Tuesday, December 26, 2006

'Hundreds' Of Bodies In Lagos After Latest Gas Line Explosion

A huge gasoline pipeline explosion in Nigeria's unofficial capital city, Lagos, came hours after people started collecting gas from a rupture in the line that later exploded.

Despite its immense wealth in oil and gasoline resources, Nigeria has been experiencing chronic shortages of both as those resources are exploited by mostly foreign oil companies and Nigerian politicians.

It remains one of the few countries in the world where tens of thousands of people often risk their lives to get a few quarts of gas.

Today's tragedy is yet another failure of the Nigerian government to recognize and correct its official greed and to start sharing its natural resource income with ordinary Nigerians. By all indications, it will not be the last - if the government last that long.

"Hundreds of mangled bodies" fused with one another in a grisly heap were visible in the flames, observers reported. There is no indication of when the fire will be controlled.

Here is the awful story:

Pipeline Explosion in Nigeria Kills More Than 200

Published: December 26, 2006
Filed at 7:57 a.m. ET

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) -- At least 200 people were killed Tuesday when a gasoline pipeline exploded in Nigeria's biggest city of Lagos, a Red Cross official said. The death toll was expected to rise.

Ige Oladimeji, a senior official for the Nigerian Red Cross, said his workers had documented "over 200 and still counting."

"We can only recognize them through the skulls, the bodies are scattered over the ground," he said. Workers "can't get close enough because the fire is still burning."

Witnesses said the pipeline ruptured shortly after midnight and that people had been collecting leaking fuel in plastic cans for hours before the explosion. It wasn't clear what caused the initial rupture in the pipeline or the later explosion.

Hundreds of bodies could be seen jumbled and fused together in the raging flames at the blast site. Intense heat kept rescue workers back as smoke billowed over the heavily populated Adule Egba neighborhood.

The blast shook the neighborhood after dawn, Nigerian Red Cross spokesman Umar Mairiga said. He said 16 bodies had been taken to the morgue, but raging fires were hindering further recovery. Many people had been injured, he said.

Nigerians often tap into pipelines carrying refined fuel, scooping up the raw product in buckets or plastic bags. Spilled fuel spreading in pools sometimes ignites, immolating people nearby.

In May, more than 150 people died in a similar explosion in Lagos.

Nigeria is Africa's largest oil producer, but corruption, poor management and limited refining capacity often leave the country short of fuel for vehicles and stoves.

Shortages in recent days have prompted hours-long lines at Lagos filling stations.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

ERHC's Search For New Chief Tech Officer Is Over

ERHC Energy's long search for a replacement for its former Chief Technical Officer - a demanding post now that there are actually rights to explore and immense challenges ahead in exploring them - has ended with the selection of former Aramco technology coordinator James Ledbetter, the company announced in a press release issues just after the market closed Tuesday.

Update, 5:30pm EST, 12/20/06: The good news lifted ERHE shares 9.5 percent by Wedbesday's close to $0.46 Bis and ).47 Ask on double our average volume - more than 1.5 million shares. The stock hit $0.50 for the second time during trading, as we predicted it would back on November 4.

Here is the release, courtesty of publicist Dan Keeney:


ERHC Energy Inc. Appoints Vice President Technical

HOUSTON, December 19, 2006 – ERHC Energy Inc. (OTCBB: ERHE), an independent oil and gas company with assets in the Gulf of Guinea, has announced the appointment of James Ledbetter to the position of Vice President Technical. Mr. Ledbetter begins his duties with ERHC Energy immediately.

Mr. Ledbetter brings more than 25 years experience in exploration and production projects to ERHC Energy. He has an international background, having worked on projects in more than 20 countries, including work in Australia, Europe, the Middle East, North and South America, and the Pacific Rim.

In addition to managing the Company’s relationships with consortium partners and various regulatory agencies in this new position, it is expected Mr. Ledbetter will play a key role in helping ERHC Energy expand its asset base and diversify beyond the Joint Development Zone.

“We are very pleased to have James join us and anticipate he will be pivotal in implementing a focused acquisition strategy that targets a credible portfolio of low- to medium-risk properties,” said Sir Emeka Offor, chairman of ERHC Energy’s Board of Directors. “We sought a person who could help to identify, acquire and manage prospects in which we discern a competitive advantage, and I believe James has the right background for the job. The Board’s goal is to build a significant revenue base that will have a positive impact on ERHC’s profitability for the benefit of its shareholders.”

Most recently, Mr. Ledbetter served as a technology coordinator for Saudi Aramco’s Research & Technology Division, where he coordinated more than 200 technology initiatives. Prior to that, he developed and evaluated the worldwide exploration portfolio for Occidental Oil & Gas Corporation as its chief of strategic planning & economics, worldwide exploration.

Prior thereto, Mr. Ledbetter worked for International Economic & Engineering Consultants, Inc., Kuwait Foreign Petroleum Exploration Company, Capitol Steel & Iron Company, Kerr-McGee Corporation and Cities Service Company.

“As operations are initiated in the Joint Development Zone (JDZ), the depth of experience and international perspective that James offers will be very valuable for ERHC Energy,” said Nicolae Luca, acting chief executive officer for ERHC Energy. “We are very pleased to welcome James onto our management team and look forward to his contribution to the exploration and exploitation of ERHC Energy’s rights.”

ERHC Energy holds exploration rights in six JDZ blocks, consisting of a 22 percent participating interest in JDZ Block 2, a 10 percent participating interest in JDZ Block 3, a 17.7 percent participating interest in JDZ Block 4, and a 15 percent working interest in JDZ Blocks 5, 6 and 9. Additionally, subject to certain restrictions, ERHC holds the right to receive up to two blocks of ERHC’s choice in Sao Tome’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and holds the option to acquire up to 15 percent paid working interest in up to two additional blocks of ERHC’s choice in the EEZ.

Mr. Ledbetter earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Tulsa.

Monday, December 18, 2006

More Fallout Over Starcrest/Addax Deal Touches Chukwueke

Tony Chukwueke, the former Chrome executive and close associate of ERHC Energy chairman Sir Emeka Offor, may be at the center of a new firestorm following his ouster as the head of the Petroleum Ministry last week. A report in an industry intelligence journal, Petroleum Africa, says Chukwueke is being seconded to the Dept. of Petroleum Resources, a former berth, to find out why billions of past-due payments due for non-JDZ blocks awarded in 2005 and 2006 have apparently not been made.

At another angle, however, the story appears to be yet another effort by majors working through Petroleum Africa to indict Offor, a Nigerian billionaire who has been decidedly unpopular with ExxonMobil, Chevron and Anadarko ever since he won a substantial cluster of rights concessions in the JDZ in open bidding last winter and then walked away with choice rights in OPL 291, outside the zone (see my December 1, 2006 post).

In fact, since the story is unsourced - as was the Barry Morgan story in UpstreamOnline that hinted at the same scandal - it is likely that someone from the majors' back office is peddling the story to a variety of publications. There is no indication that doing so has made the least bit of difference, however.

Here's the latest unsourced hit piece:

Nigeria’s DPR in $2.7 Billion Oil Scandal
© Petroleum Africa. All rights reserved.


Petroleum Africa has learned through inside sources that a scandal is about to break in Nigeria’s petroleum industry in regard to $2.7 billion in oil revenue that has yet to be collected from the 2005/2006 bid rounds.

Apparently a special meeting of high level government officials was called last Friday that included President Olusegun Obasanjo, Petroleum Resources Minister Dr. Edmond Daukoru, and Tony Chukwueke, the former head of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR). At the meeting Obasanjo was informed that many of the 2005/2006 bid round winners had not yet made payments for their respective blocks; 25 oil blocks were awarded in the 2005 round and 13 in the 2006 mini bid round.

The shocked president directed high-level officials at the meeting to set up a committee to look into the extent of default, and other problems associated with the bid rounds.

An excited Obasanjo gave both Daukoru and Chukwueke a firm directive to recover the money. “Where is my money, where is my money? You have to pay this money. It was in the budget and people are watching,” a panicked Obasanjo reportedly said.

Last month Chukwueke was re-assigned to the Petroleum Ministry over what was commonly believed to be related to the Starcrest/Addax deal for OPL 291. Earlier speculation had it that Chukwueke was to be reinstated, but at this time it does not appear a full re-instatement to DPR is likely for Chukwueke, but rather a return to the DPR to get the accounts in order, so to speak. He will be working with the Acting Director of DPR, Mrs. Chioma Njoku, while he carries out the President’s directive.

Our source postulated: “Industry watchers are beginning to wonder if Chukwueke’s removal last month from the DPR was solely as a result of the controversial Addax/ Starcrest $35m deal on OPL 291, or it is a case of a Pandora’s Box about to be blown open?”

Friday, December 15, 2006

Upstream's Barry Morgan Floats Buy-In Rumor

Barry Morgan, the veteran industry reporter whose hit-or-miss record on ERHC stories is passable but not high, ran another one up the flagpole Thursday night suggesting that a Dubai company called Millennium - where former ERHC CEO Walter Brandhuber is charged with building Millennium's energy portfolio - is interested in "a stake" in the rights that might be acquired by buying some of Chairman Sir Emeka Offor's 300 million shares.

The story offers no supporting information at all, so you have to take it with a grain of (sea) salt. Admittedly, there's been a lot of talk - almost exclusively confined to one Investor's Hub message board - about buy-ins and buy-outs as investors drove the share price up $0.12 on rumors several weeks ago. Nothing came of those rumors, which were similar in most respect to today's, other than some of the smarter players pocketing bundles of cash on the sale of their multimillion-share hoards.

That's a common ploy with the group of players that dominate the board and drive out unbelievers who may demur. Its moderator is a woman who has been ERHC co-founder Phil Nugent's Houston CPA for decades, and it's hard to imagine any rockets getting launched over there without his matches.

