24 March 2014, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, has denied reports that it chartered aircraft for the personal use of the Minister of Petroleum Resources Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, who is also chairman of board of the corporation.
In a press statement denying the reports, signed the Acting Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Dr. Omar Farouk Ibrahim, the NNPC stated that it has not chartered any aircraft for the exclusive use of the minister or any other official of the corporation.
The statement however noted that in consonance with the legal instrument which established the NNPC as a commercial entity, the corporation, “in the course of discharging its statutory and commercial functions, engages third parties for the provision of services outside of its core business”.
It further asserted: “There is nothing prohibiting NNPC from owning or chartering an aircraft. On the contrary, by the enabling legislation, NNPC is empowered to ‘hold, manage and alienate moveable and immovable property and enter into contracts or partnerships with any company, form or persons which in the opinion of the Corporation will facilitate the discharge of the said duties under this Act.
“Operations in the oil and gas sector are time sensitive and often require prompt attention, which cannot be achieved using regular scheduled flights. It is standard practice for large oil and gas Corporation such as NNPC to make use of the most efficient means of transportation to ensure the effective and efficient coverage of the vast scope of critical oil and gas assets under their purview.
“NNPC has always availed itself of the use of owned or chartered aircraft for the purpose of its business, which includes the transportation of its top functionaries.
“In this regard, it is pertinent to note that the international oil companies operating in joint ventures with NNPC, regularly charter aircraft as dictated by the exigencies of their business. Indeed some have moved from owning their own aircraft to suing the charter opinion. Other national oil companies, such as Sonangol of Angola, have also chosen the charter option.
“The advantages of the charter option include zero capital and maintenance costs resulting in a lower financial outlay and thus an improved cash flow”.