NNPC, stupidity & Niger crude By Louis Odion, FNGE

Maikanti Baru, NNPC boss

Coming on the
heels of perceived “re-Northernization” of the commanding height of
NNPC and the presidential marching orders for the resuscitation of oil
exploration in the Lake Chad trough,
the Buhari administration’s
latest pet project to construct 1,000km-pipeline to link the Kaduna refinery with Niger Republic is
bound to further inflame the nation’s already tense ethnic relations.

Maikanti Baru, the Group
Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company, was quoted as
announcing at a town hall meeting in Kaduna
last week that the decision stems from the perennial difficulty experienced in
transporting crude oil from the South-south to the Kaduna Refinery and Petrochemical
Company (KRPC).
His words: “Due to challenges with the aged refinery
and crude oil pipelines that had been breached severely, the operations of the
refinery have been epileptic. This we’re determined to resolve through various
intervention methods, including evaluation of alternative crude oil supply from
Niger Republic through building of a pipeline of over 1,000 kilometers
from Agadem to Kaduna”.
In fact, KRPC’s M.
D., Idi Mukhtal, added that the
plant was already being reconfigured in view of the new supply source, the way
a butcher sharpens his knife before the slaughter.
Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, Minister of State, Ministry of Petroleum Resources
 For a significant
undertaking with such profound implications for Nigeria’s sovereignty, it is quite alarming Baru acts and speaks so casually.
One, much has been said about Nigeria’s dis-articulated economy being the root
of our national poverty in the face of abundant resources: we import what we
already have and export what we seriously lack. 

 Baru’s latest
gambit provides yet another comic illustration.


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If the nation is
witnessing forex crisis today, it is partly because the bulk of what
we earn from crude export is used to offset the importation of refined
petroleum products. It is one vicious cycle. So, when Baru finished laying his funny pipeline to Niger, how will he be paying the crude
import?

Tompolo….One of the Niger Delta Militants or Activists who wants better deal from oil transactions

Two, an argument has raged back and forth on the
viability of the nation’s aging refineries in view of new economic realities
with a near consensus that government no longer has business running them. In
fact, experts have suggested outright sale of the nation’s collection to
private investors seen as better equipped to run them more profitably and
efficiently.
That is why the
privately owned 650,000 pbd  Dangote
Refinery
 expected to come on stream
in two years offers some hope. So, how do
we reconcile this with Baru’s
proposal?

President Muhammadu Buhari….The President who want oil in the North at all economic cost

Three, it is
obvious that the 1,000km pipeline is Karu’s
own silver bullet to side-step the “head ache” from Niger Delta militants opposed to the
continued flow of crude from their soil to the north over perceived neglect and
injustice. But that is being clever by half. 
A more sustainable approach is to summon the political
will and address the long-standing fundamental issues verging on fiscal
federalism rather than seek cheap escape routes.

Louis Odion….Wants renewal of Fiscal Federalism on Oil economy instead of Northernization policy

In any case, is it
not the same South-south that would invariably finance the construction of the
proposed 1,000km pipeline through the daily harvest of crude oil
?
 (Louis Odion is a highbrow Nigerian
Columnist and Media Business Expert. He was former Commissioner for Information
&Strategy in Edo State)

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