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Nigerian Oil in a Post- Diezani Trauma

By Toyin Akinosho,

A fuller sketch of events

In the Christmas of 2014, Nigeria had three months to go for elections.

I was living in Lagos, the country’s commercial hub, and frantically calling for the removal of Diezani Allison-Madueke as the petroleum minister.

There were numerous reasons I thought it’d be a value destroying proposition to keep Mrs. Allison-Madueke in the role, if (the incumbent President) Goodluck Jonathan won the elections. I enumerated them in this column at the time.

But close to eight years after the electoral sack of Goodluck Jonathan and the accompanying exit of Allison-Madueke, the Nigerian petroleum industry is in a far sorrier state than it was. President Muhammadu Buhari and his team have not only wasted the Nigerian energy crisis, they have encouraged the ungovernability of the space that the petroleum sector occupies, even with their much-celebrated success with the passage of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).

For context, I’d briefly summarise why I had forcefully called for Diezani’s ouster and then return to Buhari’s dismal performance.

The darkest spot on Diezani’s tenure was the signing and implementation of the Strategic Alliance Agreement (SAA).

She was settling down as minister in 2011 when Shell, TOTAL and ENI were rounding up the sale of their 45% in five assets onshore Niger Delta to Nigerian companies. Her ministry decided that the NNPC would be more active in management of the assets. This is fine. What’s lamentable is the way in which the country’s share of the proceeds got diluted in such a way that the net return to the national coffers was significantly diminished, in favour of the private interests that was allegedly investing in production capacity on behalf of the NNPC.

The NNPC, at the minister’s instance, nominated its operating subsidiary, Nigeria Petroleum Development Company NPDC, to manage the acreages. The NPDC in turn invited a financing partner to fund its share of the operations. The contract with Atlantic Energy (SAA) entitled it to 30% of NNPC’s share even after the cost oil had been recovered.

In order to recover its cost in funding the NPDC part of the operations, the terms called for Atlantic Energy Drilling to receive, at the beginning of production, 60% of the volume of crude oil to which NPDC (NNPC) was entitled.  This is cost oil. When that cost was fully recovered, Atlantic’s share would drop to 30% of the crude oil to which NPDC was entitled. Please read this carefully; in the post-Shell operatorship phase, after the NNPC equity had been transferred to its subsidiary NPDC, to become the “operator”, with so much fanfare, NPDC had gone into an agreement with a company unknown to the industry and registered just months before the deal. The company was charged with the responsibility to fund NNPC share of the cash call for operations in return for 60% (in the first instance) and later 30% (after cost recovery) of the crude oil that should accrue to NPDC (NNPC) and by extension, the teeming Nigerian population! In effect, the rightful share of the proceeds from these assets that should flow to the National Treasury drops by at least 30%, all through the duration of the agreement.

I have gone into this simple explanation to show how inequitable the Strategic Alliance Agreement had been. What’s worse, much of the entitlement to the nation from this much reduced take never made it to the national treasury.

This brazen way of spitting in the nation’s face was the signature conduct of Diezani Allison Madueke’s tenure.

In four years on the job, she saw out three successive heads of Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), the industry’s regulatory agency and fired four Group Managing Directors of NNPC, the state hydrocarbon company. The most important criterion for keeping any of those jobs was an undivided commitment to doing Diezani’s bidding. She had a huge appetite for pursuing vendettas, even after dismissing the non-compliant heads. Of all the acreages divested by Shell during her tenure the only one for which she got NNPC to call up its pre-emption rights was motivated by pure anger.

IOCs conducted divestments from 21 acreages under her watch, a sign of inclement investment climate more than anything else, but the minister didn’t regard it as a blot. Instead, she saw opportunities to influence the sale and purchase in her personal favour. The companies often had to watch her body language to determine who to sell to.

Diezani superintended the highest crude oil prices in history (2011 to 2014) but the Nigerian rig count trended south. The cash call issue (which is what Nigerians call the IOCs’ receivables from NNPC for joint venture operations), became more intractable than ever during her tenure. As work programmes shrank in that era of high of prices, the major companies accelerated the frequency of severance packages for their staff.

So much for memories of the Diezani era.

