The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation on Thursday lamented that Nigerians were unfair to the cooperation and were ignorant of its operations.
According to the NNPC, the incessant attacks on it by the masses were demoralising thousands of employees in the corporation’s workforce.
The corporation’s Group Managing Director, Mr. Andrew Yakubu, lamented the spate of negative criticisms and public misconceptions of the operations of the NNPC while fielding questions from participants at the 2014 Oloibiri Lecture Series and Energy Forum.
The forum was organised by the Nigerian Council of the Society of Petroleum Engineers in Abuja
Yakubu, who represented Nigeria’s Vice President, Arc. Nemadi Sambo, at the event, noted that such criticisms were not only unfair to the corporation but came as a morale dampener to the thousands of staff in the NNPC who toil day and night to ensure that the country reaps bountifully from proceeds of its hydrocarbon resources.
“There is a lot of ignorance out there about the operations of the NNPC and this is unfortunate,” he said.
Earlier, the Vice President, in his speech which was read by Yakubu, said the Federal Government would support the oil and gas industry in its quest to square up against daunting global challenges and compete for relevance in the international energy space.
Sambo noted that with the changing global demand and supply balance, the industry must begin to expand and grow processing capacity for local utilisation as well as export of finished products.
He explained that the government was ready to support the industry to join the shale gas revolution in the next decade.
He said, “I have no doubt that we have the required capacity and competence to tackle these challenges. Government has been and is ready and willing to support your effort in this direction because there is no doubt that oil and gas have played a big role in the economic development and transformation of our country over the last half century.
“We must therefore continue to maintain focus in doing the right things to transform the industry so as to meet the new challenges of the next century.”
In her presentation, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, represented by the Group Executive Director, Exploration and Production of the NNPC Mr. Abiye Membere, acknowledged the growing level of indigenous participation in mainstream exploration and production of the oil and gas business in the country.
Alison-Madueke stated that from a little over one per cent some few years back, Nigerian companies now account for 10 per cent of total daily crude production of 2.3 million barrels with a projected rise to 30 per cent by the year 2020.
Responding to questions on the purported stringent fiscal regime in the Petroleum Industry Bill, Mr. Membere cautioned international oil companies against undue criticism of the bill and called on them to come forward with their numbers for proper debate.
He said, “In 1993 under the existing Production Sharing Contracts, royalty was zero. The question now is; do the IOCs still want royalty to remain zero in 2014? We cannot as a nation have zero royalty in the eight most prolific oil and gas assets.”