If it is more than a plan to snatch your Christmas money, it has eluded our sources. We continue to urge caution, at least until the SEC and FBI wind up their probes.

Here is Barry Morgan's article:

Players in chase for JDZ stake

By Upstream staff

An unidentified US oil player is said tro be among an assortment of investors trying to enter the Nigeria&Sao Tome Joint Development Zone in the Gulf of Guinea by acquiring the shares of Emeka Offor, the Nigerian chairman of Colorado-registered ERHC Energy, writes Barry Morgan.
ERHC holds substantial equity in the play, including preferential rights to blocks 2, 3 and 4 alongside operators Sinopec, Anadarko and Addax Petroleum.

The financial manoeuvre is being undertaken through the Dubai-based Millennium Finance Corporation, where former ERHC chief executive Walter Brandhuber is now fund manager with a brief to build up the energy portfolio.

Investors and Millennium Finance may be angling to take a stake in ERHC, drawn from stock sold by Emeka Offor, the company's largest single shareholder, who is in talks to offload at least half his 43% equity in ERHC.

Offor is facing legal threats by shareholders preparing individual and class-action lawsuits.

Their complaints range from compensation for unpaid fees to the alleged usurpation of corporate opportunity arising from a deal he struck with Addax Petroleum for deep-water acreage through Nigerian independent Starcrest Energy, another company he controls.

ERHC Narrows Loss In 2rd Quarter

A press release form ERHC Energy says that the company narrowed its losses in the 3rd Quarter of 2006 ended Sept. 30, and that year-to-year expenses are also sharply down.

The release follows a November update from CEO Nicolae Luca telling investors that despite the company's cooperation with probes mounted by the FBI and SEC, those continue to eat away at resources better used in developimng its Gulf of Guineau rights.

The Luca shareholder letter last week said the company is looking to exploit opportunities in the GoG as its steers toward budget decisions for its drilling program in 2007. He repeated that theme in Thursday's release.

"Though our successes were overshadowed at times by various challenges, this has been a year in which we made significant strides toward exploiting our assets in the JDZ," Luca said.

Shares on the Pink Sheets lagged yet another day on Thursday, with just over 409,000 traded in a range of $0.40 to $0.42. ERHE closed in the black on a gain of one cent to $0.42.

Here is the press release, courtesy of ERHC publicist Dan Keeney of Houston:


ERHC Energy Inc. Reports Fourth Quarter and
Year End Financial Results

HOUSTON, December 14, 2006 – ERHC Energy Inc. (OTCBB: ERHE), an independent oil and gas company with assets in the Gulf of Guinea, today announced its results for the fourth quarter and year ended September 30, 2006.

As of September 30, 2006, ERHC reported cash assets totaling $41 million.

During the three months ended September 30, 2006, ERHC had a net loss of $1,039.670, compared to a net loss of $2,786,906 for the three months ended September 30, 2005. General and administrative expenses during the fourth quarter totaled $1,569,158, a reduction of $1.2 million compared to the same period a year earlier.

For the fiscal year ended September 30, 2006, ERHC had net income of $23.2 million, compared with a net loss of $11.3 million for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2005. The improvement in net income was the result primarily of a $30.1 million net gain from sale of participating interests in Blocks 2, 3 and 4 of the Joint Development Zone (JDZ) and a conversion of $5.7 million in debt to common stock and income tax expenses. For the year, general and administrative expenses were up 29 percent over fiscal year 2005, mostly due to an increase in legal costs.

“Though our successes were overshadowed at times by various challenges, this has been a year in which we made significant strides toward exploiting our assets in the JDZ,” said Nicolae Luca, acting chief executive officer. “With a solid financial position and strong relationships with strategic partners Addax Petroleum and Sinopec, we believe that we are positioned well for the coming year.”

ERHC Energy holds exploration rights in six JDZ blocks, consisting of a 22 percent participating interest in JDZ Block 2, a 10 percent participating interest in JDZ Block 3, a 17.7 percent participating interest in JDZ Block 4, and a 15 percent working interest in JDZ Blocks 5, 6 and 9.

Monday, December 04, 2006

ERHC Shares Up 38.89 % On No News; Beware Of Buyout Scenario

Shares of ERHC Energy have rocketed upward on stronger-than usual volume from the opening bell this morning, possibly in anticipation of the announcement I said on Friday that coukld come from the Justice Dept., SEC or the company regarding its issues under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

What some investors are being told, however, through the made-up entity "S. Freed" on the subscriber-based, pumpers-only Elephant Fields board, is that Sir Emeka Offor has decided to sell 20 percent of the company for somewhere in the range of $2 per share. This hidden-source rocketry may cost some investors dearly, as the information is almost certainly false, I believe, and their willingness to buy in anticipation of such a deal will be used to clean them out once again.

With the share price at 3:12pm standing $0.50 - now up $0.14, or 38.89 percent, the real certainty to me is that the Justice Dept. has, as we have said all along, found no evidence of wrongdoing by ERHC Energy and will not seek an indictment.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Upstream Article Roils Waters; Some Investors Wary, But Deal Holds Promise

An article in UpstreamOnline that talks about a complex deal involving a company called Starcrest and ERHC Energy and the dilution of ERHE shares has left investors in an uproar - most of them angry at Upstream for what they say is an unfounded new attack on the company.

As we said in our last post, the company was due a $0.05 share price hike after good news on drilling rigs and schedules leaked from the Nigeria-Sao Tome and Principe and Joint Development Authority. The new revelation set off a small wave of selling this morning at the bell, though, with 28,000 shares trading before a buy was made and the price falling from the opening Bid of $0.385 and Offer of $0.39 to $0.365 and $0.375 at 10:08am EST, respectively. Trading is light. Note: We had mentioned a downside in our last column, too.

The article was written by Barry Morgan, who has written frequently about the company in the past. While he is often praised, yesterday's missive - or missile, more like it - detonated a growing stockpile of anger among shareholders who have seen their investment languish for endless months of low volume as the company awaits the next step by the SEC and the Justice Dept. in the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act probe of the company that began last April.

The problem, in short, is that the aticle says ERHC Energy CEO Sir Emeka Offor owns both companies, and by issuing new ERHE shares to acquire all of Starcrest he would then reap those shares, as well, increasing his stake in ERHE from 43 percent to 70 percent.

The deal as outlined is a stroke of genius that may leave his critics awed yet angrier than ever. The prospects of OPL 291 are the caveat in any criticism, though. If ERHC Energy ends up as owner of Starcrest and its rights in OPL 291, and the block as expected pays off in a big strike, the company's fortunes could again soar overnight. The dilution issue would evaporate in that case.

The positive side of the article is that Offor is not sitting on his thumbs while the majors mount their political attacks through the U.S. Justice Deopt. and SEC; instead, he is seeing opportunities and taking them, appearances be damned. That is how billionaires are made.

Here is the article:

Nigeria defiant over its awards Ministry says round followed 'routine practice' but potential future bidders stay wary

By Upstream staff

THE Nigerian Ministry of Petroleum has defended the way it awarded deep-water blocks outside of procedures dictated for last May's mini-round, suggesting "routine oil industry practice" was followed.

Majors bidding for the blocks remain unconvinced, clouding plans to hold another licensing exercise before the end of the year.

The acquisition by Addax Petroleum of Nigerian independent Starcrest's interest in OPL 291 was defended as "in line with the open and transparent bidding for acreage allocation in the 2005 round", according to ministry spokesman Peter Ogbonnaya. The same process will be adopted in future rounds, he said.

Minister of State for Petroleum Edmund Daukoru insisted Starcrest, in partnership with Taiwan's Chinese Petroleum Corporation, qualified to participate in the mini-round, winning OPLs 226 and 294 while Transcorp won OPLs 281 and 295.

India's Oil & Natural Gas Corporation/Mittal Energy tie-up won right of first refusal to OPL 291 but did not submit any bid, leaving the acreage stranded, Daukoru said.

This justified a request by both Transcorp and Starcrest/CPC to swap their own blocks for OPL 291, but Transcorp failed to pay the signature bonus, leaving the way clear for Starcrest/CPC to find $55 million and secure the block.

When CPC withdrew, Starcrest applied to replace its operating partner with Addax. Daukoru's explanation has left industry observers wondering why, if everything was above board, the director of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) Tony Chukwueke was forced out of his job so abruptly two weeks ago.

Neither Transcorp nor Starcrest indicated interest in OPL 291 at the time, nor did they later apply on the floor of the conference to swap their own blocks for the acreage, said a senior executive present during proceedings.

Both companies are alleged to be associated with close business allies of the presidency and to have benefited from secret post-bidding manoeuvres, unwitnessed by other participants.

Faith in the ability of Abuja to conduct fair and open tendering before next April's elections has collapsed, as has morale at the DPR.

Junior assistant director of finance Chioma Njoku has been appointed acting director of the DPR, over the heads of more senior directors such as veteran upstream petrocrats Billy Agha and Olutoye Ibikunle who were deemed to be too close to Chukwueke.

Starcrest is owned by Ibo business magnate Emeka Offor and is under investigation by Abuja's Economic & Financial Crimes Commission.

Starcrest tried its luck with Sinopec after the deal with CPC fell through but the Beijing giant was unhappy with the tight time frame for concluding an agreement on OPL 294.

Addax persuaded Starcrest to instead pursue OPL 291 and in partnership with Starcrest managed to secure terms from the DPR exactly similar to the deal Addax had earlier signed with ERHC Energy in the Joint Development Zone.

At least 43% of ERHC equity is also owned by Offor, who has angled to acquire Starcrest by issuing additional ERHC shares - a move that at one fell swoop would land him about 70% of ERHC stock in the most prospective frontier oil province in west Africa. Minnow ERHC enjoys a key position with Addax in JDZ blocks 2, 3 and 4.

