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New NNPCL is professional, says professor Bart Nnaji

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited is now run professionally like an efficient private sector organisation, according to a former Minister of Power, Professor Bart Nnaji, who is also a major player in the energy industry.

“When the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) became the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd (NNPCL) in July 2022, many people around the globe thought it was a mere rebranding or even a mere change of name”, Professor Nnaji, an internationally acclaimed engineering researcher in the United States before relocating to Nigeria to run Geometric Power Ltd, told a meeting of his company’s executives with their KSE engineers and investment partners from Turkey today at the Geometric Power headquarters in Aba, Abia State, that “all of us are today astonished at the professionalism exhibited by the new NNPCL leaders”.

Nnaji’s GPL, which owns Aba Power Ltd, will receive natural gas supplies from Owaza in Ukwa West Local Government Area in Abia to fire its 188Megawatt power plant in the Osisioma Industrial Layout in Aba, a distance of 27 kilometres, in a joint venture between the NNPCL and Heirs Holding Company over the operation of the Oil Mining Licence (OML) 17 oil field.

“The new NNPCL is not working like a state-owned enterprise noted in Nigeria for ineffectiveness and inefficiency”, the former minister declared, “but rather like professionals from Shell, TotalEnergies, ExxonMobil, and the rest”.

OMNL 17 was operated for decades by the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) until three years ago when the Federal Government declined to renew its licence and handed it over to the NNPC as part of the process of technology transfer and increase of local content in the Nigerian oil and gas industry.

The SPDC went to court against the Federal Government over the action, and the case lingered for three years from the Federal High Court to the Court of Appeal and finally the Supreme Court, with the government winning all the way.

During this period, revealed Ogbonna Chukwueke, a former Shell executive and gas expert, “Our company understandably did not make much investments in the gas gathering infrastructure in Owaza which resulted in the poor state of the associated gas gathering (AGG) machines and equipment there”.

“Getting the facilities to world-class standards so that ‘pure, unadulterated dry gas can be supplied to the Geometric Power plant in Aba is the only obstacle to the takeoff of the plant which will ensure quality and uninterrupted power supply to nine of the 17 local government areas in Abia State”, noted Chukwueke, an engineer.

“The NNPCL’s insistence on perfect and long-lasting work is why the technical commissioning of Aba Power hasn’t yet taken place, though the job is practically completed”.

Sources close to both the NNPCL and Geometric Power confirmed to journalists this weekend that Aba Power would be commissioned officially next month, but requested that their names be kept secret because they were not authorized to speak to the media on this issue.

“Going by what we have seen with such NNPCL member organisations as the NNPC Exploration and Production (NEPL) and the NNPC Upstream Investment and Management Service (NUIMS)”, Nnaji informed his international partners, “the NNPCL can, with time, become a successful globally respected global state-owned enterprise from the developing world like Petrobras of Brazil and Petronas of Malaysia.

“Their engineers and other technical persons at OMNL 17 are thorough, professional, and hardworking.

“They also have personal integrity, a major issue in the Nigerian business environment”.

While responding to Professor Nnaji’s remarks, a member of the KSE team, Mehmmet Okay, said “We are from Turkey, a fast developing country, so we understand the challenges Nigeria is facing now.

“We were recommended to partner with Geometric Power by General Electric of the United States, the world’s biggest electricity equipment manufacturing company because of its implicit confidence in Nnaji and his team”.

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