By Edith Ike-Eboh & Emmanuel Afonne
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, bagged the Gas Decade personality award by the Oil and Gas Trainers Association of Nigeria (OGTAN), to mark the beginning of activities for the week at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The award ceremony which took place in Abuja was in recognition of the Minister’s lead role in revolutionalising and opening up the country’s gas sector.
President of OGTAN, Dr Mayowa Afe, commended Sylva’s dedication and innovation towards the Federal Government’s Gas initiatives and policies.
“We are here to acknowledge what you have done for this country. You have brought sanity to the Petroleum Industry; you have also declared Nigeria, on behalf of the President, a gas-based Nation.”
Sylva, in his acceptance speech, expressed government’s readiness to continue to expand the frontiers of Gas development in the country in order to boost the economy and prepare the nation for the global energy transition phase.
It would be recalled that Sylva was instrumental to the kick-starting of the National Gas Expansion Program (NGEP), the Autogas Policy, the 614KM Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano natural gas pipeline among other stellar achievements.
Within the week in review, the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Gas Resources, Rep. Mutu Ebomo, solicited for more funds to support the operations of the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Limited (NPDC).
Ebomo made the call in Benin during an oversight of the Integrated Gas Handling Facility (IGHF), the Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and Propane Storage and Dispensing Plants of the company in Ologbo, Edo State, with the committee members.
He commended NPDC for producing hydrogen for domestic consumption.
“We are proud of it (NPDC) as an indigenous company. The challenge the company has is mostly fund, if not, it has the capacity to do more.
“We pray that it gets the right partners and with the federal government, I know that it will do better,” Ebomo said.
Rep. Yusuf Miga, Deputy Chairman of the Committee, reiterated the position of the Committee to enable NPDC improve and meet its primary needs.
Miga assured Nigerians that the members of the National Assembly would do their best to hasten the passage of any bill that would bring development to the nation.
In his remarks, NPDC Managing Director, Engr. Mansur Sambo, said that the company’s facilities were optimally functional since it was commissioned, adding that it was capable of producing six trucks of products daily.
On May 6, the NNPC commenced the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt Refinery with a firm commitment not to fail Nigerians.
A statement by the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of the NNPC, Dr Kennie Obateru, quoted the NNPC Chief Operating Officer (COO), Refineries & Petrochemicals, Engr. Mustapha Yakubu, as saying that everything was being done to ensure that the project was delivered hitch-free and on schedule.
Speaking at the Technical Kick-off Meeting for the project which held Thursday at the Port Harcourt Refinery Complex, Alesa Eleme, Rivers State, Yakubu said everything about the project had been carefully worked out to ensure that the target of at least 90 per cent refining capacity was achieved when operational.
“It must be hitch-free and that is why we are engaging the host communities appropriately; 200 million Nigerians are looking up to us and we can’t afford to fail. We’ve been on this journey since 2019,” he said.
The COO disclosed that the project would require 3,000 workers at the peak of activities, stressing that out of that number there would be only 70 expatriates while the balance would be sourced locally in line with the local content policy.
He expressed gratitude to the Federal Government for approving 1.5 million dollars for the project.
Speaking earlier via a message delivered on his behalf by the Chief Financial Officer of the Corporation, Mr Umar Ajiya, the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Malam Mele Kyari, assured Nigerians that the Port Harcourt Refinery Company (PHRC) would roar back to life on or before April 5, 2023, when repairs would have been completed on the old refinery also known as Area 5.
He said the target was to fix the old refinery first so that local refining can resume as soon as possible.
Kyari added that NNPC management would do everything to support the contractor, Maire Technimont SPA, to ensure prompt delivery of the project.
“We are happy we have the contractor onboard. With strong collaboration of all parties involved, we will achieve the desired results.
“We have both government and private sector financing. We have the finance ministry, NEITI, labour unions and other stakeholders on board this project.
“They want to see transparency so they can report same to Nigerians and this is one of the most transparent processes ever,” Kyari said.
In his presentation, the Managing Director of PHRC, Engr. Ahmed Dikko, said that all the process plants have been made hydrocarbon-free to enable the contractor carry out the rehabilitation work safely.