Offor also came under fire this week from Colorado-registered ERHC shareholders for appearing to commit a breach of fiduciary duty by diverting a commercial opportunity for his own benefit, preferring to press the interests of Starcrest rather than ERHC in Nigeria's Exclusive Economic Zone.

Burgeoning disquiet among ERHC shareholders may yet result in a class action derivative lawsuit under US federal jurisdiction designed to prompt Offor to revaluate his acquisition strategy in the Gulf of Guinea.

A spotlight thrown on the world of Nigerian licence allocations at this juncture could dissolve all confidence in the country's upstream policy until a new administration takes charge next May.
01 December 2006 00:01 GMT | last updated: 01 December 2006 00:01 GMT.

What is fascinaing is how incredibly agile Mr. Offor is when it comes to making deals. He had set his eye on two other non-JDZ blocks and won them, but was apparently persuaded by his JDZ partners at Addax to swap them for OPL 291 instead. The winning bid for OPL 291 was from India's ONGC, another crafty player, but ONGC couldn't pay the hefty $55 million licensing fee.
Starcrest's original partner in the bid for the two other blocks (collateral for the swap), Chinese Petroleum Corp., dropped out, and Offor tried to link with Sinopec, a government-owned Chinese company, but it couldn't make a quick decision and Offor replaced them with Addax. With Addax, he got the identical good deal he got from the Swiss driller in their JDZ partnership.

Once again, as other companies faltered, Offor seized the day and came out on top.

That has always been the pattern: In Blocks 2 and 3, he replaced Pioneer and Devon with Sinopec and Addax in a heartbeat, just as he'd earlier replaced Noble Energy with Addax in Block 4. The process, from the outside, looked seamless and brilliant; investors shocked by the Noble defection sold out, and the ERHE share price shot up almost instantly; the same occurred in Blocks 2 and 3, with sharp price drops followed by sharp rises when the malefactors were replaced.

But is that in the cards today and tomorrow?

We're dealing, if you'll permit me to abuse the paradigm of myth, with a many-footed Hydra, and there are thus more than two shoes that may fall. My suspicion is that an announcement on the SEC and Justice Dept. probes is near, perhaps within a business day or two. I expect it to be a positive announcement, but I am not urging investors to bet that I am right. To me, the place to be right now is on the sidelines, watching a fabulous football game in which all the players but one wear sunglasses. If the ball disappears in the sun, he's fried; if the skies cloud over, they are blind.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Mark St. Amour Offers Upbeat News From Nigeria

It hasn't lifted ERHE's share price yet - we've fallen to $0.32, where texasspeculatior entered four years ago, he said - but Mark. St. Amour revived investors' spirits today with the news of an upcoming Nigeria-Sao Tome and Principe Joint Development Authority meeting in mid-December to finalize operating budgets proposed by concessionaires in the Joint Development Zone.

Those ought to reflect a drilling cost for operations that Mark believes (too optimistically, I think) will begin in February or March. ERHC Energy's partner, Addax Petroleum, had "conservatively" forecast a 2008 start in our Blocks 2, 3 and 4, Mark's JDZ source told him, and a Summer 2007 start appears more likely, the source said. Mark's post also carries hints that drilling rigs may be available earlier, and if that is the case, it ought to provide at least a five-cent boost to the current $0.32 share price.

There is a downside to this news, though. That is that we seem to be headed for a return to the $0.28 - $0.295 level where I purchased about 90,000 new shares in December 2005. I would like to see that entry point again, and despite Mark's good news, I think we will. The other shoe has yet to fall - i.e., we do not know with certainty whether there will be an indictment in the FCPA probe - and that has a powerful depressant effect on our share price. In my dreams, I can even imagine a momentary opportunity as low as $0.22.>br>
The important thing about Mark's post is that it brings not only optimism but some (albeit vague) factual data to answer our queastions, and that has been lacking from the mix for a rather long time. Good work, Mark.

Here's his post, straight from Nashville:

Sorry this took so long. Looks to be well worth the wait. I had questioned/doubted Spec29's BD rig rumor but looks like he may be correct.

I spoke with my JDA source. He said all block consortia are meeting next week and week after (next 10-15 days) to finalize 2007 Budgets. I asked him about drilling and he commented drilling will begin in 2007 (Blocks 2,3,4). I asked him how certain he was of this and asked him if this was just hopeful thinking. He basically stopped me in my tracks and said he was 100% certain drilling would begin in 2007. This also includes CVX drilling another well in Block 1 in 2007. His point was that the operators have a lot of pressure to meet their minimum commitments for drilling. I pointed out that Addax has been saying 2008 for start of drilling. He pointed out they have to be very conservative in their comments/presentations, which makes perfect sense. Addax did say however that if a "rig of opportunity" became available it could be 2007. I asked about timeline (1st,2nd,3rd,4th QTR 2007?). He said he could not be specific but he was certain drilling would begin in 2007 and very likely first 1/2 of 2007. He told me to call back in mid-Dec after meetings have been concluded and he will be able to give me specifics. It was very interesting he mentioned the BD Rig that Spec29 has been talking about. I asked where he heard this info and he told me he heard from people very close to the companies. He said he was hearing the same thing about BD drilling early 2007 but would not comment on Exact date or which block. He says this has to be "formally submitted" before he can further comment on this. This should all happen within next 10-15 days.

Ok, now all the bashers can come out and say I am lying. What you can do is call for yourself. The numbers are on the JDA website. Also, I asked my JDA source numerous times how certain he was of drilling in 2007. Almost to the point of being offensive. He was adamant that drilling will begin in 2007. In his tone he acted as if it was almost common knowledge and that I should have already known this.

IMO, I think we see drilling in JDZ Feb-March. Just my opinion based on my call and other sources.

Sorry if this update seems a little hard to follow. I am busy with work and have to hop back to it.

Take my posts for what they are worth. Better yet do your due diligence. Long and Strong ERHE.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

ERHC Disappoints, But VION Pick Soars

I guess I have the right to brag a little about this column's recommendation of VION, a small pharmaceutical company whose stock a few months ago had fallen to a very affordable $1.01. I told folks I thought it was a great price, and bought 4,800 shares myself. In the lamented good ol' days, I might have plunged for a bigger chunk, as I felt strongly about it, but alas, my foolish dalliance with high-intensity day-trading - I spent $5,000,000 in March alone - cost me dearly.

Well, my financial ship has righted, but I made the mistake of selling the Vion around $1.09 to help a friend save his store on his promise to pay me back the following week. I should have known better, but I didn't want him to lose his store, and he and his wife are personal friends, but the repayment has stretched now to more than three months and he still owes me all but $700 of the entire principal, and I probably will have to go to court.
VION, in the meantime, has climbed to $1.84, although it's fallen back to $1.78 this morning. I think it has a little ways to go, though. That 84 percent profit is the kind of money we ought to have been enjoying in our investment in ERHC Energy, and while that will probably come, we have waited a very, very long time. This was Chevron and Exxon Mobil's design, I believe, when as I also allege, they used their political influence to snag the company in a phony foreign corruption probe they also fomented.

The plan was to cause our investors to suffer interminable delays while our money was frittered away on high-powered lawyers and complex international legal issues. This is an excellent plan, and it is working like a charm. There has been no crime committed, but ERHC Energy remains in a state of suspended animation while that fact is being established by a very dilatory U.S. Attorney in Washington - not Houston, where the case should have been initiated.

What does this mean for invesgtiors?

Well, in my opinion, even the U.S. Attorney at some point has to face the absence of probative facts and accept a "no bill" before the federal grand jury that is presumably hearing some aspect of this case. US Atty. Mary K. Dimke is fortunate, though, that media reports - and nothing else - have very imperfectly linked the issue to the William Jefferson case, where it had no role and no exposure beyond a yellow press clipping found in a file bearing Jefferson's name in ERHC Energy's offices during the armed raid by an FBI SWAT team that scared our three employees - our poor secretary, former CFO and ex-CEO Walter Brandhuber - half to death. Now we have only two employees to scare.

Meanwhile, though, I have spent three hours in face-to-face conversation with someone who is extremely familiar with the woman who wore the wire in the Jefferson case. That has left me fully briefed on elements of that case, and I can guarantee you the information supplied by my new acquaintance will dramatically undercut the Jefferson probe as well. As that case is eroded, and the U.S. Attorney faces a major embarrassment, the ties to ERHC Energy will evaporate as they ought to; they were never more than a guilt-by-association rap against two long-ago proponents of ERHC who had already moved on to the big and lucrative GEECF scam.

Chevron and ExxonMobil, acting - we believe - through the former Chief Counsel for the Senate Energy Committee, Judy Pensabene - whose husband Greg (last time we checked) is chief lobbyist for Anadarko and a strong Democratic Party contributor (and former Clinon Administration Energy Dept. official), ERHC's rival for the priceless Block 3 and Block 4 rights we won in the Nigeria-Sao Tome and Principe Joint Development Zone (where the Chevron and ExxonMobil venture has already found at least a billion barrels of oil, partly under our Block 2 rights) will likely come up with some scheme to either extend the probe or concoct evidence through their maze of intermediaries.

But ERHC Energy's day will inevitablty come, because it is fundamentally innocent of anything but being Nigerian, which by itself is apparently a federal crime these days. That's why those long-term investors who are not in and out daily seeking small gains are likely to prosper mightily by the time it all winds to an end. Our company will not give up its rights or sell them off short of a massive offer, and Chevron and ExxonMobil will lose out when one of the world's richest oil deposits is ultimately located in Blocks 2 and 4.

By the way, look for ExxonMobil to go to $69 ex-dividend. Some folks have all the luck.

