The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, Mallam Mele Kyari, said yesterday that in preparation for the much-talked-about energy transition, the oil firm has been restructuring its business operations.

Kyari spoke at the first National Extractives Dialogue (NED) in Abuja, co-hosted by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) and Spaces for Change (S4C), an indigenous civil society organisation, with support from the Ford Foundation.

The programme was designed to provide stakeholders in the extractives industry a platform to discuss the issues of contract transparency, extractive resources benefits sharing and energy transition in West Africa.

Kyari, who was represented by the Group General Manager, Governance, Risk & Compliance, Mr. Chris Akamiro, noted that the aftermath of COP26 in Glasgow had shown that the world is committed to energy transition.

 “ I would like to assure you that as NNPC transitions to a CAMA company, we are restructuring our businesses to take advantage of the opportunities that energy transition will bring forth,” Kyari stated.

As the company commences the implementation of its revised strategy, the NNPC GMD stressed that the company will use its large gas resource as transition fuel to aid the process.

“We are committing our resources for the next decade, which is tagged the decade of gas to explore and produce more gas relative to oil, to power Nigeria and the international community as we transit away from hydrocarbons,” he added.

Kyari stated that the natural resources from the extractive industries are only beneficial when they are extracted in a responsible and cost-effective manner and the revenues accruing are promptly remitted to the coffers of government.

He noted that in the past, the opaqueness of the oil and gas industry operations in Nigeria had contributed to low performance both in terms of profitability and contribution to the economy.

He explained that this prompted the call for action by stakeholders on the need for a more transparent and accountable industry, which he said was heeded to by this present government, recognising that transparency, underpins improved performance.

Kyari posited that the NNPC has employed several strategies to actualise this goal and had begun the publication of its monthly financial performance reports and audited financial statements.

In addition, he said the national oil firm is now more responsive to audit requests and implementation of audit recommendations as well as expanding the frontiers of its engagement, by reporting information on upstream costs and revenues.

 He added that NNPC in 2020 began releasing the financial statements of the group and its subsidiaries, assuring that the 2021 financial statement of the company and its subsidiaries will soon be published.

“As part of our transparency journey, we have understood that disclosing contracts supports open, fact-based dialogue that can help build trust, reduce conflict, and reinforce a company’s social licence to operate.

“We have therefore, since November 2021, been working with NEITI as part of a joint committee with other stakeholders to implement contract transparency in Nigeria,” he stated.

In his remarks, the Executive Secretary, NEITI, Dr Ogbonnaya Orji, stated that the involvement of the organisation in the programme was in line with its objective of deepening engagements with credible civil society organisations.

“The dominant philosophy of the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), which NEITI implements, is the belief that the phenomenon of the resource curse can be addressed through regular disclosures of extractive information and effective citizens’ participation in resource governance in ways that foster accountability and shared prosperity,” he added.

The EITI 2019 standard, he said, requires implementing countries, including Nigeria, to disclose any contract(s) and licences that are granted, entered, or amended that set out the terms and conditions for the exploration and exploitation of oil, gas, or minerals from January 2021.

“The Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021 also mandates the Nigeria Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) to publish the texts of any new license, lease or contract, or amendment immediately following the granting or signing of such texts,” he noted.

Considering the multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary nature of energy transition, he opined that NEITI will seek to galvanise inter-agency cooperation, promote public dialogue and foster national consensus on the discourse.

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