The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has explained why it has resorted to contractor-financing of its pipeline and other facilities development in recent times.
Delivering the keynote speech at the Nigerian International Pipeline Technology and Security Conference (NIPITECS 2018) in Abuja yesterday, the NNPC group managing director, Dr. Maikanti Baru, stated that the recourse was to get around the prevalent funding challenge in the country, saying this has enabled the corporation to aggressively build the pipeline infrastructure within the Gas Master Plan as exemplified in the recent award of the Ajaokuta-Abuja-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) gas pipeline and all ongoing downstream pipeline infrastructure rehabilitation effort.
Baru, who was represented at the event by NNPC’s chief operating officer, Ventures, Dr. Babatunde Adeniran, affirmed that pipelines remained the cheapest way of moving products across any distance, noting however that pipeline operation and construction in Nigeria had been an expensive undertaking.
He challenged members of the Pipeline Professionals Association of Nigeria (PLAN) and other stakeholders to proffer solutions that could lead to a dramatic change and expansion of pipeline business in Nigeria.
Dr. Maikanti Baru said such solution must be able to resolve the challenge which has hindered the growth and viability of pipeline venture in the country.
The GMD explained that emphasis should not be on what has been done in the past but to seek quicker, better, cheaper and more effective ways of how things should be done to achieve the feat.
He also wondered if Nigeria had a financially capable environment that could provide funds at rates that would be competitive and low enough to produce adequate returns.
The acting director-general/chief executive officer, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, Engr. Chidi Izuwah, commended the NNPC management for embracing the contractor-financing model in the AKK project, noting that such an option should be replicated wholesomely in respect of other mega industry projects.
By FESTUS OKOROMADU