PENGASSAN, NUPENG Call Off Strike Over NNPC Unbundling

Oil unions workers under the umbrella of NUPENG and PENGASSAN have reportedly called off their one-day-old strike after meeting with the junior Minister of Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu.

The unions had embarked on strike following the misinterpretation of the unbundling of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

After meeting with Kachikwu, the unions decided to sheath their swords and get back to work.

Kachikwu assured them that there was no unbundling of NNPC, stressing that, what was happening was a restructuring.

Oil workers feared that many of them would be sacked if NNPC was unbundled and they immediately resorted to a strike, but they have been reassured that their jobs are safe at least for now.

“We have not unbundled NNPC. We had a press conference yesterday where I explained this,” Kachikwu said.

“What we have simply done is a reorganization. We have five business entities focused on business- Upstream, Downstream, Refineries, Gas, and Power, that are there before.

Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu -New NNPC GMD

“There is also ventures that capture all our little companies that were not having proper stewardship.

“They are run by individuals who report to the GMD. The NNPC is still a whole. There is nothing new that has happened.

“I have tried to explain this, and I am sure the NNPC workers are members of the family, they will understand.
“We are going to have a meeting, and they will be made to understand. Perhaps the engagement has not been good enough.
“NNPC has not been unbundled in the sense of breaking up NNPC into distinct institutions. I am concerned.
“I don’t want the industry shut down. I am sure we are going to resolve the issues very soon,” he further explained.

We Are Not Unbundling NNPC – Kachikwu

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Ibe Kachikwu, on Wednesday in Abuja dismissed the assertion that the Federal Government had commenced the unbundling of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

Kachikwu, who is also the Group Managing Director (GMD) of NNPC, made this known while fielding questions from State House correspondents.

He said that what the corporation did was reorganisation of the corporation to achieve greater efficiency in the oil sector of the nation’s economy.

“We have not unbundled NNPC. We had a press conference yesterday where I explained this.

“What we have simply done is reorganisation. We have five business entities focused on business- Upstream, Downstream, Refineries, Gas and Power, that are there before.

“There is also ventures that capture all our little companies that were not having proper stewardship.

“They are run by individuals who report to the GMD. The NNPC is still a whole. There is nothing new that has happened.

“I have tried to explain this and I am sure the NNPC workers are members of the family, they will understand.

“We are going to have a meeting, and they will be made to understand. Perhaps the engagement has not been good enough.

“NNPC has not been unbundled in the sense of breaking up NNPC into distinct institutions. I am concerned.

“I don’t want the industry shut down. I am sure we are going to resolve the issues very soon,” he further explained.

President Buhari Splits NNPC Into 7 Units, Names CEOs

The new shape of Nigeria’s oil corporation, NNPC emerged Tuesday as President Muhammadu Buhari finally approved its unbundling into seven units.

It was learnt that the new units of the corporation were announced amid opposition from labour by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu.

According to him, the new units include Upstream, Downstream, Gas and Power, Refineries, Ventures, Corporate Planning and Services and Finance and Accounts.

The minister said five out of the seven units will be strictly propelled by business in consonance with the best global best practices.

He disclosed further that the units would be headed by Chief Executive Officers.

He thus proceeded to announce the new CEOs whose appointments are with immediate effect thus : Bello Rabiu (Upstream), Henry Ikem-Onih (downstream), Anibor Kragha (Refineries), Saudu Mohammed (Gas and Power), Babatunde Adeniran (Ventures), Isiaka Abdulrazaq (GMD Finance and Services) and Isa Inuwa (Executive Head, Corporate Services).

Speaker Assures On Speedy Passage Of PIB

The National Assembly has restated its commitment to the expeditious passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to ensure the restructuring and deregulation of the downstream sector of the oil and gas industry.

Speaking at the recent 2016 Oloibiri Lecture Series and Energy Forum, which had as its theme, “Technological Advances In Hydrocarbon Exploration And Exploitation: Solutions To Global Oil Price Stability,” the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon, Yakubu Dogara said the law makers would consider and expedite the passage of legislation of PIB to allow for competition in all segments, including open access to the pipeline as well as providing a robust tariff mechanism for all players.

He said a strong local refining and petrochemical industry would provide the catalyst to ensure the country’s growth and sustainable development through diversifying the country’s revenue stream and growth in other sectors.

Dogara stated that as the country aspires to maintain its current growth forecast and sustain the year 2012 GDP growth rate of 6.48 per cent, Morgan Stanley has predicted that Nigeria is expected to become an economic power overtaking South Africa by 2025 in its terms of GDP.

