Chineme Okafor in Abuja

Former Group Managing Directors (GMDs) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) have suggested that the nation’s four refineries located in Kaduna, Warri and Port Harcourt be reorganised and operated as Incorporated Joint Venture (IJV) companies instead of its current operational mode.

The GMDs – Dr. Edmund Daukoru, Chief Odoliyi, Dr. Thomas John, Engr. Lawrence Amu, Dr. Jackson Gaius-Obaseki, Engr. Funsho Kupolokun, Dr. Abubakar Lawal Yar’Adua, and Dr. Joseph Dawha, held a meeting with the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu and NNPC’s current GMD, Dr. Maikanti Baru made the suggestion in Abuja where they reviewed the status of Nigeria’s oil industry and proffered solutions to its challenges.

The quintet of Chief Festus Marinho, Dr. Chamberlain Oyibo, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo, Mr. Austen Oniwon and Mr. Andrew Yakubu who are also past GMDs of the NNPC were not in the meeting.

According to a statement from the Group General Manager, Public Affairs of NNPC, Mallam Garuba Deen Muhammad, the former GMDs requested amongst others that the refineries which have been on loss-making trends for decades, be restructured using their original equipment manufacturers (OEM), and thereafter allowed to run on IJVs arrangement like the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Limited.

Parties in IJV enter into a shareholder agreement, which sets out their respective interests in the joint venture. The IJV subsequently becomes an incorporated company, which is a separate legal entity with the agreement clearly stating the obligations of the parties proportionate to their interests.

“The former GMDs advised that the refineries be rejuvenated using the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). Also, the refineries must be restructured to operate as an Incorporated Joint venture (IJV) similar to the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) model with credible partners having requisite technical and financial capabilities,” said the statement.

The oil industry experts also threw their weight behind the federal government’s renewed interest in exploration of oil in the north, noting that the Chad Basin in particular held promising prospects of valuable discoveries.

The former GMDs were also said to have endorsed President Muhammadu Buhari’s steer for sustaining exploration activities in the frontier basins particularly the ongoing efforts in Chad Basin and the Benue Trough. They however advised the GMD to pay priority attention to the Chad Basin where promising prospects are recorded,” it added.
On NNPC’s debt profile, which had remained quite controversial, the oil industry chieftains expressed worries about the level of the debt profile and advised that as a matter of urgency, the NNPC should establish the true state of its current financial status and immediately decide on the most appropriate capitalisation model it could adopt.