20 April 2014

Nigeria: NNPC Denies Rift Between Petroleum Minister, GMD

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, on Sunday denied any rift between its Group Managing Director, Andrew Yakubu and the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke.

The Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of the NNPC, Ohi Alegbe, said Mr. Yakubu was in harmonious working relationship with Ms. Alison-Madueke, who is also the Chairman of the NNPC Board of Directors.

Dismissing reports of a frosty relationship between the duo, Mr. Alegbe said both Mr. Yakubu and Ms. Alison-Madueke have in the last few months been working together to keep the various summons by the National Assembly over the N10 billion controversy purportedly spent by the corporation to charter of private jets for the Minister.

Mr. Alegbe also denied reports about a plot by the Petroleum Minister to thwart the proposed investigation into the alleged chartered private jet controversy.

He said the Minister and NNPC are working together to compile all relevant documents that the House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts had requested for, expressing confidence that at the end of the probe, both would be vindicated.

Explaining the absence of the NNPC GMD last week, Mr. Alegbe said hewas in London for the meeting of the Board of the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas, NLNG. He said once the GMD got back in the country, he focused his attention on the core mandate of the corporation to guarantee energy sufficiency for Nigerians.

Meanwhile, the NNPC spokesperson has announced measures by the Minister of Petroleum Resources to sanitize the country's fuel supply and distribution channels and ensure uninterrupted supply of petrol nationwide.

Part of the measures, Mr. Alegbe said, include an approval by the Minister of the allocation of a total of 1,854,314 metric tonnes of premium motor spirit, PMS, other known as petrol as supplementary supplies for the first quarter of 2014 and second quarter of 2014 for June delivery.

At the weekend, Mr. Alegbe said the supplementary allocation for the first quarter was 750,000 metric tonnes, while the second quarter for June delivery was 1,104, 318 metric tonnes.

The first quarter supplementary volume, he said, was to supplement the earlier allocation, to cover any under delivery by petroleum marketers due to unforeseen financial challenges, while the second quarter allocation for June delivery was in line with the national consumption pattern of 40 million litres per day.

Mr. Alegbe noted that the second quarter quota also captured a 23 per cent allocation in the event of default or slippage in the July delivery.

"There are 27 oil marketing companies with proven performance records enlisted in respect of the first quarter deliveries," he said. "For the second quarter (June only), there are 40 marketers with good performance records, and whose facilities are functional. The idea of June only is to revert to the normal quarterly sequence, i.e. July-September and October-December."

On measures to ensure full compliance in line with the aspiration of zero fuel queues, Mr. Alegbe said the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, the body charged with the statutory responsibility to regulate and monitor pricing of petroleum products, has inserted in the fuel allocation template for the deduction of equivalent volume from the defaulting marketer's subsequent allocation in event of slippage or default.

He noted that the PPPRA, NNPC and its downstream subsidiary the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company, PPMC, as well as the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, were working together with other key downstream operators to ensure the realization of the zero fuel queues aspiration of the Petroleum Resources Minister.

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