“In June of 2014, the Brent Crude Oil Price hit $115 per barrel and many oil market insiders were predicting higher prices based on an article by Steve Austin. Other analyst however, called a peak, and their predictions proved to be correct. The fall in oil prices have been predicted since the middle of 2013 giving the emerging Geopolitics,” he said.

Dogara said the impact of this sharp decline in oil price and its attendant impact on Nigeria realising its economic projection needed further examination.

According to him, the topic of the topic of this year’s lecture is “timely given that the role of a strong local refining in maximising benefits for economic growth in a declining oil prices environment and linkages to the manufacturing industry as well as the agricultural Sector; which creates growth in the real sector of the economy.”

According to him, this will enable the country to achieve its desired growth aspiration.

“It is aligned with the Change agenda of the Federal Government for the Oil and Gas Sector which commenced with the appointment Dr. Ibe Kachikwu; Rehabilitation of the Refineries, reinvigorated draft Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to be submitted to the National Assembly for passage,” Dogara added.

The speaker noted that SPE over the years has become the foremost platform in Nigeria that provides the oil and gas sector through its Oloibiri Lecture Series, the policy focus on technical and financial framework required to address the challenges of the industry.

“This year’s partnership demonstrates the hallmark of the cooperation between the Executive and Legislature on non partisan professional body the opportunity to address and proffer common solution geared towards growing in country capacity to meet the challenge posed by the ongoing reforms and divestments in the upstream sector and Petroleum Industry at large,” Dogara explained.

Oil Workers Reject Unbundling Of NNPC

Oil workers under the aegis of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers have expressed reservations about the plan to unbundle the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation into 30 companies without following due process.

The union stated in a statement that the move was an attempt to provoke workers in the oil and gas sector and cause industrial unrest in the country

NUPENG stated that the restructuring in the oil and gas industry, especially at the NNPC, to achieve optimal performance could not be achieved without due consultation with the unions and other stakeholders in the sector.

The union stated that the unilateral action of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, was not in consonance with the laws establishing the NNPC.

The statement signed by the acting General Secretary, NUPENG, Joseph Ogbebor, stressed that the unbundling and rebranding of the NNPC as announced by the minister was another public policy change, which was not consistent with the laws establishing the corporation.

He warned that the plan would be resisted by oil and gas workers in the country.

The statement read in part, “The union adds that the legality, appropriateness and timelessness of this whole exercise is condemnable. It states that it will not tolerate a situation whereby the unbundled companies will now hide under the cover to start disengaging its workers.

“The union recalled that job creation and job security have been the change mantra of the current administration.

“The union reiterates that the move is to kill the NNPC by all means, but that they should know that the corporation is a creation of law and that it will take the repealing of the original Act to effect the changes that they are planning to carry out.”

Oil Prices Surge To Budget Benchmark Figures

Global crude oil prices finally surpassed Nigeria’s budgetary benchmark on Monday, trading above $39 per barrels.

The price of Brent crude – the global oil benchmark – rose an all-year high at $39.50 on Monday, from $27.10 on January 20, the lowest for Brent in 2016.

Brent crude opened 2016 at a high of $38.99 on January 4, 2016, though it traded at $36.77 on the same day, and closed the month around $35 per barrel.

It opened February at $34.24and closed at $35.97

As at Friday, Nigeria’s bonny light, which is the third most expensive oil in the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) basket, traded at a record high of $35.76 per barrel.

The Monday price of Nigeria’s crude has not been quoted by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), but sources say the price may surge to the budget benchmark region of $38.

OPEC secretariat figures released on Monday show that the daily basket price stood at $32.34 a barrel Friday, March 4 2016, compared with $31.61 the previous day.

Nigeria’s 2016 budget was benchmarked at $38 per barrel against major criticism across the nation, following December 2015 prices of about $34 per barrel.

Udo Udoma, minister for budget and national planning, had initially said low crude oil prices would not affect the 2016 budget, insisting that the budget is achievable.

“Our budget is achievable; we have ongoing reforms targeted at diversifying our revenue base away from single oil commodity economy,” Udoma said in January.

A week ago, Udoma said the country may have to review the budget benchmark as early as June, based on the recurrently low crude oil prices.

“The benchmark of $38 per barrel of price of oil is not sacrosanct because of the subsisting global environment,” he had said.

“If at mid-year there is no improvement, we will come back to you for mid-term review. The review may come as quickly as June this year.”

The Cable

NNPC Reopens Port-harcourt Refinery In Move To End Fuel Scarcity

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, weekend, said it has reopened the Port Harcourt refinery, about six weeks after it was shut down, while it also disclosed that it has stepped up efforts to bring the fuel scarcity currently witnessed across the country to an end.

