the mastermind behind their Europa League success?

Here, we take a look at what awaits Jurgen Klopp’s Reds at St Jakob-Park.

Liverpool v Sevilla Europa league form this season graphic
Sevilla started this season in the Champions League so have only played eight games in this season’s Europa League, compared with Liverpool’s 14

Europa kings

Sevilla earned a place in this season’s Champions League group stage with a successful defence of their 2014 Europa League triumph – one that ended with a thrilling 3-2 victory over Ukrainian side Dnipro in Warsaw, Poland 12 months ago.

A 3-0 win over Borussia Monchengladbach suggested Los Sevillistas could make an impression and advance to the knockout stages of Europe’s elite competition.

It wasn’t to be, however, as four straight defeats saw them eliminated from Group D, which also contained Manchester City and Juventus, although the third-placed did send them back in their favourite tournament.


Sevilla’s Europa League love affair
2006: Final v Middlesbrough won 4-0 in Eindhoven
2007: Final v Espanyol won 3-1 on penalties (2-2 after extra time) in Glasgow
2014: Final v Benfica won 4-2 on penalties (0-0 after extra time) in Turin
2015: Final v Dnipro won 3-2 in Warsaw


Sevilla have owned the Europa League in recent years, with their back-to-back triumphs in the past two seasons following in the footsteps of consecutive wins in 2006 and 2007.

“Everyone connected with Sevilla thoroughly enjoys taking part in this competition, and I’ve always encouraged everyone to approach it with the passion it deserves,” said boss Unai Emery.

Since their first European triumph in 2006, Sevilla have also won the domestic Copa del Rey twice, and will have another chance to lift that trophy when theyface Barcelona in the final at Atletico Madrid’s Vicente Calderon on 22 May.

That’s no accident because Sevilla have fielded some fabulous players in the past decade, including Barcelona pair Dani Alves and Ivan Rakitic, as well as prolific strikers in their prime such as Luis Fabiano, Frederic Kanoute, Alvaro Negredo and Carlos Bacca.

The club’s sporting director Monchi has been showered with praise for his ability to repeatedly build high-quality squads packed with ambitious players who are on an upward curve – and the silverware has been fully deserved.

The goal threat

Last season it was Carlos Bacca who was Sevilla’s main goal threat. The 29-year-old Colombia international’s departure to AC Milan has seen Kevin Gameiro step up to become the forward the opposition fear most.

Half of Sevilla’s 14 Europa League goals this season have come from the former Paris St-Germain player, who has proved influential since moving to Spain three years ago.

The 29-year-old France international marked his first season in La Liga with 15 goals and has followed it up with another 24 since.

Gameiro’s goalscoring form is excellent, but his biggest asset to the team is his insatiable work rate – and it makes him the kind of player who is a real pain for defenders.

Though he is not particularly physically imposing, Gameiro is fast, strong, has great balance, shows intelligent movement and never stops running. He also has the happy goalscorer’s instinct of finding space inside a congested penalty area.

Daniel Sturridge v Kevin Gameiro graphic
Kevin Gameiro’s Europa League statistics this season are impressive – seven goals in eight appearances. Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge, who has fewer minutes on the pitch, has two goals in seven appearances

Considering the form he has showed this season and the controversial omission of Karim Benzema, it is somewhat surprising that Gameiro has beenFrance squad for their home European Championship this summer.

But it could still be a busy summer for Gameiro because he has been heavily linked with a move to Barcelona, who are looking for an experienced striker to offer cover and competition for Luis Suarez.

“He has a fantastic turn of pace to get away from players and he’s very good at getting shots away quickly – a really sharp finisher,” said Emery.

“He puts the first line of pressure on the opposition, with his speed and ability in transitions. That’s very positive for the team.”

The boss

Emery does not always get the credit he deserves. He really should be regarded as an elite manager considering the success he has enjoyed throughout his career.

After starting out by leading lowly Lorca and Almeria to promotion, he guided cash-strapped Valencia to three consecutive third-place finishes in La Liga – and the scale of that achievement is underlined by how much they have struggled since he departed in 2012.