Disclosure: I own no shares of ERHE or VION, and a trustee controls the 1,500-odd shares of Chevron held by our family trust.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Ali Memon Registers 1.27 Million Shares For Sale

Ali Memon, the congenial, low-key former president of ERHC Energy and onetime head of Marathon oil operations in Africa, has registered his intent to sell some 1,272,727 formerly restricted shares he obtained as compensation during his term as ERHC's operational head twice removed, and the share price slipped briefly to $0.35 as the news spread.

The move was not necessarily made for any other reason than that it is Memon's first opportunity to register the shares as required by the Securities Exchange Commission.

But the prospect of a possible indictment from the ongoing FBI investigation of ERHC's dealings with Sao Tome and Nigerian officials, or a fine arising from the SEC's current Nigeria-Sao Tome Joint Development Zone, probably unsettled investors who were buoyed just last week by a $0.03 gain in the share price to $0.39 from lingering lows of $0.34.

As we see it, though, the filing is immaterial. Some posters have suggesed the former CEO was moved to register the sale by coming good news about a possible buyout from Sinopec, or any number of other rumors that have surfaced on I-Hub in recent months. None have panned out, however, and we feel significant movement is unlikely to come until the FBI and SEC issues are resolved.

Indeed, when that may happen is the most salient question facing prospective investors, who are advised once again to be watchful and cautious. We do believe the share price will make a comeback at least to the $0.50 level before the year is out, and we believe that resurgence will be attributable to good news about the probes. Those, we feel certain, are politically motivated and unlikely to prosper. In the meantime, we remain out of the stock, although we hope to make an entry at the @0.34 level or lower in coming weeks.

Here is the essence of the Memon registration document:Br>

TITLE: Shareholder

Monday, October 30, 2006

Nigeria's Top Muslim Leader Dead In Latest Plane Crash; 98 Are Killed

In the latest and perhaps the most far-reaching plane crash in Nigeria - the third in little more than a year - Nigeria's Muslim spiritual leader and 97 others were killed near the capital city of Abuja, the New York Times reported late Sunday:

October 30, 2006

Nigerian Plane Crash Kills 98, Including Top Muslim Leader


DAKAR, Senegal, Oct. 29 — A commercial airliner with 104 passengers and crew members on board, including the spiritual leader of Nigeria’s vast Muslim population, crashed shortly after takeoff in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, on Sunday. It was the third deadly passenger plane crash in Nigeria in a little more than a year.

Six people were taken to local hospitals, aviation officials told reporters at the crash site. The other 98 people on board were presumed dead. The plane crashed just past the runway at the Abuja airport after taking off in stormy weather, and the wreckage was strewn across a wooded area beyond the runway. News agencies reported that some bodies had been recovered, but it was unclear how many.

The flight was operated by ADC Airlines, one of Nigeria’s many small domestic airlines. The 23-year-old plane was a Boeing 737-2B7, The Associated Press reported, quoting an Aviation Ministry spokesman.

The plane was headed to Sokoto, the capital of a state near Nigeria’s northern border. Among the passengers was the sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Maccido, the spiritual leader since 1996 of Nigeria’s Muslims, who are believed to constitute half of the country’s estimated population of 130 million.

“It is a terrible tragedy, an unimaginable loss,” said Mustapha Shehu, a spokesman for the Sokoto State government, in a telephone interview just moments after the sultan’s body had been brought to Sokoto for burial by a government plane. “Everyone is in mourning.”

The crash was the latest in a string of disasters in Nigeria’s skies. More than 200 people died in two aviation accidents in Nigeria in 2005. Last October, a flight operated by Bellview Airlines, one of the country’s most popular carriers, crashed shortly after taking off from Lagos on its way to Abuja, killing 117 people.

Just two months later, a flight operated by Sosoliso Airlines crashed on the runway at Port Harcourt, the main hub of Nigeria’s oil industry. Dozens of high school students on their way home for Christmas from an elite boarding school in Abuja were among the more than 100 people killed in that crash.

The two episodes, coming just months apart, prompted the government to ground the entire domestic fleet of both airlines for inspections. Nigerian aviation officials later said that sudden weather changes were to blame for both accidents.

Last month 10 senior military officials were killed in a military plane crash in Benue State.

Despite its vast oil wealth — Nigeria is the world’s sixth-largest oil exporter — its infrastructure is crumbling, and traveling even a few hundred miles by road takes more than a day.

With most domestic fares running at least $100 one-way in a country where 60 percent of the people live in poverty, the airlines tend to cater to the country’s business and political elite. Politicians, diplomats and prominent business people have been among the dead in recent crashes.

In addition to the sultan, several top Sokoto State officials were on the plane, Mr. Shehu said, including two senators and the deputy governor. The group had been in the capital attending a government meeting on education, Mr. Shehu said.

The death of the sultan leaves Nigeria’s Muslim population without one of its most prominent voices against interreligious conflict as the country enters a contentious period leading up to elections next year. Mr. Maccido was crucial in calming religious tensions in 2002, when deadly riots broke out over a beauty pageant in northern Nigeria, and in 2004, when interreligious violence killed dozens in Plateau State.

The 2007 presidential election is likely to fan these flames again as the largely Muslim north and the largely Christian south battle over which region the country’s next president will come from.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Luca's October Update Illuminates Little

A second monthly uypdate from Interim CEO Nicolae Luca offers little that is new or significant to investors, but does say ERHC Energy will hire a Technical Vice President to "manage those relationships" and singles out an article by David Ivanovich for mention without either praising or condemning it.

The share price, along with the entire market, has risen since the update, albeit only by $0.025 cents to $0.365 on shares of 340,957 Thursday in another day of lackluster volume and trading.

Indeed, for ERHC, all is waiting. Will there be an indictment? No, I think. Will there be an SEC action, like a fine? Tes, we think. Will there be a buyout or buy-in? Maybe, I think; wait and see.

Generally, within limits, I would approve a strategy of accumulation now, although I don't think the stock (OTC BB symbol: ERHE) is as low as it will go. If I should be wrong and an indictment does come from U.S. Atty. Mary Kay Dimke's investigation, there will be a momentary - and I mean a few hours, at most - opportunity to buy shares in the $0.22 range, I believe.

The effect of an SEC action is less predictable, as it shakes the securities industry to its roots, so far as this stock goes; if one comes, we could hit a low of $0.15 if coupled with an indictment; alone, it would mean much less, I think, and probably bottom us out around $0.25.

And what of nothing? That is, what if nothing happens, for a long time (i.e., until Sprimng 2007)? Then we will be on one of the long, slow upward trajectories that bore the sternest, most discipline observer, with the price improving through Decmber to the $0.45 - $0.48 range and moving into the $0.50s - and maybe slightly higher - by the end of March.

Once a drilling rig is secured, bets are off; this analysis must also be suspended in the event any of our partners or other players hit any major fields in any JDZ block. There may also be some limited sensitivity to a change in political fortunes in Abuja, but we are likely to be unaffected by any further violence in the Niger Delta.

The fact that the share price has risen following an update on low volume while the market was setting all-time highs does not suggest momentum very strongly to me; rather, I think, we will top around $0.37 tomorrow, and may fall back to $0.35 by the end of the day. It was telling that there were no trades after 3:31pm EST Thursday.

For those curious about my thoughts on other stocks, I have watched in rapture as Phelps-Dodge (PD) moved up another $2.46 to $93.30 today, and I have touted Urban Outfitters (URBN) to subscribers since it hit $14.85 twe weeks ago; I was pleased to see it close at $19.32 and this afternoon. I am waiting again on Vion Pharmaceuticals (VION), which has fallen to $1.14 after jumping more than $0.30 on my last tip to $1.30. There's a stock called IVAY which interests me, and it was up $0.01 to $0.19 today, but it has been falling from a post-hype high of $0.28 and may yet have a little ways further to fall.

Again, I would liek to thank all those who have written to offer condolences about my Dad, either here or on I-Hub, and I look forward to resuming a more regular posting schedule soon.

Here is the latest ERHC Energy update:

ERHC Energy Inc. Interim CEO Issues October Update
HOUSTON, TX -- (MARKET WIRE) -- October 11, 2006 -- Nicolae Luca, interim chief executive officer of ERHC Energy Inc. (OTCBB: ERHE) issued the following update after the market closed on Wednesday, October 11, 2006.

"To ERHC Shareholders:

"I am pleased to again update the ERHC Energy family on the company's progress during the past month.

"As described last month, ERHC representatives participated in September meetings of the Operating Committee and the Technical Committee for the Blocks and in Management Committee meetings between consortium partners and the Joint Development Authority (JDA). I believe that the meetings were productive. We continue to develop our relationships with our consortium partners in the Joint Development Zone (JDZ) Blocks, Addax Petroleum and Sinopec Corp., and we remain positive about the progress being made.

"The committee that is conducting the search for the Company's new Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer has narrowed down the list of candidates and begun interviewing. We understand that this period of transition has been unsettling for some investors, but we are convinced that a deliberate process that leads to the selection of the right CEO and CFO is in the best interests of the company and its shareholders.

"As we have said before, our normal business operations continue unabated as the executive search continues.

"In addition to those executive positions, ERHC has begun recruiting for the position of Vice President (Technical). To date, the Company has been satisfied with using technical consultants in meetings with organizations such as the JDA and in technical discussions with our consortium partners. Until now, the intermittent nature of ERHC's requirement for the technical function made it a cost-effective option to use consultants to carry the function out. However, as operations begin to grow in the JDZ, the board has determined that it will be in ERHC's best interests to have an in-house executive officer to manage these relationships.

"Meanwhile, with the guidance of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld LLP, the Company continues to interface with the US Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission in connection with their respective investigations. This interface includes responding to an additional SEC request for personnel records (specifically, those regarding former CFO, Franklin Ihekwoaba) and other corporate records from the Company.