This was even as the NNPC also stated that it paid N85.96 billion into the Federation Account for the month of January 2016, despite recording a loss of N3.55 billion in the same month.

Speaking during a tour of petrol stations in Abuja to assess the fuel crisis situation, Group Executive Director, Commercial and Investment, Mr. Victor Adeniran said Warri and Kaduna refineries could not resume production at the moment because the pipeline network supplying crude oil to the two refineries had been sabotaged and were yet to be fixed.

He appealed to Nigerians to be patient, stating that over the last three days, it had flooded the market with petrol and that in the next few days, the queues witnessed at petrol stations would disappear.

He said, “We want to appeal to Nigerians to bear with us. Part of what the NNPC has done was making sure the refineries are back on stream. The reasons the refineries are not working today is because the pipelines that are supposed to supply crude oil to them are not working. We are almost there.

“You can imagine if we have been able to put the Escravos – Warri pipeline into use, Warri refinery would have been up and running and part of this problem would have been alleviated.

“Port Harcourt is working because we have been able to fix the Bonny – Port Harcourt line. As I am talking to you, we are transporting crude oil from Bonny to Port Harcourt refinery. Kaduna cannot work because Warri also supplies Kaduna with product.”

He appealed to Nigerians to join in the fight against pipeline vandalism and oil theft, stating that the challenges currently witnessed in the supply of petrol across the country was due to the sabotage of the pipeline. It should be noted that this is the second time in less than six months that Port Harcourt refinery was shut down and reopened.

Commenting on NNPC’s strategies to end the fuel scarcity, Adeniran further stated that since Thursday, it had made special arrangement for intervention trucks, with a carrying capacity of 60,000 litres of petrol.

IPMAN Gives Reason For Fuel Scarcity

The Independent Petroleum Marketers of Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) yesterday blamed fresh nationwide fuel scarcity on unavailability of petrol for the marketers to load from the petrol depots.

Its Vice President, Alhaji Abubakar Dankigari,said yesterday,that members of the association have 8,000 tickets pending that it has not been able to load.

He said over the past few weeks, private depots owners have been selling petrol at a price higher than the official N77 per litre to marketers, lamenting that the depots have all goen dry.

Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, has warned depot owners against selling petrol above the approved ex-depot price of N77 per litre.

In a statement, its Group General Manager, Group Public Afdairs Division, Mr. Ohi Alegbe yesterday said the warning came against the backdrop of repeated complaints by marketers of sharp practices at the depots.

The statement quoted the minister as warning that depot owners found to be involved in selling products above the approved ex-depot prices would be severely sanctioned.

Dankigari blamed fuel scarcity on the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that is responsible for the importation of 78 per cent of the product to the country.

He said: “The issue is that even where we are loading, there is no product. We already have more than 8,000 tickets but we have not been able to load.

“Even the private depots that used to sell the products at a higher rate no longer have the product to sell. So, that is the reason why you have been seeing those queues. The NNPC is only agency of government responsible for bringing the products into the country.”

IPMAN had in the penultimate week raised the alarm over the imminence of another fresh round of fuel scarcity as private depot owners were selling petrol for N97 per litre to marketers. Last week, the association further cried out that the depot owners had increased the price to N102 instead of N77 per litre.

This, according to Dakingari, posed a great barrier to the marketers who avoided purchasing a product for N102 per litre and selling N86.50 per litre.

Most petrol stations in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) were yesterday shut, a situtaion that affected vehicular traffic in the city.

Alegbe has assured of sufficient supply of petrol as it took delivery of four more cargoes of the product at the weekend to keep the country wet. The state-run oil firm said the deliveries which amount to about 180 million litres is part of a new arrangement by the corporation to have a cargo of PMS delivered daily as from March.

“The NNPC has stepped up collaboration with the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN) and other downstream industry players to end the resurgence of fuel queues in some major cities across the country especially in Lagos and its environs,” Alegbe explained.

The NNPC stated that it has secured the commitment of the leadership of MOMAN for effective collaboration in this regard and assured that the queues will disappear in few days time as supplies are ramped up across the country.

“To achieve this, truck-out to filling stations in the Lagos area has been increased from the regular 245 to 295 trucks per day (9.7 million) while truck-out to fuel stations in Abuja from Suleja depot has been stepped up to 210 trucks per day (6.9million litres) from the regular supply of 160 trucks per day.

“Similar increment in supply volume has been activated in the Port Harcourt, Calabar, Kano and Kaduna areas to ensure seamless availability of petroleum products across every nook and cranny of the country,” he said.

