Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has expressed its confidence in the ability of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to fully recover the operational capacities of Nigeriaâ€™s four refineries in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna, through the expected turnaround maintenance (TAM) the corporation hopes to start soon on the refineries.
The workersâ€™ union also stated its support for the corporationâ€™s resumption of oil exploratory activities in Nigeriaâ€™s inland basins.
According to a statement from the Group General Manager, Public Affairs Division of the NNPC, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, on Tuesday in Abuja, PENGASSANâ€™s National President, Mr. Francis Johnson, stated these when he led the Central Working Committee (CWC) of the union on a courtesy visit to NNPCâ€™s Group Managing Director, Dr. Mikanti Baru.
Johnson, said in the statement that the resumption of oil exploration in the inland basins would benefit Nigeria eventually.
He said the union was fervently praying for the corporation to achieve a breakthrough in exploratory efforts.
The NNPC had recently resumed oil exploration in the nationâ€™s frontier basins of the Chad Basin and Benue Trough in line with the desires of President Muhammadu Buhariâ€™s government to increase the oil reserves base of the country.
Consequently, Baru, since assumption of office in 2016, has stepped up the exploration activities, and initiated the supports of critical stakeholders in Bauchi, Borno, Sokoto and Nassarawa States.
In Nassarawa State, he disclosed that NNPCâ€™s Frontier Exploration Services (FES), a services company of the corporation, had mobilised the Integrated Data Services Ltd (IDSL), equally an upstream arm of the NNPC, to acquire seismic data in the Benue Trough commencing from the Keana area.
Johnson, however commended Baru during his visit, for collaborating with other government agencies and critical stakeholders to bring about efficiency in the petroleum industry.
He said the efforts have also led to improved products supply situation in the country.
He equally said the NNPC was capable of returning the refineries to profitability, and expressed the unionâ€™s confidence on the efforts made so far in that regard.
â€œPENGASSAN will support any effective, efficient and sustainable model that can make the refineries viable,â€ Johnson, was quoted to have said.
He also called on Baru to intensify the ongoing rehabilitation of downstream oil facilities, especially the depots, pipelines, tank farms and jetties to further ensure seamless supply of products across the country.
On the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), Johnson emphasised the need for its speedy passage, adding that the unions were ready to collaborate with the National Assembly to resolve knotty issues associated with it.
The statement said Baru in his response, disclosed that Buhari had mandated him and the NNPC management to bring back the refineries to their glorious days and thanked the unions for their belief in his capability to deliver on the presidentâ€™s mandate.
He said funding had been a major challenge in the rehabilitation of the refineries but was however optimistic that the various options being explored would yield positive results.