"Because the government's search warrant affidavit remains under seal, there has understandably been significant speculation regarding the investigations. Several news reports, including a front-page story in The Houston Chronicle, have referenced ERHC Energy. Houston Chronicle reporter David Ivanovich has followed ERHC for years and the article discussed the Company's promise and its challenges. We have worked to keep the discussion of ERHC in the media grounded in reality by quickly correcting inaccuracies and articulating a clear message.

"Finally, we closed the books on fiscal year 2006 on September 30th. We continue work on the year-end financial report, which is due in December 2006.

"We value our shareholders and appreciate your continued support. As this update illustrates, we are committed to maintaining regular communication with the ERHC Energy family regarding the Company's activities and opportunities."

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Back To The Salt Mines, Baby

The world is waiting with bated breath for the fall of ERHC Energy. And waiting. And waiting. And waiting.

The Houston Chronicle's David Ivanovich, the Washington-based investigative reporter who at my suggestion did the front-page above-the-fold article in February 2005 that nearly doubled the company's share price, has returned with another dramatic headline but a disappointingly insipid story that basically restates everything the New Orlean Times-Picayune reported earlier this year, adding some of the stuff gathered by Harper's Ken Silverstein, and reports once again that no one has any evidence that ERHC Energy ever did anything wrong unless it was to beat ExxonMobil, Chevron and Anadarko out of many billions of barrels of oil by being there first and riding a maelstrom all the way to strong equity positions in the Gulf of Guinea's Joint Development Zone - which ERHC Energy CEO Sir Emerka Offor was largely responsible for creating.

Offor's real error was in not getting out when he was offered a trifle for the company and instead stayed in the game all the way through the phony Sao Tome Attorney General's probe of the company, which halved the share price bur had no effect at all on revenues.

Because Ivanovich is actually a capable investigator, it is profoundly surprising that his editors let him risk his reputation by reporting thrice-reported gossip as a new drama.

What has happened, clearly, is that Exxon and Chevron, Houston power players, conned the paper into publishing a story to keep the ERHC non-scandal alive at a time when it appears that all the FBI and a Washington-based U.S. Atty. has on them is a folder of news clippings marked "William Jefferson."

Ivanovich probably feels like an idiot today, and it will only get worse when no indictments of ERHC are handed down by the Jefferson Federal grand jury.

All of the players except the U.S. Atty. are conveniently ignoring key parts of this story: 1) that whatever the involvement of Phil Nugent, Sr., Noreen Wilson and others with the company, it was a long, long time ago; 2) that Nigeria and Sao Tome have both formally rejected the Sao Tome Atty. General's report on ERHC; 3) that LETH, later known as GEEC and now GEECF, had no relationship with ERHC, and that Nugent and Wilson were investors in LETH and GEEC at least four years after they left ERHC; and 4) that the real story is how oil giants are manipulating the Bush Administration behind the scenes, probably through the husband of Senate Energy Counsel Judy Pensabene, Greg Pensabene, who is Anadarko's VP for Governmental Affairs and with his wife is a close friend and former student of the author of the Sao Tome probe report, a Tulsa law professor whose work was paid for by ERHC's erstwhile partner, Pioneer shareholder George Soros, through donations to the Senior Lawyers Project, which approached the Sao Tome Atty. General, Arlindho Pereira, to do the probe after ERHC walked away with Exxon and Anadarko's multi-billion dollar marbles in three blocks of the Joint Development Zone. The real story is that there is no story, and the majors really need there to be a story and a scandal if they are to capture ERHC's rights without paying good money for them.

Absent that information, the story is yet another example of how Big Oil can call the shots at this nation's major news organizations with complete impunity, whether there are any facts and evidence to back up their smear campaigns or not.
Meanwhile, what's happening with the bribery investigation by Sen. Ted Stevens' Senate Commerce Committee against Exxon, Chevron, Pioneer, Marathon and others in Equatorial Guinea? Complete silence, please, for another few years.

Here's the gossip from the Chronicle, to their shame:

Sept. 18, 2006, 1:28PM
Small Houston oil company at the center of global drama
ERHC's story becomes oddly intertwined with FBI bribery probe

Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON - Initially, theirs was a tale to rival that of any legendary Texas wildcatter.

A little-known Houston oil company lands a potential blockbuster deal in the crude-rich waters off West Africa and appears poised for a big payoff.

Negotiating the rocky shoals of West African politics and threats of arrest for sedition, ERHC Energy, a tiny company with no experience in offshore drilling, secures the rights from the government of Sao Tome and Principe to explore a stretch of the Gulf of Guinea thought to hold up to 14 billion barrels of crude.

Then the FBI barges in.

And suddenly, this obscure company's story becomes oddly interwoven with one of Washington's biggest scandals, a bribery probe targeting a Louisiana congressman.

Nine years after wading out to Sao Tome to make its fortune, ERHC — with just two employees — has yet to sink a well. Whether it ever will remains uncertain.

ERHC's legal troubles came to light in May, when FBI agents, clad in bulletproof vests carted off 118 boxes of documents from the company's Westheimer offices. The government was investigating possible "things of value" paid to officials in Nigeria and the tiny island-nation of Sao Tome, according to an FBI affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in Houston.

The FBI has not revealed what information sparked the raid or exactly how all the players in this story might be connected.

To ferret out the truth, investigators will likely be examining a bizarre thread linking an elusive Nigerian billionaire, a polygamous Nigerian politician and Rep. William Jefferson, the New Orleans Democrat recently made infamous for allegedly stashing $90,000 in possible bribe money in his freezer.

Stormy relations
ERHC achieved its enviable position — at least in part — by approaching Sao Tome long before most other companies took notice of the former Portuguese colony.

Dealing with a government little acquainted with the world of oil, the company negotiated a highly advantageous deal in 1997.

But the negotiations, and relations with the government, proved stormy. ERHC was forced to renegotiate the terms of its agreement, not once but twice.

At one point, former ERHC Chief Executive Officer Geoffrey Tirman went on Sao Tomean television and accused government officials of corruption, only to have to flee to the airport to avoid charges of sedition.

The company's prospects appeared bleak.

Strategy paid off
Enter Emeka Offor, or "Sir Emeka Offor" as he is styled, a wealthy Nigerian businessman known to have close ties with both Nigeria's late dictator, Gen. Sani Abacha, as well as the country's current vice president and presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.

Hoping to interest him in the fate of ERHC, Phil H. Nugent, a Houston energy consultant and major ERHC investor, sought Offor out.

"He had his politics covered," Nugent said in an interview.

Nugent's strategy paid off. Offor proved instrumental in pushing Nigeria and Sao Tome to resolve a long-running border dispute and create an offshore development zone, where international oil companies could bid for the rights to drill.

ERHC's contract with Sao Tome gave it preferential rights in this new Joint Development Zone. In early 2001, as the two countries were creating the joint development area, Offor's company Chrome Energy bought a controlling stake in ERHC.

Despite the company's lack of experience, U.S. producers Pioneer Natural Resources, Devon Energy Corp. and Noble Energy teamed up with the company to explore offshore.

Then, things fell apart.

The company's American partners withdrew.

In November, its independent auditor, Pannell Kerr Forster of Texas, resigned. "No reason for the resignation was specified," ERHC said at the time.

A few weeks later, Sao Tome's then-Attorney General Adelino Pereira called on U.S. officials to investigate ERHC's dealings in the region.

Suggestions of impropriety
"At every stage," the attorney general said in a report, are suggestions ERHC and Offor "may have made improper payments to government officials."

The report cited a $100,000 payment Offor's Chrome made to a company controlled by Sao Tomean President Fradique de Menezes, and the role of Foreign Minister Mateus "Nando" Rita played helping to renegotiate ERHC's contract while also holding 500,000 shares of company stock.

Daniel Keeney, an outside public relations consultant acting as spokesman for the company, said, "We care about perceptions of ERHC Energy, and we have been working to fully understand any concerns expressed about our activities in the Joint Development Zone."

In January, ERHC Chief Executive Ali Memon resigned. Six months later, his successor, Walter Brandhuber, would follow him out the door. Company officials said Brandhuber's departure was not related to the ERHC investigation.

The company's chief financial officer, Franklin Ihekwoaba, also stepped down, acknowledging "he should not have used the designation 'CPA',"as he had been doing on company records.

ERHC was able to rebound, announcing new deals with Swiss firm Addax Petroleumand — in February — with China's Sinopec Corp. to replace its former American partners.

Within weeks of the Sinopec deal, the company's stock price doubled, and things were looking up.

FBI sought documents
On May 4, more than a dozen FBI agents swarmed into the company's Westheimer offices.

Investigators were looking for records pertaining to ERHC's negotiations with Nigerian and Sao Tomean officials, the FBI said in an affidavit.

They wanted any documents referencing Vice President Abubakar, as well as Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and Sao Tomean President de Menezes, and information about stock transfers to a variety of offshore entities.

They also wanted any information about dealings with "Frontier Technology c/o Phil Nugent" at a Bellaire address, court documents show.

Nugent told the Houston Chronicle that he once lived at that address but denied having any knowledge of Frontier.

FBI officials also wanted to see documents regarding "Packard & Packard," presumably Packard, Packard & LaPray, a Beaumont law firm that handled a minority shareholder lawsuit against the company.

The shareholders alleged ERHC's former management violated federal securities laws, filed false information to the Securities and Exchange Commission and used misleading accounting practices.

When Offor was considering buying controlling interest in ERHC, his company contacted the law firm. The shareholders agreed to settle. And the attorneys' fees were paid for in the form of ERHC stock, said Daniel Packard, a partner in the firm.

After raiding ERHC's offices, FBI officials itemized all materials seized. Buried deep in a long list of materials was an intriguing folder labeled "William Jefferson."

Mum on folder
Company officials won't say what was in that folder. And no court documents unsealed to date specify a link between the ERHC investigation and the Jefferson bribery probe.

