By Oke Peter
The Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr Mele Kyari, disclosed on Monday that the corporation has assets worth over $20 billion, even as he decried the continued importation of petroleum products into the country.
Kyari said this at the at the Nigeria International Petroleum Summit 2020 in Abuja.
At the event, the President Muhammadu Buhari, assured foreign oil companies of high returns on their investments in Nigeria, saying extensive work has been done for the eventual passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill “to open up the oil and gas sector to competitiveness.”
Buhari was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, at the event which also marked the launch of the Nigerian Gas Transportation Network Code.
He said, “We are all aware of the great role the hydrocarbon industry plays in the economy of Africa. Thus, we cannot afford to compromise its technical, operational and financial standards.
“This is the reason why this administration has consistently promoted sector reforms aimed at the entrenchment of transparency in the conduct of the industry’s business, cost reduction, efficiency and attracting investments in the oil and gas value chain.”
Buhari said Nigeria, as a major oil-producing nation, remained ready and accessible for legitimate investments from all interested countries, individuals and partners.
“Let me assure our foreign delegates that their investments are well secured in Nigeria and a high return on investment is always guaranteed. It can’t get better anywhere,” he added.
The NNPC boss, Kyari, described the corporation as the largest in Africa, saying, “We have assets that are in excess of $20bn. We have opportunities that we share with our partners.
“This country can provide energy for the whole of Africa. As we all know, 90 per cent of the petroleum products consumed in Africa are imported, and that must stop. And to do this, Nigeria must work. Our refineries must come back, and that is what we are doing.”
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, who launched the network code, said the nation’s natural gas resources stood at 200.79 trillion cubic feet as of January 1, 2019.
“The drive to optimally explore and produce this resource is driving government’s aspirations for energy security, economic diversification, job creation and enhanced revenue generation. Gas and its derivatives as envisaged in the National Gas Policy would surely catalyse our economic growth,” he said.
According to him, the code is a contractual framework between the gas transportation network operator and gas shippers that specifies the terms and guidelines for operation and use of the gas network.
Sylva said, “Consequently, in line with government’s policy to reinforce and expand gas supply and stimulate demand through the National Gas Expansion Programme, the code will provide open and competitive access to gas transportation infrastructure and development of the Nigerian gas sector.
“Also, the code will stimulate the domestic gas market, drive gas-based industrialisation and the realisation of the government’s aspiration to move 100 million Nigerians out of poverty.”
He said effective February 10, 2020, the code would apply to all gas transportation arrangements between gas transporter and gas shipper as defined in the code.
Sylva said the transporter and all existing users of the transportation network should within six months of the date of the directive migrate from existing Gas Transportation Agreements to the network code by executing the necessary ancillary agreements.
The Director, Department of Petroleum Resources, Mr Sarki Auwalu, said the department was ready to create incentives-based regulations with the support of the ministry for the development of the sector.