Dangote, Elumelu Praise NNPC Under Kyari

Nigerian billionaire businessmen, Aliko Dangote and Tony Elumelu, have hailed the performance of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited under  its Group Chief Executive Officer, Mele Kyari,

Dangote, Elumelu Praise NNPC Under Kyari
Dangote, Elumelu Praise NNPC Under Kyari

According to Africa’s richest man and Chairman of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, by its sterling performance under its Group Chief Executive Officer, Mele Kyari, NNPC has what it takes to become the African version of Saudi Arabia’s Aramco.

On his part, Elumelu, who is Chairman of Heirs Holding, said NNPC deserves praise for the effort it has made to curb crude oil theft.

Speaking, yesterday, at the ongoing 2023 Upstream Investment Management Services Ltd (NUIMS) Annual Value Assurance Review (AVAR) Workshop, with the theme, ‘Consolidating for Growth in PIA Era’, Dangote said NNPC can generate billions of dollars in revenue, if right decisions are made.

He said the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) brought the transformation of NNPC from a government establishment to a commercial entity, with no recourse to government funding.

Dangote said NUIMS has a critical role to play in unlocking funding, to take advantage of huge opportunities in the sector as well as actively manage investments to repay its loans, generate reasonable returns, and fund investment in new opportunities.

He said: “I truly believe that NNPC should be our African Aramco. You have what it takes to take you up there and I am very happy. There is nothing that is impossible. You can make it possible, and don’t let anything scare you. It is just the same thing with us. If I tell you about our own story, you will be shocked. It wasn’t only the refinery that we started about six years ago. We had 32 projects that we all rolled out at the same time.

“But then, on the way, we had lots of hitches here and there, where devaluation of the currency, COVID, and challenges of infrastructure set in. If you want to do a real project in Nigeria, you have to look at the infrastructure that we have, because the infrastructure we have is not meant for mega projects.

“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, and whatever happens to NNPCL, their assets, it actually happens to us, either directly or indirectly.”

He said NNPC needs to roll out massive investments in terms of oil and gas, to meet demand, adding that there are many off-takers waiting to invest.

Dangote said a good investment manager actively seeks out investment opportunities, assesses them and takes an investment decision.

While proffering an advice, Dangote said: “Let’s begin with delivering strong returns, which, of course, is a function of price and cost. While price in your industry is determined by the market, and so, clearly outside your control, the same cannot be said about cost. More aggressive cost targets need to be adopted and NUIMS staff rewarded with juicy bonuses if they meet these targets.”

Also commending NNPC, Elumelu said due to the efforts of NNPC Ltd, Heirs Oil and Gas has witnessed 96 per cent recovery rate.

Giving insight into this, he said: “When I listened to the Group CEO speak today, talking about us moving to 2.5 million barrels, we challenged him to do more. I believe it is achievable. From losing 97 per cent of our 50,000 barrels production, interestingly, and it will be bad of me to have this platform and not share this here.

“That day, I got a call from the GCEO and I thought he was going to kill me for speaking up. To my greatest surprise, he said to me, ‘Tony, we are sorry about what is happening; we are doing something about it; it will be corrected.’

“They worked as a team, and the Board of the NNPC, the Federal Government, the security agencies, and last month our recovery factor was 96 per cent. So, GCEO NNPC, you have delivered.

“I speak from experience, a beneficiary and one who cried out before and today, standing up today to say we have improved our production and that is what we need to encourage more investments in the industry.”

In his remarks, Kyari said the challenges facing the oil and gas industry, globally, has made it compelling for the NNPC to come with more ingenious ways of doing things.

He admitted that there have been challenges with security and under-investment in recent times, adding that with the passage of the Petroleum Industry Act, NNPC is better positioned to create value for Nigerians.

The NNPC boss said: “The crux of the industry is to make sure the upstream industry works. If the upstream works, there would be cash in the country. We are in cash crunch in the country today, we are in forex crunch today because the upstream has not got to a level where we can have surplus to support the economy.

“As a company, 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 said NNPC must cooperate with its partners to solve energy challenges facing the country. According to him, it is only through collaborative efforts with its stakeholders and partners that NNPC can guarantee energy for the nation’s industrialisation.

In his speech at the event, Adokiye Tombomieye, Chief Upstream Investment Officer, said enactment of the Petroleum Industry Act (2021) came with so many expectations for NNPC Limited, which has been transformed into a fully commercial entity.

He said 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 mmbopd for NUIMS.

“There is no gainsaying that several challenges have bedeviled our operations over time, ageing facilities, obsolete technologies, evacuation challenges, high production cost, inadequate workforce, inadequate funding,” he said.

Earlier, in his address of welcome, the boss of Upstream Investment Management Services, Bala Wunti, said NUIMS currently has over $60 billion assets under its management, which has positioned it effectively to contribute significantly to development of the Nigerian economy.

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