Oando gets nod for Port Harcourt plant’s job
The Senate has finally endorsed the private-public partnership (PPP) for the repair of the country’s four refineries.
The lawmakers kicked against the government initiative, given that the contract given to Eni/Agip and Oando to repair Port Harcourt Refinery did not follow due process.
The Upper Legislature had suspended a contract awarded to Eni/Agip and Oando Plc to rehabilitate the Port Harcourt Refinery, claiming that it did not follow due process; the Senate constituted an ad hoc committee to probe the deal.
At the hearing with stakeholders, panel endorsed the arrangement. The Joint Upstream and Downstream Senate Committee probe followed reports that the refinery was to be privatised or concessioned by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) with Oando and Eni as the preferred consortium.
Its Chairman, Senator Abubakar Kyari, said: “We’ve heard extensive summations from all parties involved regarding this concession process. Inevitably, partnerships between the public and private sectors are necessary to provide the required funding to rehabilitate our nation’s refineries. We are committed to due process, and in seeking to achieve these goals, sound principles of corporate governance and extant laws must be adhered to, for the greater good of the Nigerian people. Indeed we will come up with recommendations aimed at improving transparency in the oil sub-sector of the economy and at the same time encourage investors.”
At the event were the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, Wale Tinubu, Group Chief Executive Officer of Oando PLC, Massimo Insula, Managing Director Nigerian Agip Oil Company, and Aniebor Kraghas, Chief Operating Officer, NNPC.
Tinubu denied that already it had a deal on the matter.
He said: “We’ve issued several rejoinder statements as well as clarifications by the NNPC, ENI, explicitly stating that there is no existing mandate for the concession, sale, equity transfer or privatisation of the Port Harcourt refinery or any of the nation’s refineries. As a crude exporter and supplier of refined products to the country, our expression of interest in the refurbishment and upgrade of the refineries is as a funding partner. Our proposed participation in this effort is an opportunity to drive the country forward and ensure product security is realised. We are wholly committed to the government’s vision to become a petroleum product self-sufficient country in the short to medium term, and ultimately be a net exporter. The Port Harcourt Refinery remains a national asset, under the full control of the NNPC as far as we are aware, and there is absolutely no concession deal in place.”
Last year, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the Petroleum Resources Ministry to engage investors with refining experience and funding capacity to partner local players that understand the downstream oil market to revamp the refineries.
To strengthen international relations, the Italian Government through ENI (an Italian oil and gas company in which it owns 30.3 per cent shareholding), supported the rehabilitation of the country’s refineries, specifically the Port Harcourt refinery, in which it has a long history of technical involvement.
Earlier this year, Dr. Kachikwu met with ENI CEO, Claudio Descalzi, to discuss further cooperation between the Italian firm and the government.
The NNPC and ENI, through its local subsidiaries, Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) and Nigerian Agip Exploration (NAE), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote activities that would boost economic development.
Kachikwu said: “There is absolutely no concession framework for the Port Harcourt Refinery or any of the refineries.
‘’Our mandate has always been to grow our production levels year on year, cost-savings for the country, and increased dollar revenue. To propel this initiative, we realised we needed scale-up in the technical know-how in our 100 per cent indigenously-operated refineries, as well as private sector participation to crystallise the rehabilitation programme.”