Mele Kyari: The Game-Changer Revolutionising The Oil And Gas Industry

By Adewole Kehinde

“No person was ever honoured for what he received. Honour has been the reward for what he gave.” Calvin Coolidge

A person’s destiny will always come to pass with hard work, devotion, and perseverance. Achieving higher places in life is always influenced by a variety of factors, including intrinsic motivation, reflections on one’s qualities, and a strong desire to succeed.

Mele Kyari’s path to his current position has been fraught with ups and downs, experiences that a great person must have. Against all odds, a game-changer, a catalyst for change and adversity, flourishes.

On Tuesday, February 27, 2024, NNPC Ltd.’s Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO), Mele Kyari, bagged the 2023 Energy Personality of the Year Award at the Nigeria International Energy Summit 2024 Awards held in Abuja, Nigeria.

I told some friends a few months ago that if there are awards dished out every month in the oil and gas industry in Africa, they will surely go to Mal Mele Kyari.

Mal Mele Kolo Kyari walks with self-effacement, simplicity, and humility, yet his steps are measured and intentional. Whether you like him or not, Mele Kolo Kyari, the Group Chief Executive of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, has had a big impact on the oil and gas sector in particular as well as the nation’s petroleum industry in general.

In the brief time, he has been in charge as the Group Chief Executive Officer of the NNPC Limited, he may not have accomplished everything he set out to when he took office in 2019, but his accomplishments to date have left lasting imprints that will go down in the annals of history in the Nigerian oil and gas sector.

In his inaugural speech to the NNPC’s employees and management, Kyari made it apparent that he intended to oversee a publicly owned, publicly responsible, and open state-owned national oil firm.

He unveiled an agenda for NNPC’s rebirth with the introduction of Transparency, Accountability, and Performance Excellence (TAPE), a five-step strategic plan for achieving efficiency and worldwide excellence in NNPC’s operational operations. This served as a framework for achieving this aim.

According to Kyari, for NNPC Limited to fulfil its objectives, the TAPE agenda needs to lead the way in transforming and improving the company’s potential and ability to compete globally with other national oil corporations.

Creating a new system that complied with well-defined operational processes benchmarked against acceptable international standards and global best practices by top oil and gas companies was the main driving force behind the TAPE objectives. These included opening the NNPC’s financial and operational systems to public scrutiny and making sure the organisation’s operational processes became transparent and accountable to both the Nigerian people and the government.

According to Kyari, NNPC Limited will create and maintain the appropriate operational cost structure under the TAPE agenda to ensure value addition and long-term profitability. It will also create governance structures for its strategic business units to help them achieve their objectives and meet corporate and performance standards.

Aside from former President Muhammadu Buhari and the former Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, Kyari is one of only three prominent figures in the industry who can claim complete credit for resolving the issues that caused the National Assembly to postpone passing the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) for nearly twenty years.
Kyari’s influence on the oil and gas business is further evidenced by the August 2022 enactment of the Petroleum Business Act (PIA) 2021, which has left a legacy.

In terms of establishing a new legal, governance, regulatory, and budgetary framework; realigning the operating environment to encourage investment and sustainable growth; and enhancing accountability and transparency, the PIA marked a new beginning for the sector.

The new law provided the foundation for the transformation of the NNPC into a public liability company, Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), regulated under the provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA); and the creation of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA) and Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) to reassure international investors of the government’s commitment to the development of the sector.

Kyari, a steadfast supporter of the international EITI, has ensured that NNPC Ltd.’s legacy of accountability and openness is nationally and internationally recognized. The confirmation of the NNPCL as a participant in the extractive industry that adheres to the principles of upholding the EITI Standard and principles through transparent reporting and public disclosure of information about its finances and operations in Nigeria has been provided by Kyari’s emergence as an EITI-supporting company.

Kyari has noted that the world’s energy shift away from fossil fuels and carbon emissions presents a real chance to increase the value of the nation’s gas resources and expand its petroleum sector.

Because of the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, he has consequently led the NNPCL to launch several turn-key gas projects aimed at mobilising the nation’s gas resources and supplying them to various markets in Europe and America.

Under Kyari’s direction, NNPCL is leading legacy projects, including the 614-kilometre Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) pipeline system, which aims to close the economic gap between the North and South regions of Nigeria.