The 44-year-old Spaniard then had a brief and unsuccessful stint with Spartak Moscow before returning to Spain with Sevilla, where he has kept the team in the top half of the league as well as masterminding their cup successes.

Sevilla boss Unai Emery
Unai Emery spent most of his playing career in Spain’s second tier before being forced to retire at the age of 32 because of a knee injury

He was strongly tipped to move to AC Milan last summer before eventually rejecting the Italian giants – but his work with the Andalusians will surely earn him more big-name suitors before long.

While he was at Valencia, Emery worked with Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata before the player moved to Chelsea in August 2011, as well as David Silva, now at Manchester City.

West Ham reportedly wanted Emery before Slaven Bilic was appointed, while Everton have also been linked with the former midfielder since Roberto Martinez was sacked.

Emery is an expert video editor as well as a football obsessive and does not employ a video analyst. Instead he edits footage of his side’s opponents himself.

Sevilla’s Europa League record over past three seasons
Season Played Won Drawn Lost For Against
2015/16 8 4 2 2 14 7
2014/15 15 11 3 1 29 14
2013/14 15 7 5 3 22 14
TOTAL 38 22 10 6 65 35

Big game specialists

Sevilla have endured a fairly disappointing season in La Liga to finish seventh, but that’s mainly because they have suffered a series of disappointing results against lower-ranked opposition.

In the big games they have been excellent, beating Barcelona,Real Madridand fourth-placed Villarreal at home – and they also defeated Juventus in the Champions League group stage on their own turf.

Their route to the final has included impressive wins over La Liga rivals Athletic Bilbao and Shakhtar Donetsk.

Europa League 2015/16 – leading scorers
Aritz Aduriz Athletic Bilbao 10
Cedric Bakambu Villarreal 9
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Borussia Dortmund 8
Kevin Gameiro Sevilla 7

However, Liverpool will be encouraged by Sevilla’s poor form away from their Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan home.

They were the only team in La Liga not to win on their travels in 2015-16, while their away success in the Europa League was a 2-1 victory in Bilbao.

Strong midfield

Emery and his highly regarded sporting director Monchi have built an extremely strong squad with plenty of depth, and that is particularly the case in midfield where a wide range of options are available to support Gameiro.

Perhaps the most important player is the talented Argentina international Ever Banega, who is enjoying a real renaissance after being rescued from a frustrating spell at Valencia when he joined Sevilla two years ago.

How Liverpool and Sevilla got to the Europa League final

With Banega pulling the strings, attacking penetration is offered by former Arsenal man Jose Antonio Reyes, Spain international Vitolo, the versatile Vicente Iborra and gifted Ukraine winger Yevhen Konoplyanka.

Although he often only appears from the bench, the ace in the pack could prove to be Konoplyanka, who is Sevilla’s most naturally talented player. His ability to cut in from the left wing to shoot, or deliver dangerous balls into the box from either flank, makes him a real potential match winner.

There is another familiar name in the shape of Steven Nzonzi, the former Blackburn Rovers and Stoke City midfielder.

The 27-year-old Frenchman has been a regular starter during Sevilla’s Europa League campaign – despite being sent off three times this season.

Breaking News: Court stops NLC, TUC from embarking on strike

By Ikechukwu Nnochiri


ABUJA – The National Industrial Court, NIC, sitting in Abuja has stopped the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, and the Trade Union Congress, TUC, from embarking on a strike action tomorrow.

The labour unions had in a communique they issued at the end of an emergency meeting the held on Saturday, vowed to embark on a nationwide industrial action should the federal government refuse to reverse the sudden hike in the price of fuel.

However, in a ruling on Tuesday, the NIC President, Justice Babatunde Adejumo, restrained the labour unions from going on strike, pending the determination of a suit the federal government lodged before it.

Justice Adejumo further ordered all the parties to maintain status quo until the legal dispute is settled.

The order followed an ex-parte application that was filed by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN.

Determined to abort the planned strike action, the AGF approached the NIC, begging it to restrain the labour unions from “shutting down the nation”.

