By Mohammed Salihu Danlami
From all indication, Mallam Mele Kolo Kyari, the Group Managing Director of the then Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and now the Group Chief Executive Officer of The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd) is undeniably a game changer. He is a hard working gentle man with a perfect magical touch, full of versatile knowledge, ideas and experience, which he has used to transform the NNPC from what it was to an exceptional power house in Africa and the world over.
Immediately he assumed office as the 19th GMD of the then NNPC, this focused and visionary leader rolled out what he called TAPE (Transparency, Accountability and Performance Excellence) a blue print to ensure the continuous success of the NNPC both at home and overseas. Just few years into his stewardship, Kyari has made significant increase to the national crude oil reserves to achieve the 40,000 billion barrel target through focus and commitment. The NNPC GCEO has pushed up exploration work in some basins and drilling of certain oil wells. The drilling of Kolmano River II & III wells, Seismic data collection in the Bida and Sokoto Basins are a few examples.
With the national crude oil reserves on the high side, the nation’s oil production was pursued with one sole aim, which was to boost its production to a target of three million barrels daily, through peaceful negotiations. Similarly, production shortages revolving around oil blocks were dealt with, while sabotage that were decreasing the country’s oil production were accurately managed. With respect to the country’s oil production, Kyari led NNPC LTD to a future investment worth N10bn for the development of the Bonga South-East Field after reaching a peaceful conclusion and agreement of a deep offshore block, OML 118.
The GCEO has led the NNPC LTD to secure a number of alternative funding facilities for the NPDC and some of the Joint Ventures projects to facilitate further development of assets. These include the N875.75m NPDC OML 65 Alternative Funding and Technical Services package with CMES-OMS Petroleum Development Company and the $3.15bn Alternative Financing Package with Sterling Exploration and Energy Production Company Limited (SEEPCO) and other partners for the development of NPDC’s OML 13.
To reduce the burden of petrol importation, Kyari made sure the NNPC LTD keyed into the decade of gas initiative, led by Timipre Sylva, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, to launch the autogas initiative. Kyari’s foresight led him to investing heavily in the gas sector with a bid to effectively changing the nation’s trajectory to a gas driven economy. This was done with the signing of NLNG Train 7 project, a future promising project, with the hope of delivering over $20bn in revenue to the government and creation of 50,000 direct and indirectly jobs. With the Russia-Ukraine crisis, Nigeria is now on the verge of being one of the world’s largest gas exporting country all over Africa and Europe.
It is also on record that the Kyari led NNPC LTD saw the successful commencement of the construction of the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) gas pipeline project with a saving of $300m from the initial amount. The AKK project has the capacity of making available around 2.2 billion cubic feet of gas per day with expansion of the pipeline systems to double delivery capacity from 1.5BCF/D to over 3.5BCF/D.
In order to fully cater for the demands of gas domestically, the GCEO also commissioned the Oredo Integrated Gas Handling Facility (IGHF) and the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Storage and Dispensing Unit, with the ability to deliver over 200 million standard cubic feet of dry gas per day and 330 metric tonnes of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (cooking gas) which is equivalent of 16 units of 20 tonnes LPG trucks per day into the domestic market.
Similarly, Kyari saw to the Final Investment Decision (FID) of the Brass Fertiliser and Petrochemical Company for the $3.6bn Brass Methanol Plant in Odioma, Bayelsa State. He also spearheaded another investment with the signing of a $260m financing agreement for the Assa-North Ohaji South (ANOH) Gas Project with Seplat, promising about 300 million standard cubic feet of gas per day and 1,200 megawatts of electricity to the domestic market. The NNPC Boss also facilitated the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) Grant which will assist in the upgrade of 1350MW Abuja Independent Power Project to World Bank Standard for bankability.
Since Nigeria relies heavily on petroleum products importation, proper measures were needed to manage its importation, supply and distribution to get to Nigerians without difficulties where ever they may be within the country, hence Kyari introduced the “Operation White” which has ensured a steady fuel supply. This explains the fastest detection of the root cause of fuel scarcity that hit the country in the early months of this year. It was quickly detected that there were cargoes with high methanol content. Immediately, the menthanol blended petrol cargoes were removed from the market and this was what created the vacuum that led to petrol scarcity.
In response to the scarcity, under the leadership of Kyari, the NNPC LTD imported huge quantity of petrol that bridge the supply gap created and in no time, normalcy was returned and the scarcity disappeared.
The rehabilitation of refineries is another key area where Kyari has performed very well, investing billions for the reviving of the long deteriorating refineries that have been in a state of neglect. The Port Harcourt, Kaduna and Warri refineries are all marked for rehabilitation. This, he did, to reduce the cost of importing petroleum products for the country and create more jobs for the teeming youths.
