In a bid to make Nigeria get it right in local refining of petroleum products, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has advocated the inclusion of a clause that mandates international oil companies (IOCs) to refine a certain percentage of their crude oil in Nigeria.
President of PENGASSAN, Ndukaku Ohaeri, addressing the media at the weekend, said this would mark a new era in the oil and gas industry, to the benefit of Nigeria and its people.
He that lamented the lack of significant investment in the industry, until the recent NLNG Train 7 FID, has continued to limit the overall contribution of the sector to economic growth and development.
“We are, therefore, using this avenue to call for the resuscitation of the nation’s refineries, as this will create more jobs, reduce the burden of importing refined petroleum products and add value to our national economy as well as save some foreign exchange,” he said.
He stated that the union would continue to advocate for the application of the NLNG ownership and operating model for the nation’s refineries as one of the best ways to maximise those national assets.
Ohaeri, noted that the success story of NLNG needed to be replicated in other government-owned assets such as the four ailing refineries.
The NLNG, backed by the NLNG Act, is owned by four shareholders, namely, the Federal Government of Nigeria, represented by Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) with 49 per cent stake; Shell, 25.6 per cent stake; Total Gaz Electricite Holdings France, 15 per cent stake; and Eni, with about 10.4 per cent stake.
He explained that these oil firms with the 51 per cent stake in NLNG were good in what they do, as core business people who bring in quality expertise and the right model required for the refineries to succeed.
Additionally, the oil workers called on government to look beyond politics and reconsider the passage of the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB).
The bill, according to them, would remove some of the barriers of efficiency, address loopholes fuelling corruption and position the industry for greater competitiveness and productivity.
The PENGASSAN boss also commended government’s efforts to harness gas flared through the Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme (NGFCP) in reducing the nation’s carbon print in the atmosphere, thereby resulting in ozone layer depletion and climate change. He stated that the association believed that government should support several gas-to-power initiatives, domestic gas commercialisation, as well as develop a legal/fiscal framework to develop non-associated gas.
He said, “We believe significant investment should be made in the area of gas and we are particularly glad that the Final Investment Decision for NLNG Train 7 has been signed.
“We also need to start developing renewables, the emerging market in the energy sector, so as to capture potential and opportunities.”
On the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS), the association reiterated its earlier stance that whilst it is desirable to pursue accountability and transparency in all financial dealings of government, it is incumbent on policymakers to assess the workability of any system on the impacted.
He lamented that the IPPIS was not supported to accommodate the peculiarity of the oil and gas industry, which is solely dependent on appraisal, evaluation and performance indices.
He added, “Our members are on another government-run payroll platform, GIFMIS, which has proven to be more amenable to the concerns raised by our association. The payroll structure in the industry is based on collective bargaining agreements and will be a disincentive to disregard the tenets of the statutory negotiations between government and the unions.”