Placing reliance on section 14 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, FG, insisted that it would not be “in the national interest” for the NLC and TUC to proceed on nationwide strike over the fuel price increase.

Malami, SAN, argued that ‎no amount of damages could serve as compensation if the labour unions are allowed to shut down the economy.

Contending that the balance of convenience was in favour of the government, the AGF, prayed the court to determine “Whether the respondents (NLC, Trade Union Congress) have complied with the laid down condition precedent for embarking on strike‎”.

As well as, “Whether indeed there exist in law and in fact the basis of which the respondents’ total closure of the economy can be justified”.

He told the court that the respondents met on Saturday and issued a communique wherein it gave government a three-day ultimatum to reverse the decision increasing fuel price.

He said the respondents, aside threatening to shut down the country if government failed to reverse the fuel price increase, equally threatened to close down all government offices, seaport, airports and markets.

The AGF argued that ordinary and law abiding citizens would be subjected to hardship if the respondents were allowed to go ahead with their threat.

He said the government was left with no alternative but to seek the intervention of the court.

Besides, Malami told the court that he got notice of the communique on Sunday and quickly filed an originating summons, a motion on notice and an ex-parte application to determine whether NLC’s decision was justifi‎ed in the circumstance.

He insisted that “great and irreparable damage” would be done against the nation and “ordinary and law abiding citizens”, should the court refuse the ex-parte application.

Meanwhile, though neither NLC nor TUC was represented in court, Justice Adejumo granted the ex-parte motion, even as he ordered the service of all the relevant court processes on the respondents.

The restraining order against the respondents will elapse after seven days.



The Dangote Farms Tomato Processing Factory announced that it has halted operations in its $20 million tomato paste facility due to a scarcity of tomatoes, barely two months after beginning operations. This announcement comes as a surprise to many that believed Dangote was the reason for the tomatoes shortage plaguing Nigeria. The tomato plant was anticipated to help reduce wastage of the fruit in the country and to also minimise the amount of imported tomato pastes in the Nigerian market. According to Nigeria’s Ministry of Agriculture, Nigeria produces about 1.5 million tons of tomatoes a year, but over 900,000 tons is lost to rot.

Nigerians have been severely affected by the scarcity of tomatoes, which is a key ingredient in most of the delicacies prepared in this part of the continent. The price of the fruit has increased by 400 percent; Nigerians now pay around 200 Naira for the same quantity of tomatoes which was sold at 50 Naira few months ago. But while there have been different rumours concerning the tomato scarcity, the real reason for the scarcity is a devastating pest attack which has affected this year’s harvest. A pest known as Tuta absoluta has reportedly affected tomato farms in Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina  and Plateau states.


Tuta 1
Tuta absoluta attack


Tuta absoluta is also known by the common name tomato leafminer or the South American tomato moth and has been spreading rapidly across the world from South America, where it was first discovered. It has the ability to destroy a whole tomato farm within 48 hours and is also very difficult to control as it has a high mutation capacity with the ability to develop a resistance to insecticides. Around this time last year, farmers in some parts of Nigeria recorded losses as a result of this same pest attack but the consequences of this attack weren’t reflected in the price of the commodity because the demand for the crop wasn’t as high as it is now.

If the Nigerian government does not treat this as a matter of urgency it can take years to recover from the attack. It took Sudan about three years to recover from a similar attack in 2010. This plague could also dampen the export of fruits and vegetables.

Quick facts about the tomatoes industry in Nigeria

  • Nigeria is the 14th largest producer of tomatoes in the world.
  • It is the largest producer of tomatoes in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • It is the eighth largest importer of tomato paste in the world after Iraq and Japan.
  • The country has a significant demand for processed tomatoes but almost half of the tomato pastes found in its markets have been imported from China and Italy.
  • Last year, the Director General and CEO of the Raw Material and Research and Development Council (RMRDC), Dr. Hussaini Ibrahim, revealed that Nigeria spends about $1.5 billion annually on tomato product-importation from China and other parts of the world.
  • Erisco tomato paste known as Nagiko is the first tomato paste to be made in Nigeria.