(Profile) Mele Kyari,  the New NNPC Helmsman

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 Kasim Sumaina in Abuja

With his appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari as new Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation,  Mele Kyari brings with him a wealth experience spanning over two decades.

Kyari, a Geophysicist, is an expert in crude oil marketing and currently Nigeria’s Representative at the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) where he provides leadership and participates in engagements relating to Crude oil, Gas production and associated market issues.

He is considered by many at the NNPC towers as a model servant leader whose actions inspire, serve, and empower others to produce the best. He is credited with the transformation of the management of the complex Crude oil Marketing of the nation’s crude oil through the establishment of world class systems and processes.

The new NNPC GMD, who shares the same surname with President Buhari’s Chief of Staff is not related to Abba Kyari. Those in contact with him during his 27 years at the corporation describe him as results-driven leader.

He led a team that proposed and managed the Direct Sales and Direct Purchase (DSDP) arrangement of Petroleum products from 2016 to date a process that saved the nation $1 billion in 2016 when compared with the previous crude SWAP arrangement with products.

He also led various work teams in developing the Petroleum Industry Bill which ensured that Government’s take in the Production Sharing Contract Arrangement was greatly enhanced, and contributed immensely in  resolving  the  disputes with International  Oil  Companies  (IOCs) arising from the various interpretation issues with the PSCs averting claims of $9 billion dollars filed  by  the  IOCs.

Aside his vast experience in the management of both Upstream  and  Downstream activities, he is said to possess a “a rare ability” in commercial decision making and his equally outstanding in his ability to manage International Oil Companies (IOCs), which had all been demonstrated in the course of his over 28 years illustrious career in the oil and gas sector.

He started his carrier as a Field Geologist with the Department of Geological Survey of Nigeria. He joined NNPC in 1991 as a Processing Geophysicist with Integrated Data Services Limited (IDSL). In 1998 he was deployed to National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS) and worked as an Exploration Geophysicist. In 2007, Mr. Kyari was given the role to head Production Sharing Contracts Management in Crude Oil Marketing Division (COMD).

While in COMD, he displayed exceptional management qualities that led to his appointment in 2014 as General Manager, Crude Oil Stock Management and in 2015 he became Group General Manager, COMD, a    position he held till date. Mr. Kyari has attended several high- level leadership training both at home and overseas.

His knowledge of the industry had projected positive image for Nigeria at various international fora where he presented papers that highlighted the enhanced and transparent National dealings in petroleum trades by the NNPC.

Besides his professional accomplishments, Kyari has also been quietly working to make operations of the NNPC more transparent and accountable as the Corporation’s Focal person for the Open Government Initiative- a drive aimed at making governance more open and participatory.

The procurement process he put in place for the DSDP (Direct Sale of Crude Oil and Direct Purchase of Petroleum Product) resulted in saving of over $1 billion every year since 2016.

In addition, he is the Focal Person for NNPC’s Commodity Trading Initiative. This initiative makes it possible for government to know those who are buying the country’s crude and at what prices, and how much has been made. He created effective systems to ensure maximum transparency and accountability of crude oil and gas sales in the industry. He has also restored sanity to the operations of Crude Oil & Gas Terminals owing to his leadership supervision.

He is also a unionist, and many have cited his activism as a trade unionist as likely reason why he is an advocate for transparency. He is fondly called by other unionists as “grand chairman.”

Kyari was born on the 8th of January 1965 in Maiduguri, Borno State. He attended Government Community Secondary School Biu in Borno State between 1977 to 1982. Mr. Kyari graduated from University of Maiduguri in 1987 with a Bachelor of Science in Geology.

He was NNPC’s  former General Manager, Crude Oil Stock Management, 2014-2015

Kyari has also participated in various deepwater projects across the globe.

Mr. Mele Kolo Kyari is the new Group Managing Director of the NNPC, replacing incumbent Maikanti Baru who retires later this month.

The new Group Managing Director of the NNPC, hails from Borno state.

When he takes over on July 7, Kyari would be the 19th Group Managing Director of the National Oil Company.