*May slash fuel price next month
09 March 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Federal Government has announced the unbundling of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, into four units in a major restructuring of the 39-year-old oil and gas behemoth.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, who announced the new structure at a briefing in Abuja yesterday, said President Muhammadu Buhari approved the restructuring.
He said, “The new NNPC comprises a lean headquarters and four autonomous business units.”
And in the wake of protests by the two major unions in the oil and gas industry, Kachikwu assured that the restructuring will not lead to job losses.
The four units are Upstream Company, Downstream Company, Refinery Company and Gas/ Power Company.
According to him, the Upstream Company will now comprise of NPDC and the IDSL. The Downstream Company consists of Retail, PPMC and NPSC, the Refinery Company consists of WRPC, KRPC and PHRC while the Gas and Power is now made up of NGPTC, NGMC and Gas and Power Investment.
Kachikwu said the Federal Government has approved the appointment of Chief Executives Officers for the companies: They are Bello Rabiu as CEO of the Upstream Company; Henry Iken Obih for Downstream; Anibor Kragha for Refineries and Saidu Mohammed for Gas and Power.
He explained that their movements were part of his strategy to ensure that each of the former GEDs push what used to be the former divisions in the group to profitability.
The Minister denied announcing the unbundling of the corporation into 30 companies, saying the GMD is still the Chief Executive of NNPC.
He said what was ignored in his statement about the new structure of the NNPC is that there will be subsets. “Subset is the unbundling. It is not a direct unbundling of NNPC into 30. It means that the subsets of NNPC are being unbundled into smaller numbers of companies. It is totally a different thing and the press got it wrong, please.”
The minister attributed the cause of fuel scarcity to the independent marketers that have refused to import petroleum products that now resulted in NNPC embarking on 100 per importation and supply instead of 50 per cent.
He expressed hope that within one year, the NNPC would overcome fuel constraints and exit importation of products.
The minister said the Port Harcourt Refinery is back on stream, working at “minimal terms.”
He said the corporation has now embarked on supplying one cargo of products daily. Three refineries, he said, are configured now to produce 50% of PMS and 50% of other products.
“The hope is that at the end of the month, the three refineries would have got crude and begin to work. Hopefully, that will soften the pressure,” he added.
The minister explained that even if the refineries are producing at 100 per cent installed capacity there will still be supply gap, stressing that this situation can only be ameliorated when there is the completion of Greenfield refineries and modular ones that could be coupled with production.
He said the refineries are operational, they will increase products to a level that Nigeria will commence building a reserve of refined products.
According to him, with the efforts being made to build modular and greenfield refineries Nigeria is targeting fuel export by 2020 when Dangote Refinery becomes operational.
The minister said “when the refineries begin to work, we will see how we can save up and continue our importation process and save up strategic reserves so that in the month of difficulties you can reach out to those before you get your next set of import.
“We are working feverishly trying to see with the Joint Venture Partners how we can come with refineries. We have advertised recently for the collocated refineries.”
On whether the government has removed fuel subsidy, he said there is no removal of subsidy but price modulation.
He noted that the government is now saving from the price modulation and it could use the savings to stabilise the market when it is necessary.
According to him, the government will further review the prices of petrol by April, which may lower the cost of fuel.
He said he will always support a reduction of supply by members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in order to increase the price of crude.
The minister said prior to the blast of the Forcados pipeline, Nigeria was producing 2.3million barrels per day.