Indeed, company officials discount any connection.

"At this time, we have not been made aware of any facts to suggest that the U.S. government investigation of ERHC is in any way related to the ongoing investigation of Congressman Jefferson," ERHC spokesman Keeney said.

Both the Justice Department and Jefferson refused to discuss the case.

This much is known:

Jefferson has been on the FBI's radar since March 2005, when an informant accused the eight-term congressman of being part of a possible bribery scheme. The FBI began tailing Jefferson, secretly recording his conversations with the informant about a plan to help a Kentucky telecommunications company known as iGate win contracts in Nigeria and Ghana.

Jefferson has not been charged. But both a former Jefferson staffer and iGate's one-time CEO have pleaded guilty to bribery-related charges.

In secret tapes made by the FBI informant — wearing a wire — Jefferson is heard making plans to pay a $500,000 bribe to Nigerian Vice President Abubakar, according to an FBI affidavit. In July 2005, FBI agents videotaped Jefferson allegedly receiving $100,000 in marked bills from the informant.

Four days later, FBI agents raided Jefferson's Washington apartment and discovered $90,000 hidden in his freezer. The serial numbers on the chilly $100 bills matched those photocopied by the FBI before the sting operation.

Though they also searched the Maryland home of one of Abubakar's four wives, no marked bills were found.

"The vice president has no relationship with Mr. Jefferson, public or personal, other than the usual diplomatic courtesies extending to a high-ranking U.S. official," said Edward Weidenfeld, an attorney for Abubakar in Washington.

Nigeria, Sao Tome visits
None of the documents in the Jefferson probe made public to date mentions ERHC or Offor. But, the FBI affidavit says, "Law enforcement agents have gathered evidence linking Congressman Jefferson to at least seven other schemes in which Congressman Jefferson sought things of value in return for his performance of official acts."

Jefferson, who has served as co-chair of the Africa Trade and Investment Caucus, visited Nigeria and Sao Tome in 2004, a trip paid for in part by iGate and "Leth Energy Inc.," according to PoliticalMoneyLine, an organization that tracks political fundraising and spending.

Two former ERHC executives — one-time president James R. Callender Sr. and former CFO Noreen Wilson — have held positions at LETH, or Life Energy & Technology Holdings Inc., according to SEC and Louisiana state records.

ERHC investor Nugent also did business with the firm, which in August 2004 changed its name to Global Environmental Energy Corp.

Neither Callender nor Wilson could be reached for comment.

Earlier this month, Nigerian authorities revealed that the U.S. Justice Department had requested information on LETH as part of the Jefferson probe.

Sao Tomean officials aren't commenting.

"Nobody spoke about that publicly," said Luis dos Prazeres, executive director of Sao Tome's National Petroleum Agency.

Offor could not be reached. And Abubakar, facing a barrage of criticism at home, did not respond to questions.

His attorney Weidenfeld did assert, "He's had no role with ERHC."

What part Jefferson may have played in the ERHC saga, if any, remains unclear.

"He might have had a meeting here and there," Nugent said. "(Jefferson) was kind of bobbing and weaving on his own."


Thursday, September 14, 2006

Reuters: Danger To African Resources

In a report that eerily echoes ours of a day earlier (see below, "Reuters: Nigerian Output More Greatly Diminished Than Previously Thought; Questions About Chevron"), Reuters U.S. officials and other experts have grown increasingly worried about the future of oil from Nigeria, the Africa petroleum powerhouse of the past decade..

Here is the Reuters report:

West beams security focus on Gulf of Guinea oil
14 Sep 2006 01:05:43 GMT
Source: Reuters

(This story is one of a series issued on Sept. 14 as part of a features package)

By Zoe Eisenstein

LUANDA, Sept 14 (Reuters) - Western experts worried about the security of oil supplies from Africa's Gulf of Guinea have considered several doomsday scenarios, including suicide attacks by determined Islamist militants on offshore oil platforms.

But many analysts say domestic unrest is by far the bigger threat to a region whose oil is growing in strategic importance to the West because of increasing volatility in the Middle East.

Gulf of Guinea producers Nigeria, Angola, Gabon, and Equatorial Guinea and promising newcomer Sao Tome & Principe already supply 16 percent of U.S. energy needs and the figure is projected to rise to 25 percent by 2015.

Their governments are generally weak, and giant Nigeria is grappling with internal unrest over the distribution of oil wealth -- something analysts fear could be exploited by Islamist militants targeting U.S. and other Western interests globally.

"The least threatening is (an) attack on the open ocean to tanker traffic across the Atlantic or some other use of the trans-Atlantic tanker (through hijacking) to attack oil terminals," said Peter Pham, director of Virginia-based Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs.

"This would require a great investment that we do not see any terrorist group making yet. But this does not mean that some minimal effort should not be made to beef up security and to plan for eventualities," Pham told Reuters.

"Given the weak maritime capacities of the states of the west littoral of Africa, there is not inconsiderable risk to oil installations at sea," he added.

But Pham said the greatest threat was closer to the coast like in Nigeria's delta region where local militants mount cheap but devastating hit-and-run attacks on oil installations.

He said that while the immediate threat derived from local grievances, "it would not take much for transnational terrorists to exploit these".


Analysts and diplomats describe the mix of great wealth and extreme poverty and alienation that characterises oil-producing states as a time bomb.

"(It) is the kind of noxious cocktail that motivated the September 11 hijackers," said Nicholas Shaxson, an Africa expert at the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London.

"There is no coherent threat of this kind in the region right now, but that's not to say that there won't be one day."

Stephen Morrison, director of the Africa programme at Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies, identified weak government and poverty as the main threats.

"They manifest themselves in terms of piracy, criminality, bunkering syndicates involved in oil theft schemes," he said, referring to organised crude oil theft by criminal syndicates.

Nigeria has responded to growing unrest in its oil-producing delta since 2003 by deploying some 3,000 military personnel from the army, navy and air force to guard key facilities.

This roughly doubled the number of troops in the delta, an inaccessible maze of mangrove-lined creeks and swamps almost the size of England.

As the situation has deteriorated over the past three years, Nigeria has sought help from London and Washington through an ad hoc Gulf of Guinea Security Conference.

Nigeria's "shopping list" of military hardware to strengthen the existing security structure, has however been rejected by Washington and London, diplomats involved in the talks said.

The Nigerian armed forces still have a poor reputation after decades of military dictatorship, which ended in 1999.


The United States, aware of the strategic importance of the region, and as part of its own declared war on terror since the Sept. 11 attacks, has been weighing other options.

Defence officials in Washington said last month the Pentagon was considering creating a separate U.S. military command for Africa. A Pentagon official said this would not mean putting U.S. troops in Africa but "would streamline the focus and give appropriate undivided attention to the continent".

The small Gulf of Guinea archipelago of Sao Tome & Principe -- where U.S. and other companies are searching for oil amid high expectations of a new African bonanza -- has said it wants more assistance from the United States to protect its security as a future oil producer.

The United States has helped with feasibility studies for a deepwater port and a new airport and many analysts expect Washington to locate a major military base there in the future.

Intelligence experts say the U.S. military views Sao Tome as a future Diego Garcia for western Africa. Diego Garcia is a key U.S. military base in the Indian Ocean which played a critical role in the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

However, no formal negotiations have been reported so far.

U.S. officials stress that fostering democracy and economic well-being in Gulf of Guinea states has to come before increased American military presence to secure oil supplies.

"You can provide security but without democracy this won't be a stable region," said Cindy Courville, who has been nominated as the first U.S. envoy to the African Union.

(Additional reporting by Pascal Fletcher in Dakar, Thomas Ashby in Lagos and Christopher Thompson)

For The Record: Interim CEO Luca Issues Update

In a thoughtful gesture to investors who have not heard much from ERHC Energy officials since the departure of CEO Walter Brandhuber, interim CEO Nicolae Luca has issued a press release that offers soem reassurance that events are more or less proceeding as planned. The upbeat statement was issued Sept. 12, but we just found it last night:

ERHC Energy's Interim CEO Issues Update

DNicolae Luca, interim CEO of ERHC Energy Inc. issued an update after the market closed on Monday, September 11, 2006. He said the company continues to develop relationships with its consortium partners in the Joint Development Zone Blocks, Addax Petroleum and Sinopec Corp.

In September 2006, ERHC representatives will participate in meetings of the Operating Committee and the Technical Committee for each of the Blocks. He said the company remains positive about the progress being made.
ownload this press release as an Adobe PDF document.

(PRWEB) September 12, 2006 -- The following update from Nicolae Luca, interim CEO of ERHC Energy Inc. (OTCBB: ERHE), was issued after the market closed on Monday, September 11, 2006.

"I want to take this opportunity to update the ERHC Energy family on the company’s activities over the past month. We appreciate the encouragement that the interim management has received from shareholders during the past month. Several of you have called in to express support and to offer useful suggestions on the management of your company. We are much obliged.

"We’ve had a number of shareholders ask about the timeline for appointing a new chief executive officer. We understand the desire among shareholders to get new leadership in place and want to assure you that we share that desire.

"ERHC Energy is a unique company and we are looking for individuals with an entrepreneurial spirit, international mindset, negotiating skills and the ability to manage complex relationships. We have been encouraged by the quality of candidates that have come to our attention and we greatly appreciate the involvement of our shareholders in recommending several candidates. When we have identified the right persons, we will introduce the new management team.

"In the meantime, our normal business operations continue unabated under the guidance of interim management. You will recall, for instance, that we presented the financial report for the third quarter on time. Similarly, in other respects, ERHC Energy continues to meet its day-to-day obligations. As our public disclosures attest, the company has strengthened its financial standing through receipts accruing from the participation arrangements entered into with consortium partners on the JDZ interests.

