* Final partners ready by Q1, 2021
By Emmanuel Addeh
Seventy-eight companies at the weekend submitted bids to rehabilitate critical downstream pipelines, associated depots and terminal infrastructure of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The corporation, in a press release in Abuja signed by the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Dr. Kennie Obateru, noted that the rehabilitation would be based on a Finance, Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) model.
In his opening remarks, the Group Managing Director of the national oil company, Mallam Mele Kyari, stated that the exercise was in fulfilment of the corporation’s commitment to transparency and accountability.
“This is not possible to achieve if we do not have the leadership disposition that is in support of transparency. I can confirm to all of you that it is the clear directive of Mr. President that this company must be accountable and must be transparent to its shareholders.
“We must take all necessary steps to make sure that our transactions are known to the citizens of this country, that we do things for the common good of all of us and that in doing our business, we must ensure integrity,” the GMD stated.
He posited that as an EITI partner company, the corporation must always disclose her transactions, contracting processes, selection of its partners, identities of partners and beneficial owners of the partners.
“Nobody will cut corners, nobody will cheat the shareholders of this company and also this company will ultimately deliver value to its shareholders,” Kyari vowed.
According to him, the BOT model had become imperative in the corporation’s journey to rehabilitate its downstream infrastructure which over time had become vulnerable, lost value and integrity due to age and incessant vandalism.
He added: “Some of these assets are as old as 40 years and they are due for replacement and when you want to do a replacement of this scale, you do need a lot of resources.
“And we know that we require these assets so we decided that we bring in private partners who will fund these pipelines.
“They will construct it, they will operate it with us and then ultimately they will fully recover their investment from the tariff which we will pay for using these pipelines and as soon as they recover their cost and their margin, they will hand over these assets back to us.”
Kyari stated that by the end of the first quarter of 2021, the final partners of the bid opening would be selected.
He assured the bidders that the portal, which was deployed for the pre-qualification exercise, was a time-tested technology that would not give room for any human indiscretion.
In his remarks, the Director General of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Mr. Chidi Izuwah, commended the leadership of the corporation for “driving a transparent bid” opening processes for the rehabilitation of the pipelines and other downstream infrastructure.
He noted that NNPC was showing to the world that things could be done correctly such that would yield value for Nigerians, adding that the novel NNPC virtual public bid-opening exercise was in line with the ICRC infrastructure revolution drive.
“You showed to the world that you’re driving a totally transparent public private partnership process in line with the infrastructure revolution of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Today’s public bid opening for the rehabilitation of NNPC pipelines, depots/terminal infrastructure is quite commendable.
“I commend the GMD, his team and the NNPC Group for showing to the world that things can be done properly and in the best interest of the shareholders,” Izuwah stated.
Earlier, the Chief Operating Officer, Downstream, Ms Lawrencia Ndupu, who was represented by the Managing Director, Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC), Mr Musa Lawan, said the Nigerian Pipelines and Storage Company (NPSC) operates 5,120 length of pipelines.
She added that the pipelines traverse the entire country with two coastal depots in Lagos and Calabar, assuring them that the public bid opening processes was being done transparently.
On her part, the General Manager, Supply Chain Management (SCM), NNPC, Mrs. Sophia Mbakwe, said at the end of the submission of virtual bids, 78 companies submitted bids for the pre-qualification of rehabilitation of NNPC downstream critical pipelines, associated depots and terminal infrastructure.
Other external observers who witnessed the exercise were Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) and the Centre for Transparency Watch (CTW).