The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has declined to offer transaction details on the planned sale of Nigeria’s three major refineries which have operated sub-optimally for over a decade and has compelled Nigeria to import petroleum products to meet its energy needs.
Following recent disclosure in an interview by the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, that the refineries comprising the Kaduna, Warri and Portharcourt refineries with a combined installed capacity of 445,000 barrels per day (bpd) would be privatised.
All efforts to glean accurate information as regards the planned sale from the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Andrew Yakubu, yesterday yielded no result.
Yakubu, who in Abuja inaugurated a state-of-the-art hydraulic fire and rescue engine acquired by NNPC to foster its Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) compliance obligation in the oil and gas industry, refused to respond to reporters’ questions on the privatisation.
When asked to provide clarifications on the sale, Yakubu simply turned and walked away from reporters, thus, forestalling further opportunities for such clarification from him.
He had, however, earlier launched the rescue machine which, he said, was necessary given the high risk environment in which the corporation undertakes its operations.
Speaking during the unveiling and demonstration of the fire rescue engine, Yakubu stated that with technology advancing by the day and the corporation building sophisticated structures to carry out its oil and gas exploration activities, the need to prioritise its HSE efforts cannot be overemphasised.
He said: “It is our commitment to ensure the best HSE practice which includes human capacity, state of the art equipment such as this, to ensure that we are combat ready at any time to handle emergency because we are working in a high risk environment.”
The event, which was part of the corporation’s 2013 HSE week with the theme: “Overcoming HSE Challenges in NNPC,” also saw the presentation of awards to the best HSE compliant staff and bank within the NNPC.
Yakubu informed that the facility which was capable of rescuing emergency victims from over 11 storey building, would not be limited to the NNPC alone.
“We do not pray for emergency, but when it comes, of course we are available to support the fire service to combat the emergency situation as part of our corporate social responsibility,” he said.
He also spoke on the availability of petroleum products in the country especially with consideration to the upcoming Christmas season, stating that NNPC was adequately prepared to make sure that product supplies to the market and consumers were not hindered.
“We are very prepared, we have more than enough stock, as we speak we have over 35 days stock and between now and Christmas even if we do not bring at all, we have more than enough to go round the country. Let me seize this opportunity to call on all Nigerians not to panic,” Yakubu noted.
He further explained that HSE has become a powerful tool and vital driver towards business sustainability, higher productivity, risk mitigation and control as well as hazard minimisation that promote sustainable development of future generation, adding that the corporation is committed to investing in worthy HSE initiatives.
“As the nation’s dominant player in the oil and gas industry, NNPC must continue to focus on HSE compliance to safeguard our human and material assets.
“The theme of this year’s HSE week is a call for us to reflect on our HSE performance, identify the gaps and develop clear cut strategy towards continuous improvement and sustainable development,” Yakubu said.