Over eight billion standard cubic feet (SCF) of gas produced from the Niger Delta region’s oil resources would be transported via the pipeline and supplied to Kano’s industries as well as those in the northern states that are joining it.

To increase gas supply and utilisation throughout the ECOWAS sub-region, Kyari and NNPCL are also involved in the implementation of certain regional integration and economic diversification initiatives. One such project is the West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP), which is carried out in cooperation with Ghana, Togo, and Benin.

The Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline (NMGP) will continue to develop as part of the West African Gas Pipeline Expansion Project (WAGPEP), which was started by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission. This will allow the two projects to work in tandem more effectively.

The multibillion-dollar, 681-kilometre project was first envisioned in 2003 as a regional endeavour to transport natural gas resources from the Niger Delta region of Nigeria to Benin, Togo, and Ghana via the Escravos-Lagos gas pipeline. The natural gas would then be delivered to off-take points at Cotonou, Lome, and Takoradi for industrialization and power generation, respectively.

To transport Nigeria’s natural gas resources to 15 nations in West and North Africa, Kyari is also involved in the construction of the 474 million standard cubic feet of gas per day trans-regional pipeline system. This pipeline system is an extension of the current WAGP and was designed as a new regional onshore and offshore gas system.

With a spur connecting the current Europe gas pipeline through Spain, the 5,660-kilometre-long NMGP would begin construction in Nigeria and pass through Benin, Togo, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Gambia, Senegal, and Mauritania before ending at Tangiers, a Moroccan port on the Strait of Gibraltar.

Another legacy Kyari and NNPCL are leaving for Nigeria’s oil and gas industry is the construction of the 4,128-kilometre Trans-Saharan gas pipeline, which is being pushed by the company along with its counterparts in Algeria and Nigerien as a strategic investment to transport approximately 30 billion cubic metres of gas annually to the European market.
The pipeline was originally planned to start in Warri, Delta State, Nigeria, and travel 1,037 kilometres to the northern part of the country, 841 kilometres through the Niger Republic, and 2,310 kilometres to Hassi R’Mel, Algeria. The pipeline’s final destination is to connect to the Trans-Mediterranean, Maghreb-Europe, Medgaz, and Galsi pipelines, which are currently supplying Europe with gas from the gas transmission hubs that cross the Sahel region at El Kala and Beni Saf on Algeria’s Mediter.

Plans by the NNPCL to broaden its operations beyond its customary ones to other, uncharted territories, increase its revenue streams, and lessen the effects of the volatility in the global crude oil market are also included in Kyari’s legacy.

In addition to introducing its line of lubricants to the Nigerian market, NNPC Retail Limited and its partners have been working to build the infrastructure required to promote domestic gas use among Nigerians and the production of electricity for the nation’s

industries.
In addition, Kyari stated that the NNPC Ltd. has plans to increase the use of compressed natural gas (CNG), a less expensive fuel substitute for automobiles, and will keep pushing Nigerians to utilise LPG, also referred to as cooking gas, in their daily activities.

These are in addition to additional business opportunities in renewable energy for health, real estate, logistics, and biofuels like solar and biofuels.

Kyari’s greatest contribution to the oil and gas sector may come from his ability to guarantee that the federal government finds a long-term solution to the problem of growing fuel subsidy costs, which significantly reduce government revenue.

If NNPCL and the government had been able to terminate the subsidy payment scandal in the country’s petroleum product supply and distribution, Kyari would have been able to write his name in gold, as NNPCL is the only importer of petroleum products in Nigeria. There are plans to completely deregulate the petroleum industry’s downstream sector, which will allow other private oil marketers to enter the national fuel supply and distribution market.

These benchmarks might not be all-inclusive. However, all signs point to Kyari taking the helm at NNPC Ltd., and the petroleum sector in Nigeria will continue to benefit from it.

Without a doubt, Mele Kyari is a game changer who is transforming the oil and gas sector with her creative leadership and inventive tactics. He is well-positioned to take advantage of the opportunities presented by oil and gas, meet the country’s energy needs, propel economic growth, and establish himself as a dependable and trustworthy figure for the people of Nigeria.

 

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