By Maazi Obinna Agommuo.
Executor Director, ESGADIA- Economic Strategic Growth And Development Initiative of Africa
Some African countries like Nigeria rely heavily on Oil and Gas as their means of revenue.
More attention and funds are dedicated to Exploration and Production of Crude Oil and Gas for export purposes.
The SALES of Crude Oil, it’s Associated Gas and Natural Gas is at the center stage of the Oil and Gas administration of every successive Governments in Nigeria. Even the Oil Refineries are not given the attention it requires to sustain optimum production capacity and no plan on sight for Government to build new refineries to meet the demand of Nigerians.
However the focus of the world today is more on the Petrochemical sub-sector of the Oil and Gas sector as fossil fuel is projected to decimate its value by the year 2030.
Government of Nigeria must begin to diversify its economy with less focus on Crude Oil production and sales.
The development of the Gas sub-sector is germane in an Oil and Gas mono economy like Nigeria.
Nigeria have all it takes including the human capacity to drive the Gas and Petrochemical sub-sector.
Nigeria has the likes of Engr. Dr. Abu Mohammed Abdulazeez Sani (alias Abu Sani) a Petroleum Engineer of International repute who is currently Consulting for Saudi Arabia’s Aramco. He’s leading a team that’s developing the Gas sub-sector of Saudi Arabia.
He made me to understand that out of three of them expatriates recently invited and engaged by the Saudi’s Aramco, two of them are Nigerians and the other a Pakistani. Nigeria and indeed Afrika has the requisite human capacity to develop herself.
But the question now is, would the likes of Dr. Abu Sani be given the opportunity to do for Nigeria what he’s currently doing for the Saudi Government without being frustrated? Your guess is as good as mine.
Corruption in NNPC would not give the likes of Engr Sani the opportunity to hold sway in the Nigeria Oil and Gas sector.
The last time Nigeria’s NNPC had a prolific management team was between 1976 and 1980 when Nigeria built and commissioned three Refineries namely, Kaduna, Port Harcourt and Warri Refinery under the then Leadership of President Olusegun Obasanjo as Head of State and President Buhari as the then Federal Commissioner of Petroleum Resources.
Before then Nigeria had only one Refinery; the old Port Harcourt Refinery of 60,000 Bpd refining capacity was built in 1965 which today makes the fourth Refinery. But these same refineries the later-day NNPC managers are not able to maintain, giving all manner of flimsy excuses.
I therefore opined that NNPC should be privatized to real players in the Oil and Gas sector for effective management and I challenge anybody who feel otherwise to an open debate.
Imagine Eleme Petrochemical Company built with approximately $2.5 billion which was officially commissioned in 1996 only operated for 2 years, broke down and remained moribund for years until President Obasanjo sold it in 2006 for a paltry sum that’s less than $300m to an India company called Indorama.
Today Indorama is ranking number one in polymer production in the world courtesy of the Eleme Petrochemical Plant they bought from Nigeria. They have also invested heavily in Fertilizer production from the money they made from their relatively meager investment to acquire Eleme Petrochemical.
The Polypropylene (PP) Plant in Warri Refinery last functioned in 1999 and had since gone comatose due to the gross ineptitude of NNPC handlers.
The Carbon Black plant of Warri Refinery, the only Carbon Black Plant in West Africa is facing same lack of managerial skills.
Dunlop and Michelin prior to their closure in Nigeria lamented over the inefficiency of NNPC in managing the Carbon Black plant.
Carbon Black accounts for between 30% and 40% of Tyre.
So Dunlop and Michelin had no choice but to be importing Carbon Black for their production; same material that’s supposedly produced in Nigeria.
But the NNPC Carbon Black Plant of WRPC has an installed capacity of 18,000 metric tons per annum, it’s however sad that Nigerian Local Manufacturers suffer heavy import of this very critical material. It’s said that anything black is Carbon Black as it’s application is very wide; Tyre, Rubber products, Black Paints, Black Inks, Black Shoe polish, Plastics, Black color pigments, Footwear etc.
NNPC has not added any value to the main stay of the Nigerian economy since 1980, other than exploration, production and sales of Crude oil and Gas. No new Refineries have been built since 1979, no new Petrochemical plants (Crackers) have been built.
NNPC and indeed Nigeria is still surviving as a country because there’s still market for crude oil.
In sane climes such as Saudi Arabia and Iran that rely on Oil and Gas for economic growth, huge emphasis is placed on Gas development and on the Petrochemical sub-sector.
It’s projected that between the year 2030 and 2040 Electric Vehicles (EVs) are going to take over the World roads and by implication fossil fuel will then loose its grip on the world economy.
How prepared is Nigeria and the rest of Afrika?
The Federal Government of Nigeria should declare state of emergency in the Power sector.
NNPC should be helping to build Power plants across the country.
The Gas and Power department of NNPC is only a ceremonial office as no serious visible project or programme can one place his or her hand on, but some persons would want to defend a system that has long lost its shine and sheen.
NNPC should be privatized, that is my stake.
Maazi Obinna Agommuo is my name saying, “stone wen person see say e de come, no de blind eye.”
Let us put away sentiment if we truly love Nigeria and Afrika