While appealing for understanding and support from members of the public, the NNPC assured that it is doing everything possible to end the prevailing challenges experienced by motorists, commuters and the general public in accessing petrol.

“Within the last 48 hours we have received six cargoes of petrol (270 million litres) and beginning from 1st March, 2016 we shall begin to receive one cargo of petrol every day (45 million litres),’’ NNPC assured.

The NNPC also said Dr. Kachikwu has directed the full activation of an Intra-Ministerial Joint Monitoring Task Force made up of officials of Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA), and the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company (PPMC) to ensure and enforce compliance to laid down rules and regulations governing the supply and distribution of petroleum products.

The Nation

Corrupt People Within NNPC Responsible For Fuel Scarcity – Kashamu

The Senator representing Ogun East Senatorial District in the upper chamber, Senator Buruji Kashamu, has attributed the current fuel scarcity in the country to the activities of saboteurs within Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and corrupt practices by depot managers.

He said on Sunday while fielding questions from journalists shortly after a meeting with members of the Omo-Ilu Foundation and an empowerment ceremony, held at the Omo-Ilu Foundation Complex, Ijebu-Igbo in the Ijebu North Local Government Area of Ogun State.

He advised the Federal Government to centralise the allocation of petroleum products directly from the office of the Minister of Petroleum Resources, cutting off the depot managers, whom he alleged were partly responsible for the scarcity.

Kashamu said from the investigations he conducted among some independent marketers, some managers at the depots sold Premium Motor Spirit, popularly known as petrol, to independent marketers at the official rate of N77, while the depots officials asked them to pay between N30 and N35 into special private accounts.

This, he said, had made it difficult for the retailers to sell the product to consumers at the official pump price of N86.50k.

He said, “I believe that the current scarcity is artificially induced. There are allegations that even though the Federal Government has fixed the official rate at which fuel should be lifted, many of the depots sell above the amount.

“They ask the independent marketers to pay the government approved rate into the officially designated account and another difference of between N30 to N35 per litre into other private accounts or they simply collect cash.”

Fuel Scarcity: PTD Points Blaming Finger At NNPC

The Petroleum Tankers Drivers (PTD) Branch of National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has blamed the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for the fuel scarcity in some parts of the country.

PTD National Chairman Comrade Salimon Akanni Oladiti, who spoke in an interview with reporters in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, said oil marketers were not hoarding fuel.

“We are not conniving with anybody to make Nigerians suffer for fuel. For some time now, we have not been able to load at NNPC depot in Apata, Ibadan and there is no hope of loading in some other NNPC depots in the Southwest.

“Government is responsible for this problem, because if they bring enough oil into the country, we as distributors we are ready to sell it out. It’s so sad that we are one of the largest producers of oil, but we are still suffering from scarcity,” he said

Oladiti added: “NNPC imports about 75 per cent of the oil we are consuming in the country. The remaining 25 percentage is for major marketers.

“What the government is trying to tackle still exist; corruption is still in the oil industry. There is corruption and bribery at the oil depots and you have to face this hurdle before you can load your truck.”

He noted that government needs to find lasting solution to incessant fuel scarcity, adding: “The common man in the country is suffering.”

He urged the government to embark on aggressive rehabilitations of roads and railway networks

Nigerian Refineries To Resume Operations Before Month End

Nigeria’s refineries are expected to restart before the end of the month after attacks on their feedstock pipelines forced their closure in January, the head of refining at the state oil company said yesterday.

The oil company halted crude flows to the refineries around mid-January after the key pipelines feeding the plants were attacked. The refineries were then shut down a few days later.

The 150,000 barrel per day (bpd) Port Harcourt refinery is expected to restart its crude distillation unit on Saturday after receiving crude supplies by sea to be followed by a resumption in pipeline supplies. Meanwhile, it is able to produce gasoline from its fluid catalytic converter.

“The Warri refinery has no crude. It will take close to 10 days to pile up crude stock and for Kaduna maybe we’re another five days away after that,” Dennis Ajulu, executive director of refining and technology at state oil firm NNPC, told Reuters.

Ajulu said the pipeline to the 125,000 bpd Warri plant could be repaired in four days provided there were no security contraints, but expected it to take a bit longer and crude would be delivered by sea instead.

The Kaduna refinery, which can only operate one of its two crude distillation units for now, receives its feedstock via the Warri plant.

On top of being neglected for years, the refineries have always had supply problems due to attempts to steal oil via pipeline taps. It forced the state firm to switch to expensive crude deliveries by sea that cost more than $7 per barrel.

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari is keen to revamp the plants in order to wean the country off gasoline imports but a return of some militancy in the oil-rich Niger Delta region could scupper these plans if the pipelines become regular targets.