Fuel scarcity – NNPC says no cause for alarm

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Thursday said there is enough fuel in strategic reserves in Nigeria to last the country for more than a month.

The Group General Manager, Public Affairs of the Corporation, Levi Ajuonuma, in a press statement, quoted the Managing Director of the Pipeline Product Marketing Compant (PPMC), Haruna Momoh, as saying that all the issues that led to the initial hitch in supply have been resolved.

“There were a number of issues like the Petrol Tanker Drivers (PTD) strike in Kwara, Rivers and Edo States which have been resolved. There was also the issue of marketers’ reluctance to import products as a result of the uncertainty about subsidy payment which has also been resolved with the recent appropriation for subsidy included in the 2012 budget by the President. So marketers have resumed importation, and we have enough fuel in our strategic reserve to last until their cargoes start arriving,” Mr Momoh was quoted to have said.

Earlier in the week, the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency had debunked reports that it had stopped processing subsidy claims from genuine importers.

Also, the Director of Budget in the Ministry of Finance, Bright Okogwu, told the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) on Thursday that he will write to the Central Bank to restore credit lines to credible product importers to enable them commence importation of petroleum products.

There have been reported cases of fuel scarcity in Yenagoa, Port-Harcourt, Abuja, Ilorin and Asaba with the filling stations in these cities closed. A litre of petrol was sold for as high as N500 in the black market in these cities.

The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Maduake at the weekend in Warri, Delta State, attributed the fuel shortage to the subsidy probe by the two chambers of National Assembly that delayed the arrival of imported cargoes of fuel and the placing of new imports in the New Year.

The fear of an impending fuel scarcity had prompted the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) to invite the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Maduake, major importers of petroleum products, financial institutions and some agencies from the NNPC to a meeting to discuss on how to avert the looming fuel scarcity.

The Senate Committee commended the management of NNPC for sustaining fuel supply in spite of the uncertainties.

Investors calls for speedy passage of PIB

Investors and key players have called for the speedy passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill to guide their activities in the Nigerian oil and gas sector.

Some of the key players who spoke at the on-going Nigeria Oil and Gas Conference in Abuja noted that the delay in the passage of the PIB only served to restrict foreign direct investment , adding that most investors are eager to know how the bill will impact their operations.

Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mr. Austen Oniwon assured that the bill when finally passed will be investor friendly.

Corruption in NNPC is ‘imaginary’ – Group MD

The Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Austin Oniwon on Monday said corruption within the NNPC was overblown, casting doubt on whether the firm intends to tackle what several reports have highlighted as a major problem.
Numerous reports and audits have said graft is rife within NNPC. Transparency International and Revenue Watch last year ranked it as the least transparent oil company in the world.
“I think NNPC corruption is blown out of proportion. Corruption in NNPC is in the imagination of some people,” Mr Oniwon said at the opening of an oil and gas conference in Abuja.
Last month, the government ordered an audit of its entire oil and gas sector following a week of anti-government protests. The anti-corruption watchdog also began an investigation into the sector and the Senate opened a separate probe into fuel subsidies, all within a week.
Sceptics say the Nigerian government has invited auditors into its oil and gas sector before — and failed to act on their reports.
A report compiled by international accounting firm KPMG into the state oil company has been on the oil minister’s desk for a year, but no action has been taken on it yet.
“No one in NNPC has ever been charged,” Mr Oniwon said, suggesting that this showed corruption is not a major issue.

NNPC debunks reports on Kaduna refinery

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has debunked media reports alleging that the Federal Government was losing over N700 billion annually in revenue through the Kaduna refinery.

NNPC debunks reports on Kaduna refinery

The oil corporation also dismissed claims that they had lost N12 billion on remuneration of staff whom, the reports say, were largely idle as the refinery was not functioning.

In a statement, the group’s General Manager Levi Ajuonuma stated that the Kaduna refining and petrochemicals company is functional and viable, contributing immensely towards NNPC’s operations in the oil and gas industry in Nigeria.

The NNPC spokesman commended Nigerian engineers who have kept it running, adding that the pipeline vandalism has hindered the operation of the refinery beyond its current 60 per cent capacity.

The reports followed last week’s oversight visit to the Kaduna refinery by the Senate Committee on petroleum resources (downstream), which described the refinery as a drain pipe.

Diezani Appoints Special Task Force on Control of NNPC

It’s been barely a week since the Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke set up an eight member special committee to ensure speedy passage of the petroleum industry bill, and the minister has set up a special task force on governance and controls in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and other parastatals within the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources.

Diezani Allison

The special task force to be headed by Dotun Sulaiman, is charged with: reviewing all management controls within NNPC and other parastatals; designing a new corporate governance code for ensuring full transparency, good governance and global best practices in the NNPC among others.

