By Suleiman Umaru
Mele Kolo Kyari, Group Managing Director, GMD, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, has shown that he is not politician, who could speak with other side of his mouth, as he has sent a signal to President Muhammadu Buhari, and who incidentally is the minister of Petroleum Resources, that he would be feeding Nigerians with the truth about the state of the nations’ Oil Industry.
For years, past GMD of the Oil Conglomerate and other top government functionaries, had played politics with the state of the nation’s Oil Industry, particular, the state of the four refineries across the country with a combined Capacity refining capacity of 425,000 barrels per day and why they are working in bits and fits.
Already the NNPC GMD of NNPC, has told Nigerians that he has nothing to hide about the nation’s refineries when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum upstream recently. For the first time, an NNPC GMD has come out to lay the blame on the poor state of the refineries on the government.
Given an insider information, Kyari, who could not hide his feelings disclosed that the failure of the four refineries across the country to function to optimum capacity was due to the refusal of the government to ‘’take care of them’’, stressing that past and present Administrations have no reason to do so.
He stopped short of saying that the government failed to rehabilitate the refineries because of the influence of the trading Companies and their sponsors, who have won the contract to import petroleum products from the offshore refineries which are refining the country’s Crude Oil Allocation of 425,00 barrels meant for the local refineries.
The NNPC boss ,appears to have sent a signal to the trading Companies and their sponsors, that the game is over as the Corporation under his close watch has decided to take care of the refineries to put them back to work.
He may have given Nigerians hope when he said there is no scarcity of skilled people in the Corporation to do do the work , nothing that the will is there to actualize the plan. ‘’I assure you that the plans we have put in place will make the refineries to work without fear of breakdown , he told the Committee.
The NNPC helmsman , said the Lawmakers have no cause to worry about the capabilities of NNPC Engineers to do the work as Nigeria have the best refineries in the world’’.
Perhaps, to ensure an increase in Crude oil Allocation, the Senate, under the current leader of Ahmad Lawan, has moved to amend the country ‘s production Sharing Contract, PSC, with the Oil Producing Companies. Lawan, who is the Senate President , believes that the amendment of the PSC, will put more more into the coffers of the government to provide infrastructural facilities in the country and maintain the exiting ones which have dilapidated over the years.
This is bad news for Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, and the other oil producing Companies who had taken advantage of the PSC deal to shortchange the government over the years as it will lay the foundation for the passage of the Petroleum Industry bill , which had been delayed for too long.
The Senate President may have hit the nail on the head when he said the Amendment of the PSC will give the country an edge over the oil producing companies as it will have more say in the business of the oil in the oil and gas industry by contracting more investments. This year, he government has targeted an oil production of 3mbpd, before the end of 2023.
Kyari led management of NNPC , may have put in in place a number of intervention measures to achieve the target . Some of the intervention measures, according to the NNPC GMD, include the search for oil in the frontier basins which had led to the discovery of the black gold in the Gongola basin . The NNPC , GMD , is optimistic of discoveries of more oil in other basins including the Anambra platform and some part of Benue, Niger and the Chad basin, with the intensified search for oil in the basins.
The President has set a revenue target of N2.64 trillion based on the projections from the planned restructuring of the country’s Joint Venture Oil and Gas Assets and enactment of of a new PSC.It not surprising why the National Assembly has put the machinery in motion to pass the enabling legislation for these reforms in the Oil sector which the President is anxiously waiting for to sign into Law.