BY Onome Amuge & Habeeb Ahmed
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited has assured that plans are underway towards a significant upscale in operations underpinned by its evolution into a Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) entity, which is expected to elevate its position as not just a premier oil firm, but also one with an expanded capacity to compete favourably with private sector players in the oil industry, making it a foremost partner of choice for investors in the industry.
Mele Kyari, group managing director of the state-owned company, made this known while addressing heads of private oil companies and other stakeholders at the 21st Nigeria Oil and Gas (NOG) Conference and Exhibition tagged “Funding the Nigerian Energy Mix for Sustainable Economic Growth”.
Kyari, while informing that the firm would adopt best global practices in its operations and implement a new ambitious business-like approach in acquiring as many oil and gas assets as possible, with the mindset to become one of the biggest oil firms in the world, reiterated that President Muhammadu Buhari would unveil the new NNPC Limited on July 19,
Dwelling on the fact that the firm is currently unable to meet its projections in terms of statutory funding for the federation account, oil production quota, petrol supply adequacy, and even basic refining capacity, Kyari expressed optimism that all the challenges would be fully addressed following NNPC’s transition into a CAMA entity.
The transition, he explained, would be regulated in line with the provisions of the CAMA, placing it in a better position as a partner of choice to all oil and gas companies globally.
“On 1st of July, we crossed over to the NNPC Limited both technically and financially in every aspect. Not only that, on the 19th of July, I’m inviting all of you to be present as Mr. President will unveil the NNPC Limited to all of us on the 19th of July,” Kyari said.
“The meaning of this to our industry is that you’re going to have the partner of choice, the partner that will support you, the partner that will be the largest capitalised company in Africa. Not only that, a partner that will be born of best practice, of everything that you can think of because we’re going to be a CAMA company,“ he said.
According to Kyari, the national oil company will operate just like Shell, Waltersmith, and other international oil & gas corporations, by ensuring that management is well structured to enable ease in decision-making and finance.
The NNPC chief executive further said the company would continue to leverage the huge gas reserves in the country towards deepening natural gas utilisation to reduce energy poverty, and boost investment in clean energy technology and products.
Commenting on Nigeria’s gas production, he said, “We are the number three gas producer (In Africa). We shouldn’t be number three, we should be number one because the number one in assets and reserves should also be number one producer. But you can’t do this except you have the right financing to put in place and all the technology you need to produce the gas.”
Kyari also admitted that there had been a decline in the oil industry, noting that a large number of oil companies are currently not drilling oil, except NNPC and a few of its other partners.
“So if you don’t drill and decline continues, you are not only going to see the effect of theft and other challenges we are seeing today, you are also going to see the collateral effect of lack of investments.
“And it’s very understandable that no one wants to put their money to produce for somebody to pick it up along the path. That’s very obvious. But more than anything else, the complication actually came before the security challenges,” he said.
He, therefore, charged industry players to reset their financing strategies and ensure that companies and multilateral institutions are fully engaged in a manner that ultimately boosts investment in the oil industry.