Aliko Dangote, chairman of the Dangote Group, and Tony Elumelu, chairman of Heirs Holding, have praised the performance of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) under the leadership of Mele Kyari, its group chief executive officer.
Speaking on Wednesday at the ongoing 2023 NNPC Upstream Investment Management Services Limited (NUIMS) Annual Value Assurance Review (AVAR) Workshop, themed: “Consolidating for Growth in PIA Era”, Dangote said NNPCL has what it takes to become the African version of Saudi Arabia’s Aramco, adding that it can generate billions of dollars in revenue if the right decisions are made.
“The Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) transformed NNPC from a government establishment to a commercial entity with no recourse to government funding,” Dangote said.
“We need to look at our infrastructure and see how we can take ourselves to the next level, and it has to be driven by NNPC because they are the largest conglomerate. Whatever happens to NNPCL assets affects us directly or indirectly.”
Africa’s richest man added that the state oil company needs to roll out massive investments in oil and gas to meet demand, adding that many off-takers are waiting to invest.
According to him, NUIMS has a critical role in unlocking funding to take advantage of the sector’s huge opportunities and actively manage the investments to repay its loans, generate reasonable returns, and fund investment in new opportunities.
On his part, Elumelu said that Heirs Oil & Gas has witnessed 96 percent recovery rate due to the efforts of the NNPCL, FG and security agencies. The chairman added that NNPCL deserves praise for curbing crude oil theft.
In his remarks, Kyari said the global challenges facing the oil and gas industry have made it compelling for the NNPC to develop more ingenious ways of doing things.
He admitted that there have been challenges with security and underinvestment recently, adding that with the passage of the PIA, the NNPC is better positioned to create value for Nigerians.
“The industry’s crux is to ensure the upstream industry works. If the upstream works, there would be cash in the country. We are in a cash and forex crunch today because the upstream has not reached a level where we can have a surplus to support the economy,” he said.
“NNPC is leading this process, we are required to ensure that production cost is optimum, we have interest in nearly every business in the upstream sector and even in the midstream, and our performance determines what happens in the industry. We are in a position to go back to normalcy.”
Kyari added that NNPC must cooperate with its partners to solve the energy challenges facing the country, as, according to him, it is only through collaborative efforts with its stakeholders and partners that the NNPC can guarantee energy for the nation’s industrialisation.
In his speech at the event, Adokiye Tombomieye, Chief Upstream Investment Officer, said the enactment of the PIA came with so many expectations for NNPC Limited, which has been transformed into a fully commercial entity.
“The oil and gas reserve base in Nigeria is enormous as available data indicate that the current crude oil and condensates production of 1.210 million barrels per day as of April has fallen short of the desired aspirations of 1.395 million barrels per day for NUIMS,” Tombomieye said.
“There is no gain in saying that several challenges have be-devilled our operations over time, ageing facilities, obsolete technologies, evacuation challenges, high production cost, an inadequate workforce, inadequate funding.”
In his welcome address, Bala Wunti, head, of NUIMS, said the company has over $60bn assets under its management which has positioned it effectively to contribute significantly to the development of the Nigerian economy.
“We have assets under management that are $60bn, and out of these assets, we are expected to produce so much hydrocarbon in a very difficult environment, and that hydrocarbon we will produce tends to achieve the things NNPC has set as responsibility,” he said.