With a promise to reactivate all four refineries before the expiration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in 2023, Mele Kyari yesterday took the baton from Dr. Makanti Baru as the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
He also pledged his readiness to work towards the delivery of the Dangote Refinery by the first quarter of next year.
Kyari plans to ensure that Nigeria achieves its production target of three million barrel per day and also grow its reserve to 40 million barrels.
The four refineries – Port Harcourt Refinery & Petrochemical (1 & 2); Warri Refinery & Petrochemical and Kaduna Refinery & Petrochemical – have installed capacity to produce 445,000 barrels per day. They have been on and off for technical reasons.
The NNPC chief said: “It is the intention of NNPC to support the industry to make sure we achieve production level of three million barrels per day and grow our reserves to at least 40 million barrels. We will achieve this and it is possible. I have already set the time for it. We will do it before 2023.”
Kyari spoke at the amphitheater of the NNPC in Abuja, where Baru handed over to him.
His words: “There is a legitimate expectation from Nigerians that why can we be oil producing country with four refineries and yet importing sometimes 100% of our requirement.
“I will follow it up to make sure that before the life of this administration expires, before Baba’s (President Muhammadu) tenure ends in 2023, we will deliver on the four refineries.”
The NNPC, under Kyari, will encourage private sector participation in revamping the refineries.
“We support the Dangote Refinery to make sure they come on stream within the shortest time. I cannot say for them but the last information we had was that they will come on stream the first quarter of 2020. We will support them with everything possible to make sure it comes on stream,” the new chief said.
Kyari said that with the modular refineries coming on board, Nigeria would become a net exporter of petroleum products at the expiration of President Buhari’s tenure.
According to him, products can now be bought without going to NNPC but what is left is taking it from the gate into the tank. “At the end of the day, you will sit on your bed, buy petroleum product and deliver it to your filling station,” Kyari said.
He spoke of fighting corruption, saying: “There will be no corruption where there is no discretion. We are going to work with the EFCC to take out corruption from our system. Leadership is about trust, I also know that there is eternal accountability we respond to. We will not make deliberate mistakes.”
Continuing, he said that he would do his job with integrity without allowing his personal interest to betray him.
Kyari hinged his decision to be upright in the discharge of his duty on the fact that he would one day give account of his stewardship to God.
His words: “I will stand before my creator and say I have done well.”
According to him, the corporation will henceforth become accountable to the citizens.
He said: “It is a promise that we are going to be accountable to the citizens. The citizens will have access to what we are doing.”
But putting a caveat, he said that unless on commercial value ground, “we will disclose every data. But we will discuss every data at the appointed time.”
Warning his children, Kyari urged them not to accept any gift from anyone on his behalf.
His words: “From today, if you accept gift from anyone, it is not for me; don’t give gift to members of my family. It is not for me.”
Kyari said he never prayed for the job, stressing that the opportunity could only come from God. The NNPC boss said that there are other personnel with better grades and 40 PhD holders who are also qualified for the seat, but providence only saddled him with the responsibility.
According to him, at a point in his service, his predecessor (Baru) was simply signing his requests without reading them because he had earned his trust.
He has no illusion that the journey ahead would be easy.
Baru, who became the 18th GMD of NNPC in 2016, told the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, that the corporation’s records under his watch were clean.
He said: ”I look back with pride, recalling that kerosene was gold, diesel a nightmare; nobody talks about them now.”
Baru urged his successor to ensure regular audits of his books, reminding him of the need to focus on oil and gas development, especially in the frontier basins, and opening up of new fields.
He said: “The new GMD should rigorously focus on the growth of oil and gas production and reserve through aggressive exploration campaign in the traditional basins and frontier basins, opening up of deep offshore through negotiation of fiscal terms.
“You should focus on passionately continuing empathic community and stakeholder engagement in the Niger Delta and other areas of operations; continuing cost reduction initiatives and contracting cycle reduction; completion of negotiations of the new PSC terms and Renew licenses early, if necessary thereafter.”
He also advised Kyari on the implementation of the PSC Dispute Settlement Agreements and the Gas Terms.
Baru advised Kyari to focus on exploration to grow reserves in the Niger Delta, Frontier Basins and Deep Offshore.
He spoke also on the completion of the cash call repayment and cash call exit programme.
The former GMD urged Kyari to see to complete the migration to IJV in all the unincorporated JVs.
Other areas that Baru counselled his successor to focus on included:
completion of the financing arrangements for NPDC assets (OMLs 65, 111, 119, 66 and 64).re-entering and developing OMLs 13 and 11 discretionarily awarded to NPDC.
targeting growth to 500kbopd within existing assets while looking for new opportunities to surpass the target.
Baru reminded Kyari that NNPC’s mission statement was changed to reflect the vision of transforming it into an energy company, in line with the prevailing trend in the industry and its forays into renewables and power.
Baru wore a navy blue suit and a long cap with NNPC red, white, yellow and green logo.
Kyari was dressed in a blue agbada and a cap to match. Upon the handover of the corporation to him, Baru crowned him with the symbolic NNPC transition cap.
The change of bation was witnessed by 10 former GMDs as Festus Marinho; Funso Kupoluko; Dr. Thomas John; Joseph Darwa; Abubakar Yalam and Chambalain Oyinbo and others.
Also present were: Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi, Magu; Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Executive Secretary Dr. Waziri Adio; “Daily Trust” Publisher Kabiru Yusuf and his “Leadership” counterpart, Nda Isaiah, among others.