By Udeme Akpan
Three stakeholders – Oando PLC, Nigerian Agip Oil Company, and Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) – have expressed commitment towards the rehabilitation of the nation’s refineries.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, Group Chief Executive Officer of Oando PLC, Mr. Wale Tinubu, Managing Director of the Nigerian Agip Oil Company, Massimo Insula, and the Chief Operating Officer, Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC), Aniebor Kraghas, expressed the commitment when they appeared before the Senate ad-hoc Committee on the Planned Concession of the Port Harcourt Refinery to AGIP/ENI and Oando in Abuja.
In his presentation to the Committee, Tinubu said: “We’ve issued several rejoinder statements as well as clarifications by the NNPC, ENI, explicitly stating that there is no existing mandate for the concession, sale, equity transfer or privatization of the Port Harcourt refinery or any of the nation’s refineries.
“As a crude exporter and supplier of refined products to the country, our expression of interest in the refurbishment and upgrade of the refineries is as a funding partner. Our proposed participation in this effort is an opportunity to drive the country forward and ensure product security is realized. “We are wholly committed to the Nigerian Government’s vision to become a petroleum product self-sufficient country in the short to medium term, and ultimately be a net exporter. The Port Harcourt refinery remains a national asset, under the full control of the NNPC as far as we are aware, and there is absolutely no concession deal in place.” A Joint Upstream and Downstream Senate committee initiated a probe following reports that the Port Harcourt refinery was due to be sold via a privatization or concession exercise by the NNPC with Oando and Eni as the preferred consortium.
The ad hoc committee subsequently conducted a public hearing with labour and trade unions, host communities, and the general public in attendance.
The Chairman of the ad hoc committee, Senator Abubakar Kyari said, “We’ve heard extensive summations from all parties involved regarding this concession process. Inevitably, partnerships between the public and private sectors are necessary to provide the required funding to rehabilitate our nation’s refineries. “We are committed to due process, and in seeking to achieve these goals, sound principles of corporate governance and extant laws must be adhered to, for the greater good of the Nigerian people. Indeed, we will come up with recommendations aimed at improving transparency in the oil sector of the economy and at the same time encourage investors.”
Last year, President Muhammadu Buhari approved efforts by the Petroleum Ministry bring about partnership with relevant stakeholders for the development of the nation’s oil and gas industry.
Consequently, the Italian Government through ENI (an Italian oil and gas company indicated interest to support the rehabilitation of the country’s refineries.
Earlier this year, Dr. Kachikwu met with ENI CEO, Claudio Descalzi, to discuss further cooperation between ENI and the Nigerian government within the energy sector.
This, it was gathered culminated in the NNPC and ENI, through its local subsidiaries, Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) and Nigerian Agip Exploration (NAE), signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote new activities which would significantly boost Nigeria’s social and economic development.
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