The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) now churns out press releases almost every day on its activities; a departure from the past when the corporation’s operation was shrouded in secrecy. Previously, little or no news emanated from the information unit of the corporation, but now the unit is super-active.
The NNPC made the security of pipeline the responsibility of private individuals for no justifiable reason other than outright shirking of the duty of the police and navy, but according to an analyst, the step was a measure to placate kinsmen and political allies. Now it is no more business as usual.
Several years of alibi for why the country could not refine crude in its refineries, and undue dependence on imported fuel suddenly seems to be coming to an end as the refineries have become functional.
The body language of the Presidency and the changes already made, point to how the corporation can flourish in the next four years. President Muhammadu Buhari’s first action to transforming the NNPC, was the removal of a near dormant Group Managing Director (GMD), Dr. Joseph Dawha. It was either the former NNPC boss was bereft of ideas about how to run the corporation or someone weighed him down, and made the office suffer neglect.
But on August 3, Buhari returned the corporation to the path of revival , competitiveness and profitability with the appointment of Dr, Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu as the new NNPC and the retirement of eight Group Executive Directors ( GEDs) namely: Mr. Bernard Otti, GED Finance and Accounts; Dr. Timothy Okon, Acting GED Exploration and Production, who also doubles as Coordinator, Corporate Planning & Strategy; Engr. Adebayo Ibirogba, Engineering and Technology; Dr. David Ige, Gas and Power; Ms. Aisha Abdurrahman, Commercial and Investment; Dr. Dan Efebo, Corporate Services; Engr. Ian Udoh, Refining & Petrochemicals; and Dr. Attahiru Yusuf, Business Development.
Prior to their retirement, analysts were already clamouring that the Presidency should purge NNPC of all the players that have run it like a personal business. The populace was tired of the mystery that surrounded the operation of the corporation and the deluge of fraudulent allegations.
The media were awash with various stories of mismanagement and corruption in the Corporation, which made the cleansing of the top echelon necessary.
The Presidency in a one fell swoop pruned the directorates from eight to four. With the approval of the presidency four new GEDs and Chief Executive Officers were appointed for some of the NNPC subsidiaries. Those appointed were Dr. Maikanti Baru, Group Executive Director, Exploration & Production; Mr. Isiaka Abdulrazaq, Group Executive Director, Finance & Services; Engr. Dennis Nnamdi Ajulu, Group Executive Director, Refining & Technology; and Dr. Babatunde Victor Adeniran, Group Executive Director, Commercial & Investment.
New Company Secretary/Legal Adviser and Managing Directors were also appointed for the Strategic Business Units (SBUs). They are Chidi Momah, Group General Manager, Company Secratarty & Legal Adviser; Mrs. Esther Nnamdi Ogbue, Managing Director, Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC); Engr. Chinedu Ezeribe, Managing Director, Warri Refinning & Petrochemicals Company (WRPC); Mr. Babatunde Bakare, Managing Director, Nigerian Gas Company (NGC); Mr. Inuwa Ibrahim Waya, Managing Director, Hyson; Mr. Abubakar Mai-Bornu, Managing Director, Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC); and Mr. Ladipo Fagbola, Managing Director, NNPC Retail.
Others are: Mr. Rowland Ewubare, Managing Director, Integrated Data Services Ltd (IDSL); Mr. Modupe Bammeke, Managing Director, NNPC Prpoerties; Mr. Abdulkadir Saidu, Managing Director, Duke Oil; and Mr. Dafe Sejebor, Group General Manager, Nigerian Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS).
Besides his intimidating curriculum vitae, it was evident that Kachikwu’s job was already cut out for him with strident terms of reference. With his private sector background, he has started running the corporation with his eyes on profit for the benefit of the citizenry. His actions since assumption of office on August 4 have shown that he is ready to live long in the hearts of Nigerians. Critics, especially labour economists, may view the reduction of the Directorates from eight to four and the retirement of 38 top management staff as inimical to the economy, especially now that there is global economic downturn. But the GMD’s explanation is that he wants to reposition the NNPC. The new NNPC, according to him, should take a leap from its civil servant orientation to a business-driven entity. With this conception, he has employed 12 personnel from the private sector to jump-start a new business outlook to intensify operational space as a profit-driven business.
The Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Mr. Ohi Alegbe clearly explained this in a statement saying: “the new appointments are in line with the Federal Government’s aspiration to transform the Corporation into a lean, efficient, business-focused, transparent and accountable national oil company in keeping with international best practices.”
Besides, one thing, however, goes for him, his principal, President Buhari, is also bent on leaving indelible legacies in the country’s oil and gas sector. He has demystified the longstanding politics of turnaround maintenance without results without results. Surprisingly, NNPC on July 29 announced that the Port Harcourt and Warri refineries have been successfully re-streamed after a nine-month phased rehabilitation exercise conducted by its in-house engineers and technicians.
The Corporation said with the successful re-streaming of the PHRC and WRPC attention has now moved to the 110, 000 barrels per day Kaduna Refining and Petrochemicals Company, which is billed to come on stream soon.”
Kachikwu has also vowed that all Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) and Joint Venture Agreements and all other contracts between the NNPC and its various partners would be reviewed to reflect current day realities in the global oil and gas industry. The decision, according to him, is to put in place efficient, transparent and profit-oriented processes and not to embark on a mass retrenchment of the workforce.
The Corporation has cancelled the current contract for supply of crude to Nigerian refineries due to exorbitant cost and inappropriate process of engagement and appointed NIDAS Marine Limited to handle the job in the interim. It also terminated the Offshore Processing Agreement (OPA), entered into with Duke Oil Company Inc., Aiteo Energy Resources Limited and Sahara Energy Resources Nigeria Limited and the process of engaging new contractors is ongoing.