The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari admitted that there is no excuse for the failure of Nigeria’s refinery to work. Instead, he chose to take the high road and blamed the failure of the moribund refineries on due negligence and bad maintenance culture.

This was his submission when he was asked a question about the NNPC’s technical capacity to properly manage oil exploration, refineries, and sales by the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum (Upstream) in Abuja yesterday.

[READ MORE: How NNPC discovered oil, gas deposits in the North]

The Details: Kyari said, The refineries didn’t fail because there were no skills. They failed because we are unable to take care of the refineries. And we don’t have to give excuses why we didn’t take care of them. But what we have decided to do is to make them work. There is no scarcity of skilled people.”

NNPC boss blames failure of refineries on negligence, says there are no excuses 

Going forward, Kyari noted that Nigeria is actually skilled to make the oil sector work. He added that Nigerians are industrious as their contributions can be found everywhere in the global oil and industry. He also gave an assurance to make the refineries work, promising to put strategies in place.

The oil industry is a technology-based industry and this technology evolves every day. I can say that in the entire global oil and gas industry, there is nowhere you would have gone that you would not find a skilled Nigerian working in the oil and gas industry. And indeed, we are probably the largest contributor to skilled manpower in the industry of all the black nations of the world.

The will is there today and our plan is to get them to work. And I assure you that the plans we have in place will deliver these refineries. There is no issue around the absence of skills; we have the best refiners in the world. Anywhere you go in the world, they will attest to it that we have the best refiners who are Africans in this country,” he said.

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[READ ALSO: NNPC vows to be transparent, set to publish details of petroleum product supplies]

The setbacks: Despite a national target of three million barrels per day and 40 million barrels of reserves, the target has been elusive according to Kyari. He, however, pledged a commitment to the lawmakers to make sure that the target is attainable.

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We are taking steps to realise this before the end of 2023, which is possible. A number of interventions are ongoing currently, including our elaborate intrusion into the frontier basins,” Kyari added.

In recent Nairametrics articles, NNPC disclosed its decision to gain trust in the hearts of its stakeholders by publishing details of its petroleum products supplies. Part of the initiatives was the flag off of Operation white – a team of 89 persons inaugurated by the Federal Government to track fuel consumption in the country.


  1. Thats my problem with Nigerians. You have been a part of this ‘negligence’ all your life. You should just keep quite and work pls. We expect results, not blames.

  2. Part of our greatest undoing In our service system is when someone assumes a position of appointment, he works assiduously hard to cover truth with falsehood. This is exactly what the NNPC Boss did at the senate chambers some days ago regarding the moribund situation of our refineries. Take a look at the organoram of the refineries from 1999 and compare it with the present organoram of the refineries and it will suggest a systematic and deliberate arrangement to get the refineries where they are today. During the regime of Obasanjo, the refineries witnessed mass retirements of staff and since then the few remaining ones have been retiring in droves without a corresponding plan to engage new hands. I will suggest that any concern reporter or journalists should pay a visit and interact with the workers. How can a refinery survive with massive casualizations? We have over two thousand casuals in the three refineries combined. The few regular staff play god in the name of management. It got to a stage when a particular MD was behaving like a bull in a china shop and told everyone who cared to know that he was going to be the last MD in WRPC. This was during Jonathan’s time. Who are the best operators and technicians the NNPC Boss was boasting of? The are all casuals and he is very much aware of this. A tradition that has failed us over the years should be seen as a backward match and quickly jettisoned.

  3. The truth of the matter is this:
    1. High level of corruption in Nnpc will not make the refineries work.
    2. Political interference from governments will always lead to high cost of maintenance and poor quality delivery.
    3. Poor placement of staff to run the refineries due to tribal sentiment is another problem.
    4. Lack of proper cost benefit analysis in project management. This is common to all state owned assets.

    Way Forward

    Privatize the refineries.


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