BEVERLY HILLS, May 16, (THEWILL) – A cold war brewing between the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva and the Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mele Kyari, is threatening the foundation of Nigeria’s oil sector. The war has divided loyalties among workers in the nation’s cash cow, with some dancing to the tunes of Kyari and others interested in being in the good books of Sylva.
The bone of contention is obviously the disruption in the smooth operation of the NNPC, in terms of policy making. Reports from very credible sources say the corporation now gets circumvented in some policy making decisions, which Kyari should ordinarily have an input in, with only the junior minister getting a say in such matters. Even the Department of Petroleum Resources, being the chief regulator of the oil industry that usually seeks the NNPC’s input on certain issues, has now resorted to bypassing Kyari and dealing directly with Sylva.
The NNPC boss, sources claim, is not happy about the development. A recent case in point is the mining licences taken from Addax Petroleum and given to Emeka Offor’s Kaztec Engineering Limited/Salvic Petroleum Consortium. Working in tandem with Sylva, the DPR had revoked Addax’s mining licences. It cited the company’s inability to comply with agreed targets, thus causing the country significant losses in revenue and jobs
Prior to revoking the mining licences, both the NNPC, through Mele Kyari and the late Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, were against the switching of the ownership of the mining licences. But following the death of the CoS, Sylva applied the necessary pressure and got the licences revoked and given to Offor’s company. Naturally, this didn’t go down well with Kyari. Thinking he has won the battle for this round of contest, Sylva unfortunately got a rude shock when the revoked licences were restored to Addax Petroleum, which is involved in a production sharing contract with the NNPC. Superior power play you may say. The last may probably not have been heard about the mining issue and we wait to see who blinks first between Kyari and Sylva.