59 Garlands To The Oil Czar, Mele Kyari As He Celebrates His Birthday

By Adewole Kehinde

“The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been,” – Madeleine L’Engle

The inspiration that Mele Kyari, the oil czar, fostered in countless people across the oil industry over the years is perhaps what will live on as his most enduring legacy.

His physical presence is noticeable, and he is over six feet tall, giving him an imposing image. And the same goes for his other certifications.

Clocking the age of 59 is a milestone for a man who has invested over 37 years of experience in the oil and gas industry, rising to the top of his career as the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited.

Even testifying to his pedigree, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in a birthday message to Kyari, said, “Mele is a man of action rather than words. He is proactive in his approach. His ability to diagnose complicated problems with thoughtful and pragmatic solutions has created a path for him to continue rendering valuable service to our nation. I wish him a happy birthday.

Mele Kyari was born on January 8, 1965, in Maiduguri, Borno State. He attended Government Community Secondary School Biu in Borno State between 1977 and 1982. In 1987, he obtained his Bachelor of Science (BSc) in geology and earth science from the University of Maiduguri.

Kyari is a Nigerian geologist, crude oil marketer, and 1st Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Limited). Before this appointment, Kyari was the Group General Manager, the Crude Oil Marketing Division, of the NNPC and the Nigerian National Representative at the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) since 2018.

Kyari is known in the oil industry as a crude oil marketer with an outfield pedigree in petroleum economics and crude oil and gas trading.

A 1987 Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) degree holder in Geology and Earth Science from the University of Maiduguri, Kyari did his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) as a Well Site Geologist with the Directorate of Foods, Roads, and Rural Infrastructure (DFRRI) between 1987 and 1988.

Between 1988 and 1991, he worked with the Nigerian Geological Survey Agency before joining the NNPC subsidiary, Integrated Data Services Limited (IDSL), where he worked as a seismic data processing geophysicist in the Data Processing Department.

In 1998, Kyari was appointed the Exploration Geophysicist Production Sharing Contract (PSC) of the National Petroleum Investments Management Services (NAPIMS) until 2004, when he became the Abuja Operations Manager of NAPIMS.

In 2006, he was appointed the Supervisor PSC, Crude Oil Marketing Department (COMD) of the NNPC, from which he rose to the position of Head and later Manager of Production Contracts Management of the COMD between 2007 and 2014.

Kyari was appointed General Manager, of Oil Stock Management, COMD, where he worked till 2015 before being appointed Group General Manager, COMD, and later Nigeria’s National Representative at OPEC.

In October 2022, President Muhammadu Buhari conferred a national honour of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR) on Kyari, while he was named the Outstanding Employer of the year 2022 by the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) in April 2023.

With the passage of the PIA 2021, NNPC Limited’s profitability margins have significantly risen, growing from a loss position of N803bn in 2018 to a profit position of N674bn in 2021.

It was Kyari’s magic wand that played out at that time, making the corporation, as it was known then, reduce its losses from N803 billion in 2018 to N1.7 billion in 2019, and the eventual declaration of a net profit in 2020. By fiscal 2021, the corporation’s profit grew to N674 billion, and before this period, the NNPC had been a loss-making entity, renowned for anomalies, undue political interference, and shades of burden.

In September last year, the NNPCL sealed the acquisition of OVH Energy, adding it to its assets reception jetty (ASPM) with a 240,000 MT monthly capacity, 8 LPG plants, 3 Lubes Blending Plants, 3 Aviation Depots, and 12 warehouses.

Also, Oando’s 380 fueling stations have been added to NNPC’s existing stations, making it the largest in Africa. Through the deal, NNPC is leveraging Oando’s coverage across Africa to become a leading energy company.

The acquisition of OVH Energy in 2022 by NNPC Limited has boosted the profitability of one of its subsidiaries, NNPC Retail, to N18.4bn in the first three months of this year. The acquisition, under the leadership of Kyari, shows his vision to make NNPC a force in the global energy market.

While identifying crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism as major challenges to the company’s business, Kyari told Akpabio, Abbas, and the lawmakers that the recent collaboration with the nation’s security services as well as third-party security contractors has been yielding results, mostly in the area of increased crude oil production. With oil theft and pipeline vandalism overwhelming Nigeria’s oil business in the recent past, NNPC Limited adopted Saudi Aramco’s model of using video surveillance to monitor its pipelines carrying crude oil from wells to flow stations in the Niger Delta.

The NNPC Limited, in collaboration with security agencies, has also set up a control centre to provide surveillance of all the country’s oil and gas assets in the Niger Delta. The surveillance system is known as the Central Coordination, Data Integration, and Activation Control Room. Just like Saudi Aramco, the NNPC Data Control Centre uses video visibility to monitor the country’s Niger Delta pipeline networks, where more than 90 per cent of the country’s crude is explored.

Through the Data Control Centre, the NNPC can see and monitor the movement of vessels on the coast of Nigeria’s territorial waters in real-time.

So far, over 22 million litres of stolen crude have been recovered through intelligence provided by the Data Centre.

Similarly, over 22 million litres of diesel, 0.15 million litres of Premium Motor Spirit, and 0.76 million litres of kerosene have also been recovered from criminals.

Through the operation, many suspects have been arrested, while vehicles, speedboats, wooden boats, and trucks have been seized and destroyed. Other items recovered are metal tanks, ovens, dugout pits, reservoirs, and cooking pots that have been destroyed.

Beyond arresting crude oil thieves and shutting down illegal refineries, the NNPC Limited, under the leadership of Kyari, is expanding the frontiers for crude oil production. At the meeting, the GCEO shed more light on efforts to shore up crude oil production. He said NNPC Limited is investing in several gas and power projects across the country, aimed at supporting the Federal Government’s power generation and industrialization aspirations.

To demonstrate this commitment to transforming Nigeria’s power sector, the NNPC, spearheaded by Kyari, entered into a turnkey Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) contract with China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) to construct the Gwagwalada Independent Power Plant project.

The project, which was flagged off in August by President Bola Tinubu, has been described as a game-changer in Nigeria’s power sector. It is a 1,350 MW combined cycle power plant with auxiliaries and a balance of plant located on 547 hectares of land already acquired at Gwagwalada, in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

The project is expected to generate between $700 million and $800 million annually within the first ten years of operations. The GIPP was necessitated by the need to deliver gas towards additional power generation capacity in Nigeria. Under the plan, gas supply to the plant will be through the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) Gas Pipeline Project, which is currently in its advanced stages of construction.

The GIPP project consists of three power train blocks of 450 MW each. Each block will include two General Electric (GE) gas turbine generators, two heat recovery steam generators (HRSG), one steam turbine electric generator, one direct air-cooling condenser, a balance of plant equipment, and a black start diesel generator.

According to records, Kyari’s tenure as the GMD of the erstwhile NNPC continues to stand as the best of all time. Therefore, it came as no surprise to those familiar with his career path that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu reappointed him as the GCEO of the NNPC Limited.


Adewole Kehinde is the publisher of Swift Reporters and can be reached at 08166240846. E-mail: kennyadewole@gmail.com