Buhari removed NPDC’s chokehold on Nigerian independents with assets in the Western Niger Delta, and allowed the CEO of NNPC a free hand. Key upstream operators cheered when his government proposed to pay the cash call arrears in tranches that were transparently measurable. But knowing what we know now, the gesture had come too late. Buhari himself has witnessed the divestment of seven oil mining leases by two majors and I have to quickly say this before anything else about his administration’s seven years; the impunity in acreage licencing and administration has become more rampant. The 2020 Marginal Fields Bid round was the country’s least transparent and possibly most corrupt hydrocarbon lease sale in the last 20 years. The round, superintended by the (now defunct) DPR, was so riddled with malfeasance that the newly created Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) cannot publish the list of awardees.

Yes, petroleum rights are where the Buhari team got it most wrong. In one case that could have been laughable if it was not so tragic, the DPR revoked the four Production Sharing Contracts operated by Sinopec-owned Addax Petroleum and, in the course of three days, re-awarded the PSCs to two Nigerian companies, one of them owned by a highly politically exposed individual. Of course, there was a lot of kicking and screaming by the state firm NNPC, the concessionaire of the PSCs and the Nigerian president instructed a return of the rights to Addax, after the Chinese government had complained, but the episode fit a pattern. In the last 18 months the Buhari administration has re-awarded at least four licences it had revoked from some companies, to other companies, all outside the process of a bid round or any form of open, transparent contest.  A sense of arbitrariness is highlighted by the decision to suspend sections of the Petroleum Industry Act, because the government could not dare to remove subsidies on gasoline importation, which costs the treasury over $4Billion a year. The sense-in the air- of deepening entropy in the conduct of the affairs of the Nigerian petroleum industry has not abated.

The old habits of sitting on proposals and approvals for pecuniary gains, either at the Ministry, at the regulatory agency, or in the NNPC towers, haven’t gone away and it is largely because, despite legislated structured reforms, individuals still see themselves as the processes!

President Buhari is credited with the passage of the Petroleum Industry Act, but we must not forget that his presidency spent the longest time (six years) to work on it. Project delivery timelines haven’t improved. It is looking like none of the gas pipelines under construction by NNPC, before Buhari came in, will be completed before his eight-year term of his Presidency ends. My key worry is the unwillingness of the man once described as “ascetic, sandal-wearing general”, to tackle the glaring graft in the sector. It is why I think the country is living in the post-Diezani trauma.

This article, earlier published in the Kickstarter column of the March 2022 edition of the monthly Africa Oil+Gas Report, is republished here on this website for the larger public because of its significance in terms of public-service.



Nigerian Oil in a Post- Diezani Trauma

By Toyin Akinosho,

In the Christmas of 2014, Nigeria had three months to go for elections.

I was living in Lagos, the country’s commercial hub, and frantically calling for the removal of Diezani Allison-Madueke as the petroleum minister.

There were numerous reasons I thought it’d be a value destroying proposition to keep Mrs. Allison-Madueke in the role, if (the incumbent President) Goodluck Jonathan won the elections. I enumerated them in this column at the time.

But close to eight years after the electoral sack of Goodluck Jonathan and the accompanying exit of Allison-Madueke, the Nigerian petroleum industry is in a far sorrier state than it was. President Muhammadu Buhari and his team have not only wasted the Nigerian energy crisis, they have encouraged the ungovernability of the space that the petroleum sector occupies, even with their much-celebrated success with the passage of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).

For context, I’d briefly summarise why I had forcefully called for Diezani’s ouster before I go to discuss aspects of Buhari’s dismal performance.

The darkest spot on Diezani’s tenure was…

Read More

Guilty By Association

Toyin Akinosho

The World Economic Forum On Africa (WEF on Africa) feels more posh than most of the business gabfests on the continent. Not even the Africa Upstream, which provides top oil industry executives the” business reasons” for travelling to Cape Town, to luxuriate in the “Southern sun” every November, gets anywhere close to being as upscale.

Charlotte Bauer, an editor with the Johannesburg weekly Mail and Guardian, confessed that minutes into the opening plenary of the June 2009 edition, she began to get “Blackberry envy”. She wrote in the paper’s June 12, 2009 edition “My neighbours with smart phones in the packed hall at the Cape Town International Convention Centre were kept entertained as the contents of their inboxes became more fascinating compared with live proceedings”.

African leaders invited to lead conversations at WEF On Africa are themselves very conscious of being in an important place. “I am only attending Davos for the first time”, enthused John Kuffour, the then (outgoing) Ghanaian president, at the 2008 edition of the conference. His mistake of calling the scenic Swiss resort, where the big, global WEF takes place every February, to describe his pleasure at being in a regional meeting of WEF on African soil, was a profound Freudian slip. Imagine IF Mr. Kuffour was invited to the big event?

There wasn’t as much a sense of bonhomie at the 2009 WEF on Africa as it was in ‘2008. Absent in 2009 was the heady self congratulatory air, and the pervasive feeling of optimism-encouraged by high commodity prices and six percent growth rates- that marked the 2008 edition. The economic meltdown in the West had taken its toll on Africa’s commodity prices and the South African economy, the continent’s industrial engine, was imploding.

The somber mood of the 2009 edition of WEF on Africa notwithstanding, there was hardly any evidence that African leaders, as a collective, had learned lessons from the crash of 2008 and were desperate to turbo-charge the continent’s economy to achieve huge capacity growth. There were no ambitious, large scale, self driven projects on energy, intra continental transportation or local content enhancing, innovative technology projects that were going to dramatically transform the lives of hundreds of thousands of people at terribly short notice. Lessons from other parts of the world were lost on Africa: China and India were growing at much faster rates, driven by high technology enterprises and the Middle East, especially the Gulf States, were unhappy with their own apparent backwardness and were keen on spending their way into the 21st century. In Africa, on the contrary, it was the usual softly-softly, postage stamp approach; small scale power projects, “helping” small rural farming with subsistence methods and facilities that involve the heavy participation of Chinese investors as well as more investment in mining that were driven solely by outside parties.

I remember asking a question on investment opportunities in some country in East Africa and the Minister on the panel who responded to me said : “The Chinese investors we are talking to are…” I felt very tired.

In spite of this poor showing by Africa’s political leadership, I still allowed myself to be conned.

This is how it happened.

At a second day session on Africa’s agricultural potential, at which Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary General, emphasized the work his foundation was doing with small scale farmers, I asked whether it wasn’t time for African policymakers to start focusing on large scale farming. I noted that large scale farmers on the continent were mostly the settler minorities; Indians in East Africa and Afrikaners in Southern Africa. In Nigeria, now, everybody is talking about the “success” of the Zimbabwean farmer in the country. It occurred to me, I explained to the audience, to wonder, “Where is the scale minded African entrepreneur in farming? Where is the native African industrialist? Where is The Successful Black Commercial Farmer?”

That question earned me both admiration and reproach. At the coffee break

shortly after, Edward Boateng, creator of the CNN/Multichoice African Journalists Awards, walked up and gave me a short lecture. “You shouldn’t be alienating people” he charged. “East African Indians and South African Afrikaners are Africans, too. Africa needs all her talent”. To Arthur Mutamburra, Zimbabwe’s Deputy Prime Minister, I had, with my comments, become an instant friend. “This is the man who asked the question about black entrepreneurship”, Mutamburra told his wife, Susan, as a way of introductions.

I became, at terribly short notice, a “family friend” of Zimbabwe’s third couple.

And to my surprise, I was feeling cool about it. When Susan Mutambura earnestly explained that she’d been hoping to visit Lagos, the city of my birth, in Nigeria, I felt an adrenalin rush. And I found myself feeling quite exhilarated when the Deputy Prime Minister himself said over and over again: “You must visit Zimbabwe”.

The next place I got “invited” to join Africa’s political class was at the session on Free Trade Zones. After I complained that Africa’s big projects were perpetually on the drawing board, Felix Mswati, Zambia’s Minister of Trade and Industry said pointedly, “my friend, Africa’s current generation of politicians are different from those of the past. Now we want to do business, not politics”. Later, he gave me his card and allowed me to get into a discussion between him, his Ghanaian counterpart and an American State Department representative, who kept on repeating: “It’s true, Africa has a new breed of leaders”. I am surprised, as I write this, that I didn’t interrogate their conclusions, I didn’t argue with them. I was too content to be allowed to hang out with ministers. I didn’t even request for interviews, privately, to question these assertions. What new breed of leaders? Which African country is a showpiece in the direction of people centred development? What projects were happening in Zambia in which Zambian entreprenueurs were taking the initiative? What’s taking place in Ghana that could be compared with the quantum leap in economic progress that took place in Singapore 20 years ago, or in South Korea 15 years ago?

Two days later in the same premises: the Cape Town International Conference Centre. The World Economic Forum had wrapped up and South Africa’s most popular Conference venue was hosting the 4th Cape Town I International Book Fair. Here I attended a discussion entitled Hollow Men: Can Africa’s Leaders fulfill Africa’s promise?  The conversation was between Moeletsi Mbeki, a hugely popular South African public intellectual and brother of the former South African president Thabo Mbeki, and Achille Mbembe, the Cameroon born scholar described by some as one of the most brilliant theorists of postcolonial studies writing today.  Much of the discussion centered around Mbeki’s new book, Architects of Poverty: Why Africa’s Capitalism needs Changing. A highpoint of Mbeki’s argument was that Africa’s current brand of capitalism was comparable with the economic situation in 8th century England, where a very few members of the gentry rode roughshod over the large population of the working class. He spoke about how liberation fighters on the continent always turned out to be oppressors themselves. And he used examples from Algeria (the men who fought the war of independence turned out to be overlords themselves) to South Africa (liberation comrades are the new fat cats) .

Although I felt it was going to be incongruous to ask Mr Mbeki his thoughts on the notion that there was a new breed of African leaders all over the continent. I asked him anyway. He looked me over in a way that suggested I hadn’t been following up closely on events and then he asked, “Who are these new breed of African leaders? Wasn’t that what was sold about a decade ago. Has there been any major difference in the quality of life of the people, on average?”

In that brief moment of Mr Mbeki’s response, my mind went to my repartee with the ministers at the World Economic Forum a few days before, at the same venue. I knew I had been conned.

The Game Changers Are Not Always the Most Expensive

Toyin Akinosho

The cost of Jubilee field development, Ghana’s first sizeable oilfield project, is $4billion. From sometime around November 2010, as the plan goes, this elephant sized deepwater field will deliver a hundred and twenty thousand barrels of crude oil every day into a floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) facility. By February 2011, Ghana will be exporting over one million barrels of crude every 10 days into the world market.

The country will come from nowhere to become Africa’s 11th largest producer of crude oil, after Nigeria, Algeria, Angola, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Equatorial Guinea, Congo, Gabon and Chad, in that order.

A project of Jubilee’s size, which creates a full, world class industry almost entirely on its own, provides the kind of scale that excites my cousin, Yemisi, a commercial lawyer with a going practice in Lagos, Nigeria.

Over lunch recently, she expressed deep disappointment about an interview on the CNN programme Marketplace Middle East. in which the CEO of Gulf Keystone. an American independent, was gushing with pride about the ability to source some $l2OMillion to prosecute a number of projects in the Kurdistan region of Iraq. “That’s peanuts!”, my cousin complained. I believe I could almost hear her murmur: “My God, what could you possibly do with $l2OMillion”. What she said loudly, though. was this: “This is not the kind of money I am used to hearing about, regarding oil and gas projects, at least here in Nigeria”.

I clearly understand where Yemisi, a keen observer of her surroundings, is coming from.

In the last 10 years, a lengthy list of awesomely expensive oil and gas projects have come on stream in the Gulf of Guinea area; in Angola, at least five field development projects of a scale equal, or bigger than the Jubilee field, have been commissioned.

In Nigeria alone, for specifics: The Nigerian LNG project was commissioned in 1999 after $3.8Billion had been spent; the Bonga field project (on stream date 2005) has officially been reported to cost about $3.6 Billion, and there is controversy as to whether the cost wasn’t far more. The total cost of Erha field development(2006) is in excess of $3.5Billion. Agbami deepwater development weighed in at over $4.2billion. In construction, as we speak, is the Bonga expansion, otherwise known as Bonga North West project, for which a $200Million contract had been awarded for subsea  development alone( provision of pipeline engineering, procurement, fabrication, installation and pre-commissioning services for pipe-in-pipe flowlines, water injection flowlines, umbilicals, as well as related production facilities on the seafloor and the deep marine environment).The cost of the entire Bonga NW work will not be less than $600Million, conservatively speaking.

In Equatorial Guinea, the Aseng condensate field development, granted official sanction in late 2009, will get into construction phase late in 2010. The bill for the project, aimed at producing 50,000Barrels of condensates per day at peak, is $1.3 billion.

