Nigerians and foreign investors interested in owning shares in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), which is set for full commercialisation in the next six months, may need to wait till 2024, Group Managing Director of the corporation, Mallam Mele Kyari, has disclosed.
Kyari, who revealed this when he appeared on Global Financial News on Bloomberg Television, noted that the national oil company, which would operate under the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), would only be able to issue its Initial Public Offering (IPO) to investors in the next three years.
However, against the backdrop of declining global investment in the oil and gas sector, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, yesterday called for the establishment of an African Energy Bank to help boost business activities in Africa’s oil and gas sector.
By the provisions of the new Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), NNPC, as currently constituted, is expected to transition into a fully commercialised business concern in which the public could own shares and take part in its major decisions.
The NNPC helmsman explained that the books of the NNPC would need to be to be properly cleaned up, with the proposed NNPC Limited recapitalised, before embarking on such a huge business decision.
Kyari stated, “We will be in a position to consider any IPO in three years’ time. That is the provision of the law. But when you want to get ready for IPO, you need to do things differently, you need to get your books correct, you need to recapitalise; you need to shape your portfolio and many more things that you have to do until you get the IPO ready.
“Surely, it is not what we will do in 2022 or 2023. Probably the earliest consideration will be in three years’ time.”
The NNPC GMD maintained that the corporation was currently in a good stead with the declaration of its first profit in 44 years. He added that the IPO would put NNPC in an even better position in the oil and gas space.
Kyari said the corporation was concerned about the global transition towards renewable sources of energy, pointing out that the NNPC is in the process of adjusting its portfolio to meet future challenges.
He said, “Obviously, this company is changing very fast and on the fast lane. We just declared profit for the fiscal year 2020. We are not getting ready for the IPO tomorrow, that is not exactly the situation.
“IPO really means this company is going to be profitable, it has a long trajectory; it has a short-term view of how things can be done better to align with the best practices in the industry.
“We are trying to see how we can rework the existing framework for energy transition that is on-going all over the world. Every country is adjusting its portfolio by doing things differently in a better way and, obviously, in the long run, this is going to be a very great company and great companies always go for IPO.
“So, this is not something that we are going to do tomorrow, obviously not. Our new law has made the provision that we can sell shares of this company, but in today’s context, I can really say this company is doing great and getting an IPO means that it is going to be better than what it is today.”
Kyari reiterated that the corporation’s involvement in the Dangote refinery, for which it is paying about $2.7 billion, was to ensure energy security as well as tie down markets for Nigeria’s crude oil.
“We have seen the numbers and we think that if we invest in the company, we are going to get back our money in the maximum of five years and, of course, with the potential of having a dividend within five years.
“There is nothing better than this. When it comes to buying a good refinery today on your own, you’re going to have five years before you can get to this level.
“We just saw an opportunity. Every company is reshaping their portfolio, trying to see how to do things differently so that you can spread your risks and cash in on any business that is on the way to progress. We know that this refinery will do well.”
The GMD listed the three goals for the government’s involvement in Dangote refinery to include access to petroleum products, some level of control over the company, and, most importantly, net market for Nigeria’s crude oil.
“Part of our deal is for the refinery to necessarily buy at least 300,000 barrels of oil from the national oil company. We think this is a good deal for us,” he stated.
On Nigeria’s inability to meet its production allocation by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Kyari said the country would fill the shortfall by October.
He stated, “I think by October maximum, we will meet our quota. The reason why we have not been able to do this is very simple, managing reservoir is a very complex thing, once you shut down getting back up is not that easy, and they are not going to come back from the same sources that you expected.
“We are working with our partners to make sure that we take out some of the impediments to that, and we have seen very gradual recovery in August, the numbers are very different. So, we are hopeful that by October we can get back to our quota level and do much better.”
He explained that Nigeria was not considering cutting prices for its oil, as being planned by Saudi Aramco, saying the demand for Nigeria’s petroleum is still very competitive.
Kyari noted, “Essentially, many of our customers need our crude for many reasons, quality issues and many other considerations. Even if we do react, it might not be on the same scale as the Saudis are doing. We have never done that.”
Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources yesterday called for the establishment of an African energy bank to help boost business activities in the continent’s oil and gas sector.
The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) had recently projected that the global oil industry would require about $12.6 trillion investments in the downstream, midstream as well as upstream to sustain its innovative and production efficiency in the next 25 years. OPEC warned that Nigeria’s economy and those of other resource-dependent countries might be badly affected, especially if the current push against fossil fuels continued to gain ground.
Speaking in Abuja during a visit by the Equatorial Guinea Minister of Hydrocarbons, Mr. Gabriel Lima, Sylva said since the Western nations were scaling down funding for hydrocarbon exploration across the world and focusing on renewable energies, setting up an African energy bank was a viable way to neutralise the threat.
According to the minister, the call for the establishment of the bank is heightened by the passage of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA). He said the Act would open up the oil and gas sector for huge investments, going forward.
Sylva stated, “The PIA is a watershed moment for us in Nigeria. This is the time for us to get out of Nigeria to market this investment environment. We must not go out of Africa to attract investments. We must setup structures to fund our system.
“If we insist on the exploration of our oil and gas reserves when the world is cutting down on investments in the sector, we must set a financial institution, an African energy bank to develop the oil and gas sector.
“If we go into more exploration in Africa, we will find more oil and gas and must we leave it under the ground because the other countries are racing for renewable energy? We must find a way to explore it and that’s why we need an energy bank along the line of the African Development Bank (AfDB).”
While calling for synergy among African nations, the minister noted that no country in the world would help Africa develop aside Africans themselves.
“None of us can grow without each other,” he said, adding, “It is not all the time that we run to Europe or America or elsewhere for support. We need to keep talking and we need mutual cooperation to solve our own problem. We can achieve this under the African Petroleum Producers’ Organisation (APPO).”
While emphasising the urgent need for African countries under APPO to come together to work out a more realistic timetable for energy transition for the continent, Sylva said Africa needed to look inwards. He urged African leaders to close ranks through a solid platform to resist the clamour for sudden transition from hydrocarbon to renewable energies. He called for research into African problems in order to fully explore the huge potential of the continent.
Earlier, Lima congratulated Nigeria for the historic passage of the PIA and noted that with the passage of the law the country was ready for serious business in the oil and gas sector. He emphasised the need for Africa to strengthen the South-South cooperation, stressing that Africa should not always expect to find solutions to its problems in Europe and America.
Lima said he was in the country to follow up on an earlier engagement between Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea as well as explore other areas where both countries could partner.
Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja