Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has said that none of the actions, including military options, deployed by the federal government to suppress militancy in the Niger Delta and halt disruptions in crude oil production, has been as effective as the non-violent dialogue initiated by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, and Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu.
The corporation also said the peace initiative had raised the capacity utilisation of its three refineries in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna in recent times.
According to the NNPC, refining activities peaked at 10 million barrels of crude oil in the first quarter of 2017, as against eight million and 24 million barrels they recorded in the entire years of 2015 and 2016, respectively.
NNPCâ€™s Group Managing Director, Dr. Maikanti Baru, stated this when he hosted a delegation from the United Kingdom Royal College of Defence Studies in Abuja.
Baru, who was represented by the Chief Operating Officer, Gas and Power of NNPC, Saidu Mohammed, stated that apart from the upbeat in the refineries activities, the rate of attacks on oil installations have also lowered with crude oil production rising to to two million barrels per day in recent times.
â€œAs a nation, we have tried all available options, including military, to tackle the security challenge. We have discovered that guns are not as effective as the engagement option.The peace we are enjoying now is as a result of the engagement with stakeholders in the region led by the Acting President. We intend to build on that to achieve a lasting peace,â€ said Baru in a statement by the Group General Manager, Public Affairs of NNPC, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu.
He said having been satisfied with the prevailing respite in the Niger Delta which has engendered a conducive environment for oil and gas production in the past few months, NNPC would do all it could to build on the gains of the governmentâ€™s engagement with stakeholders in the region to deepen and sustain the peace.
In a related development, the corporation has also disclosed plans to reopen four of its existing petroleum products depots in Jos; Gombe; Suleja; and Gusau, to improve its distribution of products across the country.
It stated this when it reopened its Kano depot, a part of its System 2D pipeline Network, which was knocked down for three-and-half years by vandals.
Baru, said the re-commissioning of the Kano depot was aimed at restoring petroleum products supply and distribution in the northern axis of the country. He noted the government had mandated the NNPC to revamp all of the countryâ€™s national oil assets.
â€œTodayâ€™s re-commissioning is also strategic as it is one of the several strides embarked upon by NNPC under its 12 Business Focus Areas (12 BUFA) programme aimed at repositioning the corporation towards sustained profitability,â€ said Baru.
He explained that the NNPC spent about N1.6 billion between January and December 2016, to secure and maintain the vandalised points of the Kaduna to Kano pipeline, adding that this had a huge cost impact on the NNPC.
According to him, NNPC has over the last few months re-commissioned the Port Harcourt to Aba and Atlas Cove to Mosimi pipelines.
â€œEfforts are underway to re-commission other national assets such as the Jos, Gombe, Suleja and Gusau depots. Also, the remaining parts of Mosimi-Ibadan-Ilorin as well as Aba-Enugu pipelines will soon test our collective resolve to get the nationâ€™s critical oil and gas infrastructure back on stream,â€ Baru added.