"Our last quarter’s financial report confirmed that ERHC’s general and administrative costs rose in the first six months of the year. This was due in part to increased activity with regard to management and exploitation of the JDZ interests. Legal costs arising from the U.S. government investigations of the Company also played a major role. ERHC Energy’s management continues to monitor these costs closely and to apply cost-control measures. Our fiscal year ends on September 30, 2006 and we have begun work on the year-end financial report, which is due in December 2006.

"We continue to develop our relationships with our consortium partners in the JDZ Blocks, Addax Petroleum and Sinopec Corp. In September 2006, ERHC representatives will participate in meetings of the Operating Committee and the Technical Committee for each of the Blocks. We remain positive about the progress being made. According to Addax Petroleum, which has been designated the operator of Block 4 of the JDZ and has a participating interest in JDZ Blocks 2 and 3, seismic data acquired over each of the Blocks is presently being analyzed to delineate potential drilling locations. There are many contingencies that affect when exploratory drilling may commence. That is not unusual in operations of this nature and we will look to the operators to make the relevant announcements when the time is right.

"In September 2006, representatives of ERHC will also participate in Management Committee meetings between the consortium partners and the Joint Development Authority (JDA). For those not familiar with the organization, the JDA is the authority set up by the governments of Nigeria and Sao Tome & Principe to manage the resources, including oil and gas, in the JDZ.

"In advance of these meetings, I traveled to Nigeria for a courtesy visit with representatives of the JDA to introduce ERHC’s interim leadership. The meetings were positive and cordial. Our visit coincided with changes in the leadership of the JDA. In August 2006, the JDA announced the appointment of Ado Yakubu Wanka as the chairman of the JDA’s board for the next year. The JDA’s board is made up of four members, two each from Nigeria and Sao Tome & Principe. Each year, the chairmanship rotates between the two countries.

"Looking ahead, ERHC’s long-term plan is to utilize cash flow from operations to implement a focused acquisition strategy, targeting a diversified portfolio of production and development projects and low- to medium-risk exploration properties. We intend to identify, acquire and explore prospects in which we discern a competitive advantage.

"Again, thank you for your continued support and patience. We value our shareholders and remain committed to maintaining regular communication with all of our shareholders regarding ERHC’s activities and opportunities."

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

19 Wounded, 5 Critical, In One-Man Rampage At Montreal's Dawson College

A lone guman who terrorized the 10,000-student campus of Dawson College in downrtown Montreal is "neutralized," MSNBC reported moments ago, quoting police sources. CNN says as many as three gunment may have been involved and that they believe two gunmen are dead while police search for a third in a shopping mall across from the college. CNN cites college officials as its source.


CNN now says four are dead in the shooting that wounded 13 at Dawson College in downtown Montreal. Another account from the Toronto Star says one person - the shooter, a man garbed in camouflage and wearing a Mohawk haircut - died and 11 were wounded.

Here is the latest from CNN:

SWAT hunts college gunmen
At least four people are dead and 13 wounded after a shooting at college in downtown Montreal. The college initially said two gunmen were killed, but police only confirmed one dead shooter. A SWAT team was in the college because "we believe there might be other suspects inside," a police spokesman said.

UPDATE 2:25AM EST 9/14

When the dust cleared, there were 19 woounded and one dead shooter, the New York Times reports this morning:

September 14, 2006
Gunman Kills Woman in Montreal; 19 Are Injured
MONTREAL, Sept. 13 — A man wearing a long black coat and carrying a semiautomatic rifle shot and killed a woman and wounded 19 other people, at least five critically, at the downtown campus of a junior college on Wednesday. The man himself died after exchanging shots with the police.

The shooting Wednesday at Dawson College brought chaos and fear to the core of Canada’s second largest city as major thoroughfares were closed, office towers were evacuated and subway service was disrupted. It also evoked bitter memories of a shooting in 1989 at another downtown college where 14 women died before the gunman killed himself.

In the Dawson case, the police said an autopsy would determine whether the assailant was killed by the police or by his own weapon.

The Montreal police said it received the first call about the shooting at 12:41 p.m. Several witnesses reported seeing the man start shooting students near an entrance without a word or provocation.

As the police arrived, witnesses said, he entered the building, continuing to fire randomly as he made his way toward a crowded cafeteria. Video recorded with a camera phone showed the gunman exchanging fire with the police inside the college.

Dawson has an enrollment of about 10,000 students, most of them teenagers. About half were believed to have been on campus at the time.

Despite the early arrival of the police, the college and the neighborhood — an affluent, largely English-speaking district — fell into confusion with herds of people fleeing along streets and pouring out of a nearby shopping mall. Like much of downtown Montreal, the college is connected to a network of underground walkways that also feeds into the subway system. In what appeared to be a bid to prevent the escape of the gunman, a major subway line was closed temporarily.

Reuters: Nigerian Output More Greatly Diminished Than Previously Thought; Questions About Chevron

An important story from Reuters spells out the vast extent of the loss of production suffered by Nigeria as the result of attacks on pipelines, vessels and flow stations owned by Royal Dutch Shell and others, Reuters said Tuesday.

The news deserves some speculation, and I'd like to offer some guesses about it.

The concealed numbers may have already had far-reaching consequences, I think, including a vote in Congress to open more of the Gulf of Mexico to drilling.

While the much lower numbers offered for public consumption appeared to be credible, it is likely that insiders in both the U.S. and Nigerian governments have known the real numbers all along, and taken steps to reduce U.S. exposure to what may be a chronic issue of long duration.

The story may also underlie a recent decision by Chevron to take a wild swing at the potential reserves it recently discovered in the Gulf of Mexico. The company's policy, which ERHC Energy investors learned about rather painfully when the company made a substantial find in Block 1, has been to cautiously state the potential of a strike and to give as little away as possible; it known for playing its cards very close to its vest.

Why then, did Chevron seem to suddenly reverse course, or at least policy, and publicly boost an estimate of the GoM find that ranged wildly across 12 billion barrels in guessing reserves of three to 15 billion barrels?

That very un-Chevron-like move may be setting some investors up for bad news that the company hopes will be overshadowed by the news of the GoM find. Indeed, the stock market's reaction to the find - a $1.76 rise in CVX share price - was not much different than to a $1 rise in the price of oil, while Devon Energy - a partner in the find - got a $7 boost (and had far fewer shares outstanding, too).

Chevron is not the central target of the attacks by militants on industry infrastructure, at least for now. It is better sited for safe production in the Gulf of Guinea than Shell, ExxonMobil and some other competitors, but not all. It seems all along to have a done a far better job of community relations than its competitors. So if the company was fudging on the find for reasons other than to help President George Bush and the Republicans overcome resistance to offshore drilling, what bad news could it be hiding?

If, as Reuters says, the volume of daily lost production is 870,000 barrels, Chevron's share of that has had to add up all through this saga beside those of Shell and others to yield a credible figure. If its figure now turns out to be not credible, how far off were Chevron's public statements about its losses? And what would the SEC do about such concealment to all of the firms that lied?

But I don't expect that this is really the nub of the issue. Chevron hasn't burped out those fantastic numbers of gain share price or new investors. It's my suspicion that a report is circulating around Washington that would shake a lot of assumptions about Nigeria's oil production capacity in the near future.

That would be consistent with CIA director Porter Goss'es dire predictions of a shattered Nigerian federation lying only a year or two ahead. The company may soon come within range of ERHC Energy's political influence, too, as the campaigns for president of Nigeria to replace Olusegun Obasanjo advance and loosen the reins of power while other leaders seek to grab them. That would be disastrous for Chevron, ExxonMobil and Anadarko.

Asd I often have, I urge investors to stay focused on political developments in Nigeria that may presage events ahead. Any development that indicates the placement of Sir Emeka Offor in the political pantheon needs to be studied with special care.

Here is the Reuters story:

VIENNA, Sept 12 (Reuters) - Nigerian officials estimate that Africa's biggest oil producer is losing between 800,000 and 872,000 barrels per day, more than a quarter of its output, because of militant attacks and pipeline leaks.

The figures, provided this week by Minister of State for Petroleum Edmund Daukoru and officials from Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, are far above previous estimates given by Nigeria and top foreign operator Royal Dutch Shell.

"About 250,000 bpd is shut for operational issues," Aminu Baba-Kusa, head of oil marketing at state oil company NNPC, told Reuters on Tuesday. "Some are technical, at some they have pipeline vandalism, pipeline bursts."

On top of that, about 600,000 bpd of Shell output in Nigeria is offline, he said, speaking on the sidelines of an energy conference in Vienna.

The supply loss in Nigeria, the eighth-largest oil exporter, is one of the main drivers of oil's record run in 2006. Crude is trading around $65 a barrel in New York, down from a record $78.40 in July.

Baba-Kusa was elaborating on comments made by Daukoru on Monday shortly before a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Daukoru put the amount of Nigerian oil shut in at 872,000 bpd. A third Nigerian official estimated on Tuesday about 800,000 bpd was offline.
When I say 800,000 barrels per day I mean ball park," NNPC group managing director Funsho Kupolokun said.


While the figures were higher than previous estimates, Shell and other firms that produce Nigeria's oil reported no fresh disruptions to output on Tuesday.

Shell said it was still losing 477,000 bpd in Nigeria. Its Forcados terminal and EA platform have been shut since militant attacks in February, wiping out that amount of Shell-operated output.

Chevron Corp. (CVX.N: Quote, Profile, Research) said it had no Nigerian production shut down except for about 70,000 bpd it had yet to restart since unrest in 2003 hit supplies.

Agip, a unit of Italian energy firm ENI (ENI.MI: Quote, Profile, Research), is losing another 50,000 barrels daily. Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM.N: Quote, Profile, Research) said it was pumping at normal levels in Nigeria.

