The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has blamed the moribund state of the country’s refineries on lack of proper maintenance of the facilities over the years.
The NNPC, while stating that Nigeria has one of the highest numbers of technicians in the petroleum sector in the world, decried that the experts have not been adequately engaged.
The Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mr Mele Kyari, made said this when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum (Upstream) in Abuja on Monday.
Answering a question on the technical capacity of the NNPC to properly manage oil exploration, refinery and sales, Kyari admitted that there was enough manpower in the petroleum to develop the industry but that the experts had not been properly engaged.
He said, “The oil industry is a technology-based industry and this technology evolves everyday. I can assure that in the entire global oil and gas industry, there is nowhere you would have gone that you would not find a skilled Nigerian working in the oil and gas industry. And indeed, we are probably the largest contributor to skilled manpower in the industry of all the black nations of the world.
“Today in the industry, over 90 per cent of the technical personnel are sourced locally; they are run by Nigerians. There is really no paucity of such capacity. What is true is that engagement of these people has not been optimised. And this is what we need to work with the Nigerian Content Development Board, to make sure that certain skills that come up from time to time on need basis are provided for, so that this industry continues to grow.
“Let me address the issue of refineries: the refineries didn’t fail because there were no skills, they failed because we are unable to take care of the refineries. And we don’t have to give excuses why we didn’t take care of them. We can blame anyone. But what we have decided to do is to make them work. There is no scarcity of skilled people.
“The will is there today and our plan is to get them to work. And I assure you that the plans we have in place will deliver these refineries. There is no issue around absence of skills, we have the best refiners in the world; anywhere you go in the world, they will attest to it that we have the best refiners who are Africans in this country.”