It is also to design a blueprint for separating policy from operations in the NNPC and other parastatals; set key performance indices for NNPC and other parastatals, design a blueprint for eliminating all rent-seeking opportunities and arbitrage in the NNPC system.

The special task force will design a blueprint for professionalism of management and personnel in the NNPC and other parastatals; design a roadmap for transition to the PIB, and work with external consultants as may be required, to produce a -report within the next thirty days.

House Subsidy Probe: NNPC Deducts from Federal Accounts Without Approval

The fourth day of public hearings of the House of Representatives’ ad-hoc committee’s investigation into the subsidy management has produced even more shocking revelations.

NgoziOkonjo-Iweala

Speaking before the House of Representatives, Finance Minister Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala revealed that the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation was able to deduct subsidy funds without the approval of the finance ministry.

When queried further on this, the minister of finance said she had no explanation for it, adding that it was “just a practice”.

Testifying at the eharing of the House of Representatives ad-hoc committee, the minister revealed that giving the NNPC the power to deduct from the federal account with permission had been a government decision.

Both the finance ministry and the petroleum ministry have come under fire during the probe as lawmakers demand valid answers as to why the subsidy payments in 2011 reached a whopping N1.3 trillion.

During her testimony, the Petroleum minister Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke had attributed exorbitant subsidy amount to the payments of kerosene subsidy in arrears, claiming that the amount for subsidizing kerosene came to “slightly over” N300bn.

Making reference to the elusive “cabals”, who have been accused of corrupting the subsidy system and have so far escaped mention, Madueke refused to point the finger, saying it would be wrong to “speculate on the existence or not of a purported cabal”.

She added: “I think that we cannot afford as a country, to criminalise, either a certain group with one fell swoop or one brush for all… just as we cannot actually afford to criminalise the actual policy of subsidy itself”.

Both the Finance and the Petroleum ministers maintain that they will employ transparency in the times ahead and fight to fish out corruption from the oil sector. However, both of them have been widely and openly criticised for their handling of the subsidy payments and the removal of it.

Using twitter, Finance Minister Okonjo-Iweala (@NOIweala) deflected some of that blame, saying: “People have been loading the blame of this policy on me, and I read them all over the internet. That is not fair”.

She further tweeted: “I repeat, the fuel subsidy removal is a government decision. I will not allow anyone to put the blame on me”.

NNPC Refutes Claims Of Missing Barrels Of Crude Oil

The Management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC on Tuesday December 13, 2011 faulted media reports that the Corporation is unable to account for 65,000 barrels of crude supply out of the 445,000 barrels allocated to it daily by government at international market price for domestic refining.

NNPC Building

In a statement signed by the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of the Corporation, Dr. Levi Ajuonuma stated that the report is a clear misrepresentation of the presentation made by the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Engr. Austen Oniwon at Monday’s session in the ongoing Senate Joint Committee organised Public Hearing on Subsidy Management and Process.

“We want to emphasize that at no time during his presentation did the GMD state or allude to the fact that 65,000 barrels of crude was missing or unaccounted for. The fact is 65,000 barrels of crude oil per day is so big in the economy of the nation to be toyed with,’’ Ajuonuma stated.

Providing a breakdown of how the crude is utilized, Ajuonuma explained that what the GMD said under oath which was also captured on live TV is as simple as follows:

“NNPC buys 445,000 barrels per day from government at prevailing international market price. Out of this figure, Port Harcourt Refinery gets 90,000 barrels per da, Warri Refinery receives 80, 000 barrels. Also under the Crude for product Swap arrangements, Societe Ivoirienne De Refinnage, SIR, receives 60,000 barrels, Duke Oil, a wholly owned subsidiary of the NNPC receives 90,000 barrels and Trafigura gets 60,000 barrels per day. The balance of 65,000 barrels meant for Kaduna Refinery is sold to meet up with commitments since Kaduna Refinery has since been shut down due to vandalization of crude supply pipeline at Egwa village in Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State,’’ Ajuonuma explained.

“If you take time to do the simple arithmetic you will discover that nothing is actually missing or unaccounted for.’’

The NNPC Spokesman remarked that the Corporation is comforted by the fact that the Distinguished Senators conducting the Public Hearing clearly understood the explanation provided by the GMD.

“From the countenance of the Distinguished Senators you could see clearly that they had no misgiving about the accuracy of the presentation made by the GMD on how the 445,000 barrels are utilized on a daily basis. There is no way the Distinguished Senators could have allowed that to pass if they had issues with the content of the full disclosure, “ Ajuonuma added