How the Mallam Mele Kyari-led company was rocked by terrible man-made brain drain, the Tompolo deals and $1.5bn refinery spending, the former group Executive director opens up in a review of 19 years of crash in company’s productivity, efficiency
A former group Executive director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Alex Ogedegbe, has lamented the lack of investment in training of the personnel of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) over the years.
He said this is what has been responsible for the current incompetency that is being experienced in the company.
According to Alex Ogedegbe who spoke on the Arise Television Programme, Morning Show, on Wednesday on various happenings in the oil and gas industry, he said, what is lacking in NNPCL is investment in the training of personnel.
“When I look back, I don’t see people who are replacing those that are leaving; I don’t see improvement in the productivity of the various sections or subsidiaries of the NNPCL.
“I left office 19 years ago, and I need not give excuses for it. But when we were in office if you look at every level of staffing you would see competence, you will see experience, but let’s put the names and the experience of all the leaders now in NNPCL, scrutinized their particulars, where they have worked, what they have done and how many people at the level of executive director have ever drilled a well or be in an operating position, or has appreciated what it takes to run any facility? This is the problem.
The company is now being run by people who have no hands-on experience that we can talk about.
He said that the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) merely effected changes in the names of some entities in the industry and nothing more.
He said:”PIA has all the things it is supposed to have, but the only gain i can see there now is the 3% community fund which has been formalized and established. The issue now is on the part of the communities, they have to organize themselves into corporate entities so that they have access to the 3 percent share and use it properly. The PIA has however not changed anything in the industry except names. Nothing has changed as far as the oil and gas sector is concerned.”
“Take the case of the refineries, when we were building refineries in those days, we were at the same time recruiting and training. So when the refineries were being built the operators and the technical services providers were available to oversee the running of the projects. Can we say the same thing now with any of the NNPC projects? Can any staff say he or she has gone through any training and when this and that happens this is what should be done?
What I have seen in the last 20 years is that NNPCL is outsourcing all the technical capabilities. And when the outsourcing did not work you cannot blame anybody else. So, this is the problem. In those days we have to recruit people and train them, and then they grow up with experience.
NPDC which is supposed to be the flagship of production in NNPC now specializes in outsourcing.
On why the situation is so bad now, he said, the situation has been deteriorating over the years. “Again, I will use the experience I have, in 1991. Nigeria was producing 100% of what its requirement of products, all the refineries were running, some 90 percent, some 80 percent, slowly because of attrition of experienced staff, lack of proper funding and maintenance the capacity decreased.”
“In 2012, I was one of the teams that evaluated the refineries, as at that time the production was about 40 percent of what it was 10 years earlier, without proper training and maintaining of the technical capability, the only thing that can happen would be to pull down the refineries and continue to import fuel.
In the last five years, the refineries have been shut down and not a single litre of petrol has been produced from the refineries, despite all the promises, nothing is happening.”
On Crude Oil Theft
“As far as crude oil theft is concerned this is a security thing. NNPC cannot handle the issue of security because that is not its area of competence, it cannot handle security outside its limit. It absolutely has no facility to take care of the security.
Awarding contracts is what it can do, but if you award contracts to people that cannot or who don’t have basic infrastructure then you have to rely on government security services.
“ Going by the experience I have, if there is a collaboration between NNPC, the communities, and the government, in this case, I mean real co-operation, not the one based on corrupt tendencies or siphoning the fund away, this kind of contract can work. But when you have contractors that don’t have any facility or the backing of their communities it would be difficult for anything meaningful to happen.
And then there is the sad side of it, where there is cooperation among all forces involved and the smugglers, it would be easy to smuggle as much as 300,000 barrels per day. There is no way you can take this amount of crude oil out of the country just by using small barges or small pipes in the pipelines.”
To be frank with you when we observe from the outside, I don’t see the effect of policy framework, I see just discussion and discussions, if there is an approved policy framework everybody will see it because it would be publicised. Even, as press people you can really monitor, but can you show me any policy that you can refer to? All we hear are pronouncements.
$1.5 BILLION for Refinery
On the $1.5 billion invested in the Port Harcourt Refinery, he said, “the refinery is not going to produce any litre of petrol in the next one year.” I am sure of that, because the projects are behind schedule, again is a matter of competences.