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At 37, NNPC still battles teething hiccups

These concerns are accentuated by the fact that  poverty is increasing in the land while the vast amount of money realised from the petroleum sector…

These concerns are accentuated by the fact that  poverty is increasing in the land while the vast amount of money realised from the petroleum sector has failed to abet the situation.
In fact, to many Nigerians, NNPC has not done much to add value to the lives of the ordinary, despite the over $300 billion earned from the sale of petroleum products. Without doubt, the contribution of the oil and gas sector to the country’s economy, compared to what obtain in Brazil and Saudi Arabia can be said to be unimpressive.
But the NNPC said that through its ongoing transformation programme which started in 2004, it is poised to reposition the industry in order to deliver fast-paced value to the people.
The corporation also said the transformation agenda was aimed at achieving improved levels of international competitiveness and sustainable profitability by expanding participation in the oil and gas industry, growing Nigerian reserves and production capacity significantly and obtaining an upward review of national OPEC quota.
The agenda, it added, was also aimed at monetising Nigeria’s considerable gas assets optimally, improving Nigerian capacity and content as well as transitioning from an oil company into integrated oil and gas company.
 Today, the corporation said that following the deregulation of the downstream sector, more entrants have entered the market which occasioned increased supply of petroleum products to the nooks of the country.
This development was, however, challenged by frequent cases of pipeline vandalism with its attendant severe economic losses to Nigeria.
For instance, the NNPC had over 774 break points between August and October 2012 from Atlas Cove to Ilorin depot, while 181 break points were recorded between Atlas Cove and Mosimi depot.
It also had 421 ruptured points   from Mosimi to Ibadan within the period in view. Fifty vandalized points were recorded from Mosimi to Ore, while Ibadan and Ilorin recorded a total of 122 break points.
But the corporation said it  has revamped the PPMC Benin Depot, rehabilitated the 89.9km Warri-Benin pipeline, while Aba Depot has also been re-commissioned with the recovery of the Port Harcourt-Aba pipeline to restore product supply to the depot  .
According to the state-owned oil company, the Okrika PPMC Jetty has been rehabilitated and re-commissioned and expansion of the Atlas Cove Jetty is going on, while it  deployed state-of-the-art technology to its system 2B artery(2B Pipeline that supplies products to Mosimi, Ore, Ibadan and Ilorin Depots)   in Arepo, Ogun State with a view to maintaining comprehensive surveillance of the pipeline to check oil theft.
Specifically, an indigenous company, ENIKKOM, was mobilised to redirect the pipeline from the reach of vandals with modern technology to monitor the pipeline regularly.
Nigeria is said to be losing over $6 billion, annually, to crude oil theft. This nefarious activity has continued in large scale and has remained unprecedented in the history of Nigeria, according to the boss of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC),Mr Mutiu  Sunmonu .
The NNPC collaborated with the Federal Government to trace the stolen crude oil from Nigeria to onshore countries through scientific means and mount extensive campaign against the act in every parts of the country.
It also partnered with the Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta area to check incessant oil theft and pipeline vandalism. Large numbers of illegal refineries have been destroyed by the military in the creeks of Niger Delta
The Nigerian content industry in the upstream has increased from 10 percent of pre-enactment of the law to more than 30 percent through the partnership of the NNPC and Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDM).
It is speculated that these percentages are even higher and, in some cases, have attained 100percent. Projects believed to have high Nigerian content value include the OB3 pipeline project, Escravos Lagos pipeline phase 2,the Aba Depot  and Okrika Jetty Rehabilitation Project.
Significant discoveries have been made since appraisal drilling began in Nigeria’s deep offshore in 2003, including Shell’s Bonga field, with recoverable reserves of about one billion barrels and Chevron’s Agbami field with a potential reserve of about one billion barrels.
The National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS), a subsidiary of the NNPC, has also continued with seismic acquisition activities in the Chad Basin frontier area, despite the security challenges currently being experienced in the area.
