By Samson Echenim
State oil company, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), says its data-focused programme tagged “Operation White” is helping Nigeria with budgeting and planning, as it provides accurate analytical data that shows the exact energy needs of the country.
Speaking with journalists while touring the expo section of the Oil Trading and Logistics (OTL) Africa, shortly after declaring the conference open at the Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island Lagos, Bala Wunti, managing director for Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC), said the ministry of petroleum remained committed to ensuring energy security for Nigerians and their business and in ensuring that the country meets her 40 billion barrel oil reserve by 2025.
Wunti who represented Adeyemi Adetunji, chief operating officer for downstream activities at the NNPC also took time to field journalists questions regarding regarding the downstream sector.
He said the “Operation White” was also a response to the need to create a digital platform for blocking of leakages in downstream.
He said, “Over the years, NNPC has always been an enabler. because of the capital intensive nature of some of these endeavours, NNPC has to spearhead and forbear certain enablers for the industry to move on. As we learnt from Operation White, which is basically a data capture initiative whereby we authenticate whatever we are bringing in and whatever we are consuming. That way we can have data for planning, budgeting and ensure that Nigeria is paying only what the citizens are consuming.
“We try to block the leakages, including cross border smuggling and some others. These are some of the initiatives we are taking that are beneficial to the industry. The benefit to the industry is that everybody will now earn, everybody will reap benefit of his investment and that is what NNPC is providing for all the downstream players across the value chain.”
He noted that the need for a connection between the regulator and the regulated necessitated the OTL summit.
“Nigeria is growing and the evolution is on and we are part of the global space. We know what is happening today. There is automation; there is artificial intelligence; data analytics and all the predictions that we need to do and what OTL has come to do. OTL has put together, people of common understanding, thought leaders and industry leaders to come together and collaborate with regulators so that we can shape up what shapes the actual performance of the future of the downstream industry in line with the global landscape,” he noted.
On freeing of the downstream market, he said the template in place was dynamic.
According to him, it is supposed to reflect the reality and the evolution in the industry, “but what is happening today is basically different from what happened yesterday.”
“The PPPRA is examining the current template and they intend to put in every measure to ensure equity across the value chain in terms of value distribution. That will happen and it will happen very soon. The NNPC is collaborating with them and part of Operation White is the need to generate data that will support that decision so that government will make that decision based on very reliable and accurate data,” he added.
Wunti said the vision of the minister of petroleum remained that “he wants to ensure a very efficient industry; he wants to bring about reserve growth.”
“We have a target to have 40 billion barrel of oil reserve. We want to make sure that we attain three million barrel of oil production and we that the downstream work and work for Nigeria to ensure energy security. We also give commitment to Nigerians that through the Operation White, all the issues about what we are consuming will be a thing of the past. “The minister is going to provide transparency and accountability and ensure energy security for all and sundry and support us in all our businesses,” he said.
Also speaking on the coming yuletide, Wunti stated, “We have plans for yuletide. Obviously in logistics there are hitches but we have planned for it; what we have done is to employ business continuity plan whereby we will be able to quickly recover from any shock and you can see some of the discussions already. We have a very robust platform in terms of supply and distribution; we are able to respond quickly. We will continue to be vigilant,and urge everyone to report what ever that can negatively affect accessibility of energy by all Nigerians. We are ready and we are ready for the yuletide season and beyond.”
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