The point, however, is that whereas these mammoth projects are headline grabbers, many of the game changing kind of projects are much smaller and, in the perspective of people like Yemisi, “inexpensive”.

Let me provide a shortlist of some of these projects-for they are projects too, whether they are just a wildcat exploration programme, a seismic acquisition shoot or a short distance gas pipeline construction- which are either going to be in construction, or in commissioning stage in 2010.

Construction of the proposed 56km natural gas pipeline from Uquo to IkotAbasi, both in Nigeria’s deep south is likely to start in 2010. At $120 million, it would be too cheap to excite my cousin, but it’s a trail blazing kind of project. As the Nigerian government talks about a gas masterplan to direct more natural gas to power plants and other intermediate, domestic uses, in place of a growing appetite for export as LNG, it is projects like Uquo-Ikot Abasi line that will become an integral part of the basic gas infrastructure.

At $65million the Agbami 4D seismic acquisition programme, which got underway in November 2009, is expensive by the standard cost of seismic acquisitions. The bill is double the cost of comparable acquisitions on similar, large sized deepwater fields. It will take four months for Seabird’s Hugin Explorer, to complete the acquisition. The cost of Agbami 4D lies in its uniqueness; the efficacy of the acquisition is not so much dependent on the vessel capability as it is about the cable reaching the seabed and capturing data that the best seismic vessel architecture cannot achieve. Operator Chevron wants to properly image a reservoir that is much deeper than the deepest known hydrocarbon reservoir and Seabird will help them do it through nodal analysis.

In Egypt, the combined solar and gas thermal project in Kureimat, located south of Cairo. is expected to be commissioned in 2010. This hybrid project will produce about 150 MW of power, 45 percent of which will be from solar parabolic troughs and steam turbines, the rest coming from natural gas turbines. The entire cost is $327 Million, of which the World Bank is providing $49 Million soft loan from its Global Environmental Facility. The Japan Bank For International Cooperation contributes $151 .29Million. The Egyptian government itself comes up with the balance of $126.48Million. If my cousin had seen Hassan Younis, the Egyptian minister of Energy and Electricity, explaining that the country was spending “only” $126.48 Million on an “important” energy infrastructure, she might have dismissed it. But this is a game changing kind of project; the largest solar energy project in the middle east and, for the record, in all of Africa. The South Africans, who have been so fixated on burning tonnes after millions of tonnes of coal in order to expand their power generation, don’t have such a project in sight in the short term. As important for me as anything else about the Kureimat plant is this: the project contractor is Orascom Construction; an Egyptian company listed on the Cairo and Alexander Stock Exchange.

Indeed, the large sized, money guzzling projects we read about every day in newspapers start, quite often. as modest efforts. When the American minnow. Triton, was about to drill its first well in Rio Muni basin, off Eq Guinea, in 1999, it could barely afford the money. The company was practically begging everybody to farm in. It was almost at the last minute that Energy Africa, the South African independent, bought 15°o. Now we all know that the discover-c of the Ceiba field opened the basin to the world, Today, nine years after first oil, the field and its satellite, Okoume, are doing 60,000 BOPD. On account of the project’s cash flow, Triton was bought over by a larger operator, Amerada Hess. The field is also the major reason why Tullow swallowed Energy Africa in 2003. As my friend, Emeka Ene, managing director of Oildata, the Oilfield Service Company, would say:  “Do not despise the days of small beginning.

Yar’Adura’s Team Of Rivals

By Toyin Akinosho

Rilwanu Lukman, Nigeria’s newest minister for petroleum, is the public face of the group, within the government of President Umaru Yar’Adua, that re-instated the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, as the country’s monopoly power generation and distribution entity.

Rilwan Lanre Babalola, the newly appointed minister for power, was the Team Leader for Power Sector Reform at the Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE), driving the privatization of the entire utility, during the last government headed by Olusegun Obasanjo.

The two personalities have diametrically opposite perspectives on improvement of the power sector in Nigeria. So, what are they doing together in the same cabinet?

Was the idea to bring Babalola in to join Lukman, in what used to be Ministry of Energy, to create a team of rivals? If so, to what end?

Lukman’s idea of the continuation of power sector reform is to have the PHCN run as government funded entity until 2011.

That is a sharp reversal of the policy that Babalola and others championed through the BPE, a framework which provided the grounding for the country’s power sector reform act that was signed into law in March 2005. That act supercedes any law on electricity generation, transmission and distribution in the country.