The project was part of the 1 phased 3D seismic data acquisition programme covering 3,550 square kilometres of which Phase 5 covering 252 square kilometres has just been concluded.
The state-owned company sees the divestments of  acreages by international oil companies in Nigeria as immense opportunities for the nation’s  indigenous flagship upstream operator, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, (NPDC), to grow its capacity and capability, especially as it strives to meet the aggressive target of daily crude production of 250, 000 barrels by 2020.
The NPDC, through the NNPC, planned to invest about $6.1 bilion to boost gas production to 900 million standard cubic feet, per day, by 2018 as part of the efforts to boost electricity supply in the country.
Besides, the NNPC is also working with the government on the Eastern network project to transcend the Eastern part of the country. The infrastructure policy that is being embarked upon by the government is to ensure that in three years from now, there will be pipeline infrastructure spanning the country from the South to the North.
This, the NNPD said, will complement the government’s aspirations on gas production in Nigeria. Ige made it clear that commercial pricing for gas will be moderate and the government will not allow market forces to determine the price as it is being speculated.  
The company declared its readiness to stimulate massive industrialisation of the country through increasing the supply of natural gas for domestic use.
Nigeria’s abundant gas resources can help realise and sustain national power supply as well as increase   gas utilisation and supply to light industries and plants such as cement, fertilizer, and petrochemical plants.
Stakeholders in the oil and gas sector, however, maintain that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has still not lived to its billings as the state oil institution charged with the mandate of defining how the Federal Government regulates and participates in the country’s petroleum industry.
The 37-year-old institution is still being challenged by factors like political interference, operational challenges, paucity of funds to execute its projects as well as lack of efficiency on the part of some its personnel.
With about 10 domestic refineries, state-owned oil company like, Saudi Aramco recently planned to invest over $35 billion over the next five years in crude oil exploration and development. It also said it is planning to increase its conventional gas supplies by almost 250 percent soon.
   Brazil’s Petrobas controls oil and energy assets in 18 countries in Africa, North America, South America, Europe and Asia. These holdings as well as properties in Brazil give it total assets of $137.3 billion in 2012.
Stakeholders also cited the recent fuel and kerosene subsidy    controversies and the queues in filling stations, nationwide, as issues the 37-year-old institution ought to surpass.
Nigerians are still at sea over the continuous importation of petroleum products into the country, despite abundant deposit of hydro-carbon resources here. They say the war against pipeline vandalism and crude oil theft is not being effective fought by the NNPC as the practice is bleeding the nation’s economy.
People still wonder why the refineries are still where they are and the planned green field refineries by the NNPC remain far from coming on board.
Nigerians are also disturbed about the inefficiency and clear lack of commitment of the NNPC staff in attempt to reposition the organisation.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Senator Magnus Abe, decried the political interference in the affairs of the corporation, saying that is a major impediment to  the NNPC’s operation.
Lagos Chairman of PENGASSAN, Comrade Foluso Oginni, however, told our correspondent that it is not enough to dub the NNPC as a failed institution .He said with its crops of professionals, the NNPC has actually done well and improved the nation’s economy.
According to him, these professionals would do better than their contemporaries in state-owned oil institutions if given the right environment and encouragement by the Federal Government.
He also said the apparent lost war on crude oil theft should rather be blamed on security agencies that are yet to provide a master plan on how best to resolve the menace.
Recently, the NNPC said it planned to repair the three refineries with the sum of N152 billion, ensure significant improvement in the nation’s refining capacity and transform the nation’s oil and gas industry.
No doubt, Nigerians want a NNPC that can hold its own. They want a state oil institution that can stand shoulder high with Malaysia’s Petronas, Indonesia’s Pertamina and Brazil’s Petrobas.
Hopefully, the passage of Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) into law will  revolutionise the NNPC and make it become the oil  company that Nigerians want it to be.

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