The NNPC has also invested in the Dangote Refinery, which is set to produce 650, 000 barrels of crude petroleum daily, making it the largest such refinery in the world. As such, it will meet the country’s demand for 57 million litres of petrol per day, 27 million litres of diesel daily, 11 million litres of kerosene daily and nine million litres of aviation jet per day.
It is instructive to say that this investment is timely and in tune with the new direction and structure of the NNPC as a public limited liability company. Furthermore, this will strengthen the domestic refining capacity and improve petroleum products supply from local refineries. This is one of the six refineries in which the NNPC LTD seeks to invest in line with the vision of improving domestic refining capacity, strengthening petroleum products supply from our local refineries and becoming a net exporter of petroleum products to give the economy a more solid boost.
Kyari also provided an oil reservoir to save the country in-terms of its needs untill things revert back to normal. Under his watch, the passage of the Petroleum Industry Act came to be, after the country has not been able have this legislation for almost two decades despite its importance. The Petroleum Industry Act provides for the transitioning of the NNPC into a fully commercial entity, a Limited Liability Company incorporated under the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), known as the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd.
Just as the World Bank had advised, Kyari believes that subsidy removal, though a tough decision, will end up helping the government financially and doing more good to the economy, as it will boost investments across the oil and gas sector.
In the area of financial transparency, Kyari had made public the audited financial statements of the NNPC LTD, with the Company recording its first ever profit in its 44 years history. Subsequently, the management continued with the Publication of the Corporation’s Monthly Financial & Operations Reports (MFOR) in line with his TAPE vision, thus placing the NNPC LTD as the only national oil company that publishes its financial and operations reports monthly globally.
As far as Transparency is concerned, the GCEO spearhead the enlisting of the NNPC LTD with the Global Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative as an EITI Supporting Company which places NNPC LTD in the group of over 65 extractive companies, state owned enterprises that commit to observing transparency and accountability standards defined by EITI.
The Kyari’s stewardship also saw the construction and rehabilitation of 21 roads under the FG’s Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme. Provision of jobs and inclusion of relevant stakeholders is another area the GCEO has placed his magical touches, aside recruitment of over a thousand graduate trainees. Indigenous Nigerians were also engaged in carrying out jobs for the NNPC LTD.
Still under the able leadership of Mallam Mele Kolo Kyari, the NNPC has commenced the construction of a 50-megawatt gas turbine power plant, the Maiduguri Emergency Power Project (MEPP), expected to generate electricity to the capital city and its environs following the sabotage of the existing facilities by insurgents.
The GCEO’s achievements have reflected in all areas, even outside the oil and gas sector as during the outbreak of the COVID 19 pandemic, he facilitated the sum of N21bn from the oil and gas sector to support the COVID-19 fight. Under the leadership of Kyari, 26 per cent of the fund was deployed for the provision of logistics and in-patient support equipment such as ambulances, ventilators, isolation centres, etc.
Other notable achievements of the exceptional NNPC GCEO include, implementation of various International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) 9, 15 and 16 across NNPC LTD Group to ensure regulatory compliance as well as implementation of the Centralized Invoice Processing System, integration of systems, applications and products to Remitta, SAP Funds management and issued conditions for financial autonomy of NNPC LTD SBU.
The GCEO’s administration has also inaugurated the NNPC LTD Delivery Team charged with the responsibility of ensuring the effective performance tracking of top five priorities across the business as well as launching the NNPC LTD Code of Conduct and Tip Portal. Also, Kyari launched the Nigerian Upstream Cost Optimization Programme (NUCOP) to drive down the cost of crude oil production in the country so as to remain competitive in the global market.
These are some of the achievements of the GMD for the period he has steered the ship of the NNPC LTD. Indeed, the GCEO is the best man for the Job. To his credit, he has received award for the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd, the Leadership Newspapers Group Chief Executive Officer of the year award for 2021, Sun Man of the year and CEO of the year at the African Energy Awards.
A winner of the Prestigious African Leadership Magazine’s 2020, Special African Business Leadership Award and a recipient of Honorary Doctorate Degree of Engineering. Kyari is surely not the first GMD of the NNPC, but he has certainly proven himself to be the best, using his vast wealth of experience to revolutionise the oil and gas sector, showing exemplary, unique and rare leadership style. These qualities fully explains all the efforts, sacrifices, transparency, the GCEO is making to transform the oil and gas sector to a standard that can stand the challenges of this present time.
Indeed, with Kyari, the dream, hope and vision of leading the oil and gas sector in the continent and around the world is not only alive but close to realization