Diligence, result, reward: A diary of Kyari’s midas touch at NNPCL – Skymark Energy and Power Ltd

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If the names of technocrats, pace setters, track record performers and people of integrity, diligence and transparency whose midas touch in the country’s social political and economic firmaments are to be written for record purpose, the name of the Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL), Malam Mele Kyari, would be written in gold.

If a roll call of the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) who had served at the NNPC (now NNPCL) were to be taken by a fact check, the first name that would ring bell is Malam Mele Kyari. Reason? His doggedness, tenacity, integrity, diligence, transparency, foresight, patriotism, professionalism and landmark achievements since he came on board as the Group Managing Director (GMD) and now (GCEO) of the conglomerate stand him out.

Following his background as a czar in oil and gas technology and management, the company had continued to witness transformation until it hit the limelight as a Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation Limited to drive profits for the nation as a private company.

It is unarguable that Kyari is a goal getter whose voice is as firm as an ink cartridge and a spindle whose decisions and policies continue to engender profitable transformation in the oil company.

He does not only blaze the trail in his transformation agenda for the company, but has also broken many jinxes in proffering solutions to the challenges faced by the company to bring it to the current Olympian height.

There is always a reward for good stewardship. One of the remarkable rewards that Kyari has received is his recent reappointment as the
GCEO of the corporation by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in defiance of cheap blackmail and unconstructive criticisms of his performance by people who seem not to appreciate good work.

President Tinubu deserves an applause for his courage to reward good work by reappointing Kyari. His reappointment of Kyari which is based on his good performance portrays the fact that the appointments he has made so far are not lopsided but based on merit. The gesture is a clear testament that the president is here to do whatever is good for the country and not to satisfy any particular person, race or tribe.

Kyari has continued to walk the talk so much that he has recorded a plethora of unprecedented achievements since he started holding sway at the NNPCL. Against this backdrop, I consider it imperative to present a diary of his commitment and midas touch so far in the nation’s oil industry.

The avalanche of his achievements out of which I can only mention a few in this piece does not only speak volume but has also entered the Guinness Book of Records.

Before July 7, 2019, when Kyari assumed the position of GCEO, the company had been in a near comatose state. It was faced with many challenges which included oil pipeline vandalism, corruption, incessant oil theft, low production levels and the lack of transparency. But through his professionalism and commitment, he proffered solutions to all the problems.

Kyari’s magic wand at the corporation manifested, following his initiatives that transmogrified the NNPC from a loss status to a profitable entity in 2020 when, for the first time in its 44 years history, NNPCL declared a profit after tax of N287 billion. This figure later increased to N674 billion in 2021. The profit has since hit trillion naira capacity since then.

Under Kyari’s administration, the company has started paying dividends to its shareholders since July and now controls more than 30 per cent of the nation’s petroleum retail market.

Through his management skills, the corporation has continued to witness rise in crude oil production despite the numerous challenges facing the sector. As at September this year, the NNPC’s production capacity transcended 1.7 million barrels per day of crude oil, condensate combined.

He played active roles in the passage of Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) by former president, Muhammadu Buhari, on August 16, 2021. The PIA empowered NNPCL to operate like every private company in Nigeria, with exemption from the Fiscal Responsibility Act, Public Procurement Act and TSA, in order to discourage excuses for failure. The passage of the PIA gave birth to the rejuvenated NNPCL.

The ongoing rehabilitation of the nation’s three refineries in Warri, Kaduna and Port Harcourt, is also an outcome of Kyari’s initiative and commitment to find solution to the perennial fuel scarcity and price hike in the country.

He was also instrumental in the removal of petrol subsidy which was announced on May 29, 2023, by Tinubu’s administration. The subsidy removal was initiated and encouraged by Kyari. After the proposal, it was removed by the immediate past president, Muhammadu Buhari as it was not captured in the 2023 budget.
As a result, Tinubu inherited a budget without the subsidy because the provision was not to exceed May 2023. Kyari, therefore takes the credit for the subsidy removal which proceeds are expected to be channelled into infrastructure, health, education and job creation.

The subsidy removal was intended by the Federal Government to save Nigeria about N7tn annually. The initiative has started yielding dividends in staggering proportions.

Kyari is also the first NNPC’s CEO to go all the way to the creeks in Niger Delta to monitor oil theft and pipeline vandalisation. His war against crude oil theft and illegal refineries have led to a significant increase in oil production.
His doggedness also curbed oil theft through the introduction of Saudi Aramco’s model, using video surveillance to monitor pipelines carrying crude oil from wells to flow stations in the Niger Delta.

Before he transformed the NNPC to NNPCL, Kyari had also introduced automated monitoring of pipelines in the country’s oil sector. Through the technology, many suspects have been arrested, while vehicles, speed boats, wooden boats, and trucks have been seized and destroyed. That is why there is no more pipeline vandalisation.

In September last year, the NNPCL acquired OVH and added it to its assets reception jetty (ASPM) with a 240,000MT monthly capacity, eight LPG plants, 12 warehouses, three lubes blending plants and three aviation depots.

Kyari also demonstrated his investment-friendly interest in the oil and gas sector when the NNPCL secured $7 billion fresh investments from India for Nigeria’s petrochemical industry. The deal was sealed when he accompanied President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to India.

With Kyari’s focused leadership, the NNPCL has also signed a deal with Saudi Aramco to renovate the Nigerian refineries. The collaboration was an outcome of Buhari’s visit to Saudi Arabia where he met with Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the Chairman of Aramco and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.

He also successfully renegotiated the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) Gas Pipeline contract. The AKK Gas Pipeline is an integral part of the Trans-Nigeria Gas Pipeline (TNGP), with a capacity to transport about 2.2 billion cubic feet of gas per day. Report said that the contract was renegotiated from the initial $2.8 billion to $2.5 billion. It attracted cost savings of $300 million in favour of the Nigerian government. Construction work on the project was flagged off in June 2020.

Obviously, Kyari’s contributions to national development and economic prosperity have transcended the NNPCL.

Recently, the NNPCL secured a $3 billion facility from Afreximbank to enable the Federal Government stabilise the foreign exchange market and boost the value of the naira against the dollar.

The emergency loan was intended to reduce pressure on the naira through incremental releases based on government’s fiscal needs.

Recently, the NNPCL sealed a deal with Fox Petroleum Group to obtain $7.5 billion dollars to overhaul its operations across the upstream, mainstream and downstream petroleum sector.

Fox said its consent to inject the whopping amount into the NNPCL was due to Kyari and President Tinubu’s efforts to increase Nigeria’s oil and gas production reserves, boost the federation’s revenue base, create employment as well as development of the host communities. Fox also believes that the fund would support NNPCL’s growth strategy under the enacted PIA.

Kyari’s acumen has also gone a long way in attracting oil and gas investments into the country.

Under his management the NNPCL recently signed an MOU with a Chinese company to develop an LNG project that would deliver gas to industries nation wide.

NNPCL said the project would ensure efficient supply of LNG to the outgas and CNG.
The project is to deliver on President Tinubu’s gas and power aspiration across the country.

Considering the quantum of achievements by Kyari and a lot more ideas that he still has up his sleeve to better the fortunes of the country’s oil conglomerate as well as socio-economic and national development, Kyari remains the best phenomenon in the field and a blessing to the nation’s oil industry.

Muhammad Saleh Hassan, the Chairman/CEO of Skymark Energy and Power Ltd and National President of One Nigeria Group (ONG) writes from Abuja.

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