The Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Mele Kyari, has defended the establishment of a retail arm for the company.
Kyari, who spoke on Friday at the resumed investigative hearing of the ad hoc committee on the acquisition of OVH Energy by NNPCL, said the organisation did nothing wrong in the acquisition as it was purely a business decision that has begun to yield results in less than one year after it was done.
Kyari also said that the company now has over 900 fuel stations spread across the country while controlling about 30 per cent of the market in the downstream sector of the petroleum industry.
He said: “This company came into existence as a result of the passage of the Petroleum Industries Act, which included the creation of a commercial oil company that will work for all.
“You also decide that the shareholders of this company will be the federation, meaning that the overall 200 million Nigerians are shareholders in this company.”
The NNPC GMD added that the PIA also mandated the company to be the energy guarantor for the country, adding that it was not an option for the company to do otherwise.
He said: “It is part of the law that we should protect national interests in a way to guarantee energy security. It is very clear th at there is a huge relationship between energy security and national security anywhere in the world. Countries go to war to ensure energy security.
“On the basis of this and to discharge our responsibility as prescribed by the law, we do need to have the capacity to have control over the downstream sector of the economy.
“We started NNPC Retail Limited in the year 2000, and until the acquisition of the OVH chain, we were not able to grow organically.
“We only had 48 stations that we owned and a mirage of companies that are affiliates all over the country, some of which were not functional fuel stations, they could not serve the purpose because there were dealers who could not pay for the cost of the products, and we had locations where we could not guarantee either the quantity or quality of the products sold.
“We failed to grow organically for 23 years. The only way to bridge that gap is to do something strategic, and this is very difficult in our industry. You have to acquire other people’s assets if you want to grow to achieve the objective of the PIA and grow this company to the business we want it to be.”