On his part, the representative of Maire Technimont SPA, Mr Masu Alberto, said that the rehabilitation journey started in 2017 with integrity test of the refinery.
“In 2019, we did work on it and then now. We’re deploying a good number of engineers,” he said.
He listed some of the key activities that will be carried out in the project to include refurbishing of the technical building, replacement of the fire-fighting and deluge sprinkler systems, refurbishing of 24 offsite tanks, replacement of electrical equipment in substation, installation of primary earthing integration and new lighting system.
He said the project would also involve the replacement of pumps, turbines, one expander, boilers, three compressor fans and blowers, tanks, vessel and drums among other items equipment.
In the meantime, Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) owners around the Port Harcourt Refining Company (PHRC) have expressed optimism that the rehabilitation of the refineries would enhance their businesses.
Some of them who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Eleme urged government to ensure it does the needful to sustain peace in the communities within the project period.
The Port Harcourt Refining Company operates two refineries: the old refinery with a nameplate capacity of 60,000 barrels per stream day (bpsd) and new refinery with an installed capacity of 150,000 bpsd.
The two refineries bring the Port Harcourt Refinery’s combined crude processing capacity to 210,000bpsd.
On May 7, NNPC as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), donated foodstuffs and other valuable items to orphanages in Abuja and the FCT School for the Blind.
Speaking at the hand-over ceremony at the FCT School for the Blind in Jabi, the Team Lead, Disbursement Committee, Mrs Alti Alhassan, who was represented by Mr Ambrose Ogbonna, said the initiative to identify with the less privileged was borne out of the Corporation’s determination to extend goodwill beyond its operational areas.
Alhassan said the donation was direct contribution of the management and staff of the Corporation towards charity, noting that NNPC was a responsible organisation that strives to touch the lives of Nigerians in positive ways.
“Recall the launch of the CS Compendium in June 2019 and the sale of special copies of the Compendium Booklets which enabled the CS Directorate raised funds for charity.
“In line with the purpose of the fundraising, we are here to kick-start delivery of items to the seven approved beneficiary organisations,” Alhassan said.
She encouraged the students to look beyond their visual challenges and strive to be the best they could be, stressing that they have the potentials to achieve anything they set their minds to do.
Responding to the gesture, the Principal of the school, Mrs Rose Uganden, appreciated the NNPC Management for reaching out to the needy with a high sense of social responsibility.
She said the gesture would serve to complement government’s efforts to ensure that the needs of the children were met.
The outreach which marks the fulfillment of the pledge by Corporate Services Directorate of the Corporation to donate proceeds from the sales of the Corporate Services Compendium to charity, saw the donation of groceries, clothes, books and writing materials, cooking utensils, and first aid drugs worth over N1.6m to the school for the blind and seven orphanages in various parts of Abuja.
Also in the week under review, oil prices rose after industry data indicated United States crude inventories fell much more than expected last week, reinforcing bullish views on fuel demand in the world’s largest economy.
Brent crude futures were up 49 cents, or 0.7 per cent, at 69.37 dollars per barrel after touching a more than seven-week high of 69.78 dollars.
United States West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 43 cents, or 0.7 per cent, to 66.12 dollars per barrel; prices climbed to as high as 66.58 dollars, the highest since March 8.
Meanwhile, the Market Intelligence Department of NNPC’s London Office reported that the Oil prices jumped to a seven-week high as traders welcomed more cheery news about major economies opening up after more than a year of pandemic-related paralysis.
The mood was so bullish that markets even shrugged off gains by the US dollar index, which, all else being equal, is usually negative for oil, as a strong greenback makes crude more expensive for importing nations.
The physical market is also feeling the spring buoyancy and has even outpaced the paper market. Dated Brent, a physical benchmark, was priced at around 69.35 dollars/bbl after the futures market closed, 50 cent higher than the front-month paper contract.
This means refiners are willing to pay a bit more now for a barrel lest they wait and get caught in the weeks ahead by Brent moving beyond 70 dollars/bbl.
Traders are increasingly bullish on US oil demand as a number of states are taking steps to resume some social and retail activity, an oil market analyst averred.
Follow us on www.nannews.ng for weekly review of the activities of the Corporation. (NAN)
Read also: NNPC this week: Stakeholders laud services, students tap scholarship scheme