Babalola cut the image of the spokesperson for privatization of the power sector between 2002 and 2005, during which the power reform bill crawled its way through the bureaucracies of the state house and the national assembly. His statements vilified the running of the PHCN and he was quoted as saying that tariffs could not have been higher than the loss Nigerians suffered from the inefficiency of the PHCN, which he said was understaffed in the technical and marketing departments and over staffed in administration. At a public forum in 2004, Babalola disclosed that he had been asked, in private, even by people in the legislature, why he was so passionate about selling off


As of May 2007, the BPE had put up for sale three of the seven electricity generation companies (power stations) and all the 11 distribution companies carved out of the PHCN. As the Obasanjo government wound up, private investors had submitted a total of 102 expressions of interest (EOI) for the three generating companies on offer and 302 EOIS for the distribution companies.

Yar’adua’s arrival at the state house put all that effort on the back burner.

Lukman’s committee declared that much of the implementation of the reform programme, midwifed by the BPE under Obasanjo, was hasty and that the targets set out in the programme were not met. It noted the pending issues of staff pension, the failure to define the workings of the Rural Electrification Fund and the establishment of the Consumer Protection Fund, among other regulatory shortcomings. To Mr Lukman, it didn’t matter that these issues he listed did not grapple with the argument that the nature of graft, in Nigeria, guaranteed that a government owned power utility could not work. South Africa and Egypt, the biggest economies on the continent, are powered by utilities that are owned by government. But these countries are not Nigeria, simple.

A small digression here. The national consensus in Nigeria, as of May 29, 1999, when civil rule was ushered in after 15 years of military dispensation, was that the electricity utility and the telecommunications monopoly should be disposed off. Nigerian intellectual, commercial and political elite couldn’t guarantee that, like France’s EdF, or South Africa’s Eskom, electricity could be sustainably supplied by a state run entity in Nigeria. The rot in government parastatals, especially those of the commercial variety, was and is still so deep that even officials do not trust their own instincts.

Yet in July 2008, Lukman’s committee called for a halt to the sale of PHCN. Against the run of play, and a subsisting law which provides guidance for the end of the monopoly, the committee decreed “a strengthening of the utility through the establishment of a coordinating body at its headquarters to provide leadership.” That leadership mandate was to run for three years. That was how PHCN returned to run things.

The question, then, is, if PHCN would not be privatised until 2011, the terminal date of the Yar’adua administration, why hire a minister who is ideologically opposed to a PHCN monopoly?

Some have called on Babalola to return the country swiftly to the Obasanjo era reform agenda and finalise the process. They ask him to quickly complete the National Integrated Power Projects, involving the construction of 11 generating stations and an overhaul of old radial transmission and distribution system, with state money and then hand over their operations to those private companies who win in a competitive, transparent sale process. That way, they say, government would not have to spend any single cent more to provide electricity, going forward.

But what’s crucial here is what the president wants.

Is he prepared to allow the forty something year old Babalola push his own initiatives, or is he just having him in the cabinet, to suggest that there are young people in his court, while he implements the initiatives of the elderly Lukman?

With Babalola and Lukman in the same cabinet, are we going to have a bruising fight between those who want the status quo of Africa’s largest country lavishing money on a chronically ill power utility and those who want a choice to a more competitive environment, with a strong regulatory oversight that ensures equitable prices and businesses that don’t take advantage?

President Yar’adua has shown so far to be on the side of those who prefer government ownership of energy companies, no matter how inefficient. In September 2008, Mr. Yaradua’s spokesmen publicly disowned, in a very gruff manner, an announcement by the BPE to privatise the Petroleum Products Marketing Company. The government statement essentially reversed proposals that the BPE, itself an arm of the Nigerian presidency, had put forward after deliberations with members of Mr Yaradua’s cabinet. In the move against the PPMC sale, there were echoes of Mr Yar’adua’s first symbolic act in office; the re-nationalisation of two refineries (with total capacity in excess of 300,000BOPD)from a private enterprise that bought them, returning cheques with value in excess of half a billion dollars. Mr Yar’adua had stated then, that the state hydrocarbon company NNPC had only 12 months to restore the refineries to health.  As of the time of writing this, 19 months after, the refineries are still short of that target.

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