Government officials and oil companies working in the West African country often give different estimates of how much production is offline and when it will return.

Daukoru on Monday said output from Forcados and EA will restart within three to six months. Shell has not given a specific timeframe.

"For quite some months, the installations were not used," Shell Chief Executive Jeroen van der Veer said in Vienna asked when the fields will reopen.
"So you have to be testing, checking....Is all the equipment there? Does it work? You can't immediately produce at your old levels."

New offshore fields have partly filled the gap left by shut onshore sites, enabling Nigeria to pump about 2.3 million bpd in August according to Reuters estimates.

But violence in Nigeria's oil-producing delta ahead of April's elections may hinder oil output for months to come, keeping the heat under prices, analysts say.

"Nigeria has been a very important source of upside risk for the market because of the repeated supply disruptions," said Kevin Rosser of consultant Control Risks, whose clients include companies working in Nigeria.

"This is likely to last into the middle of next year."

Monday, September 11, 2006

Eulogy: On The Soul Of My Father

An American Passage
by Joseph P. Shea

MONROE, N.Y., Sept. 9, 2006 -- Good morning. On behalf of my father and each member of the Shea Family, our thanks to you for being here this morning at a time which, with the passing of his brother Billy's beloved wife, Lorraine Shea, and indeed even the great matriarch of the Snee Family that gave that beautiful land to this church, that surely marks the passage of the generations.

From the era of our beloved father to this one a great deal of history has taken place, and at the time of every such passage it is appropriate and necessary that those whose lives have spanned so much of modern history speak to us about what they have seen.

From the beginning of his life near the turn of the century past, to our time, at the beginning of another, history has borne us forward from the rutted roads and open pastures of a bucolic farm to the urgent bustle and relentless energy of our own Monroe, a place that as many others are, is in the throes of constant change and facing the heat of constant challenge. And it is not different anywhere in the developed world.

That is why, when I was asked to speak this morning about my father's lifelong love of politics, I thought that the real job was to speak of what politics meant to him. As we commonly know it, politics is the fine art of reaching the compromises that make progress on any front possible despite our differences of opinion and character. And he was more than adept at that, having demonstrated it with the victory of his brother in 1954 by 64 votes in a hard-fought race for the municipal bench in Manhattan, where most of a century had passed in which the only Republican elected was his own father. But politics is part of a larger dimension, which is patriotism, and I have to tell you that patriotism infused every fiber of my father's being.

And it was not the popular fairy-tale version of patriotism that is pressed upon us from every corner today, but the deep, abiding kind that emerges from the long life of a man who not only loved but was his country. John S. Shea, Jr. soaked up the very roots of our great nation from the umbilical cord of his mother, whose family fled England long before the Revolution to escape religious persecution, and from the very seed of his forefathers, who fought for freedom and independence in Ireland before they fought here for a new version of those ideals in the Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II and Korea. His life, if it could ever be distilled into one single essence, would shine with love and hope for his country.

But in this temporal world, he speaks to us from a higher, native ground, and I now think it was him who inspired the words that came to me one night, "Foremost, seek clarity; first, search for the truth." For in truth, his patriotism took the form of an icy cold clarity that tried always to gaze into the often terrible face of truth. I was constantly after him to speak to me about the world as he saw it, about the past as he saw it, about our nation and its leadership as he saw it. And frankly, he saw it with an unforgiving eagle's eye never dwelled on discontent, nor dissension, nor partisanship, but always looked cooly beyond our immediate time and place to summon the visage of history itself so that he might see how time was steadily and slowly remaking it. He saw out from those cherished and well-protected roots and his observations were impeccable.

I'm afraid my comments this moning would be meaningless if I did not tell you some of what he saw. I think like the battlements of Jericho he saw this nation under siege from within and without. I think he feared that the fierce rock hammer of Satan himself was being slammed with infinite force against its battlements, and that the rage of a terrible enemy was arrayed against us outside our walls. You and I look around ourselves in this beautiful setting and perhps see no sign of that political catastrophe he believed was coming. He spoke often about "the man on horseback" he feared would bring an end to our democracy and replace it with the very tyranny his ancestors fought to escape.

We are profoundly honored today to have with us my beloved cousin, Lt. Col. Michael Kies of the United States Marine Corps, who can attest to you the truth of the rage and chaos that has overtaken much of the Middle East, where he pledged his life to bring order and sanity to a region gone mad in the torment of rapid change. My father sharply rejected the war in Iraq as an enterprise built upon the lies of a President whose personal search for revenge against Saddam had led him into errors of a Biblical proportion. I could not agree with him, but I could not argue from a moral plane against his observations, either.

While he was a strategist who told me he was once ordered by the President to devise a nuclear battle plan to strike against North Korean forces that had massed on the South Korean border when American forces were engaging almost all of our ready forces during a Tet offensive in Vietnam, he had a moral sense that informed his view of that and other conflicts, while our time, and perhaps myself, look at today's war as a strategic necessity whose morality is ill-made. That is a very typical difference of our generations.

Today we often pretend to a morality in politics we do not possess, while those who are truly moral are silent or shouted down. We adopt a strategy that has no moral content or merely a moral pretext and find ourself adrift and confused when the strategy threatens to falter or fail. In fact, I have deeply felt that what saved us from a nuclear war at that time was not the decision of the North Koreans to pull back after the President's warning, but his prayers for divine intercession, the same that guided George Washington up Orange Turnpike in the summer of 1776.

My father would not be shouted down. And he would warn us that Americans of our time need to gain a deeper insight into who we are and where we are going. He was an enemy of waste and self-indulgence and endless words. He would urge us to revisit, and not to abandon but to honor the democratic process. He would ask us to find a way to embrace our differences and love our country with our meaningful actions as one people under God. He would warn us as did George Washington - who passed this very place on those rutted roads of long ago - that we must never allow our nation to become the pawn in a war of competing partisan ideologies, but to always put God and our country first, our family next, and our party somewhere in upper echelon of other priorities. He would tell you that America is not about a fevered calculation of our interests; it is instead history's greatest idea, and one always worth fighting for.

I will share with you one more reckless insight. In his last months he had descended into an angry dementia that would erupt without warning, even as his blindness grew deeper than ever before. But in other times of the day, he was silent and calm and listened, and sometimes spoke with surprising clarity. I wondered as I prepared these words overnight whether he had not subsumed his identity to that spitting, screeching, storming eagle of the mountaintop that flies too far above us to be seen or heard. He sees beyond the battlements, beyond our shores and time, to a history relentlessly advancing upon our nation with intentions we cannot know. But he would tell us to be still, to be ready, to be watchful, to engage with passion in the great debates of our day, to be well-informed and to think deeply not only for ourselves but for our country, and to always care very much for one another. For me, and perhaps for my brothers and sister and beloved Mother, is the message of his life. In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson's great essay, "On Politics," he is "the Republican at home."

Together, let us promise that we will fulfill his great vision for all of us. I leave you with his favorite and inimitable words: "Ah has spoken."

Joe Shea is Editor-in-Chief of The American Reporter. He delivered this eulogy for his father at Sacred Heart Catholic Church Chapel in Monroe, N.Y., on Sept. 9, 2006.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

In Memoriam + John S. Shea, Jr. + 1909 - 2006

John S. Shea, Jr., my father and a lifelong resident of Monroe, died Sept. 5 at 6:10 a.m. at Arden Hill Hospital in Goshen after a brief hospitalization for pneumonia. He was 95.

The son of the then-Sheriff of New York County, John S. Shea, and Mary [Alcok] Olcott, he was born in New York City on January 30, 1909.

John was the loving husband of Nina D. Shea of Monroe, who survives him. They were married in New York City on November 30, 1936.

He is also survived buy his daughter, Mary Ann Kies of Long Beach, Calif., William P. Shea of Monroe, Ga., Joseph P. Shea of Bradenton, Fla., and Patrick O'Farrell Shea of Falls Church, Va., and many grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces and nephews. His eldest son, John S. Shea III, preceded him in death.

John was a career Federal civil servant who began his career with the New York City Division of Elections, the Internal Revenue Service, the state Dept. of Corrections and the United States Air Force, where he served as Deputy Comptroller of the 32nd Air Division during the Cuban Missile Crisis and also as a Single Integrated Operations Plan officer at Misawa AFB on the Japanese island of Hokkaido during the Vietnam War, where he prepared nuclear battle plans for the defense of the United States. He also served with Military Manpower Command of the United States Army after his retirement from the Air Force, and finally as Director of Internal Audit for the U.S. Customs House in New York City, where his father was Paymaster in 1892.

He will be remembered with love and laughter by his family and many friends as an unfailing pillar of strength and a man of great good humor whose quips, stories and advice sustained all of them through difficult times. He was also an astute investor who was working on Wall Street as a courier of stocks and bonds during the Great Crash of 1929. He served in the latter stages of Wiorld War II in the U.S. Army, and during the Occupation of Germany. He was campaign manager for his brother William S. Shea when the late State Supreme Court Justice won election to the bench in Manhattan in 1954 by 64 votes in what was the only Republican victory in Manhattan since John's father was elected Sheriff of New York in 1909. After his father's death, he also served as District Leader in the East Side Republican Club of Manhattan, from which Mayor John Lindsay later emerged. Despite his many accomplishments, he possessed a simple humility, and his deep faith in God was well known to his family. He took great pride in his family's Revolutionary War-era home on Rye Hill Road, which his father purchased from New York Herald Tribune publisher Whitney Reid in 1909. He was living there with his beloved wife Nina at the time of his passing.

Friends may call on Wednesday and Thursday, Sept. 7 and 8, during the hours of 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. at Smith, Seaman & Quackenbush at 117 Maple Ave. in Monroe.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church, where he was a lifelong parishioner. Burial will be at the family plot at St. Anastasia Church in Harriman, N.Y.