By CHIKA IZUORA, Lagos and FESTUS OKOROMADU, Abuja
In line with the presidential mandate of rehabilitating the nation’s three refineries, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has inaugurated eight committees charged with the responsibility of returning the refineries to their nameplate capacities by the year 2019.
The committees inaugurated for the rehabilitation of the refineries would be headed by a steering committee chaired by the group managing director (GMD) of the corporation, Dr. Maikanti Baru.
The committees are Rehabilitation, Stakeholder Management, Financing, Legal, Procurement, Pipeline and Crude Oil Supply and Security as well as Staffing and Succession Planning.
While inaugurating the committees, Baru charged them to deploy “out of the box solutions” to ensure that the refineries return to their good old days of top class performance.
“I am convinced that the teams we have selected here today will give the necessary direction towards returning the refineries back to their optimal levels of performance”, the GMD told members of the committees.
He explained that in executing the assignment, the committees are expected to deliver well and within schedule as, according to him, time is of the essence.
Although the target for the refineries rehabilitation was to return them to 90 per cent capacity utilisation before the end of 2019, Baru stressed that with more commitment from the committees, 100 per cent capacity utilization was achievable.
“We want to show everyone that we can fully run the refineries. You must all work together to operate them at 100 per cent capacity as this was the only way to ensure profitability”, he stated.
The GMD also emphasized the importance of the workforce, saying “we can fix the refineries but without the right people to operate them, they would go back to where they were or even worse”.
Earlier, the chief operating officer, refineries and petrochemicals at NNPC, Engr. Anibor Kragha, noted that there was both the political will and the economic climate to ensure effective retrofitting of the refineries.
He further said that over 28 Expressions of Interest had been received so far for the financing of the rehabilitation project and that the goal was to get more by the end of the year.
Assuring everyone that the nation would not suffer financially from the project, the COO explained that the approved financial model would guarantee payment to partners only from incremental profits. “Payment is therefore hinged on performance, ensuring a win-win situation for Nigeria”, Kragha said.
Speaking on behalf of the committees, chief financial officer of the corporation, Mr. Isiaka Abdulrazaq, reminded members of the newly inaugurated committees that the rehabilitation of the refineries was one of the targets of the President Buhari administration.
Abdulrazaq expressed confidence in every member of the committees to deliver on their various tasks.
NNPC Defers 700,000bpd Crude Oil Production Over Sabotage
Meanwhil, the NNPC yesterday said over 700,000 barrels per day of crude oil was deferred in 2016 due to pipeline sabotage.
According to a statement signed in Abuja by the GMD of NNPC, Dr Maikanti Baru, the sabotage caused Nigeria’s production to drop to as low as 1.3 million barrels per day from 2.2 million barrels targeted for the period.
He also stated that from January 2017 till date, the NNPC had recorded 27 breaching incidents on the Trans Niger Pipeline (TNP), adding that for the Trans Forcados Pipeline (TFP), with a capacity of 300,000bpd, 17 breaches were recorded in 2016.
Baru declared that from that year-to-date, NNPC had suffered at least 15 breaching incidents on the TFP.
He disclosed that the government was working out a political solution to the socially-induced-agitation sabotage, while the law enforcement agencies had been empowered to deal with those who engage in pipeline vandalism out of criminality such as oil theft.
He listed some of the measures deployed by NNPC to stem the tide of pipeline vandalism to include Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) technology to bury pipelines deeper to prevent easy accessibility; technology-based pipeline surveillance mechanism with capability to detect, alert and deny access and aerial monitoring and marine patrols by the Military Joint Tax Force (JTF).
Baru further urged all key players in the sector to proffer solutions to the pipeline vandalism challenge confronting the country as it poses a great threat to the Nigerian economy in terms of revenue loss and environmental degradation.
He said, “The foregoing summarizes the effect of pipeline vandalism and therefore underscores the importance of protecting our pipeline system and treating them as National Assets.
“On the strength of that, we must endeavor to carry out a systematic diagnosis and proffer workable, practicable and actionable solutions that will guarantee sustainability of pipeline infrastructure”.