NNPC’s call for academic-industry collaboration in the energy sector

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In a dynamic and insightful Faculty Lecture at the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Mr. Mele Kyari, the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd.), championed the cause for a robust collaboration between academia and the oil and gas industry. The lecture, titled “Energy Security, Sustainability, and Profitability in Nigeria: Advances, Challenges, and Opportunities,” delved into the pressing issues of our time.

Kyari underscored the vital role played by academic communities, with a special emphasis on institutions like OAU, in fortifying national energy security through dedicated research and collaborative efforts with the industry. In his engaging address, he tackled head-on the challenges faced by Nigeria in maintaining energy sufficiency and sustainability.

Among the hurdles identified were rapid population growth, pipeline vandalism, and crude oil theft. Kyari advocated for energy conservation, diversification, and efficiency as pivotal measures to bolster energy security, considering the forecasted doubling of Nigeria’s energy demand by 2050.

Highlighting the intricacies of pipeline vandalism and oil theft, Kyari shed light on NNPC Ltd.’s proactive approach. The establishment of a command-and-control centre has proven instrumental in detecting and dismantling illegal refinery sites, removing illegal connections, and effectively combating vandalism across operational corridors since 2021.

The CEO proudly shared the centre’s achievements, noting, “The centre provides livestreaming of surveillance data to security forces, contributing to the detection and destruction of over 5,686 illegal refinery (IR) sites and the removal of 4,480 illegal connections (ICs) from 2021 to the present.”

Addressing the severity of vandalism and oil theft, Kyari hinted at a strategic shift. NNPC Ltd. is focusing on increased product trucking and storage in underground tankages at filling stations nationwide. The acquisition of OVH retail stations in 2021 has positioned NNPC Ltd. as the largest single downstream company in sub-Saharan Africa.

In the wake of the Petroleum Industry Act in 2021, Kyari proudly highlighted NNPC Ltd.’s transformation into a fully commercial limited liability energy company. The removal of fuel subsidies, he stated, has enabled the company to play a more active commercial role, ensuring profitability and delivering greater value to Nigeria’s burgeoning population.

As we navigate the evolving landscape of the energy sector, Kyari’s call for collaboration with academia resonates as a key to unlocking innovative solutions. The future of energy security, sustainability, and profitability in Nigeria rests on the shoulders of collaborative efforts that bridge the gap between industry and academia.

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