Upon taking over the mantle of leadership of NPDC, the Managing Director, Mr. Yusuf Matashi held several meetings with respective teams. The sessions were aimed at bringing the MD up to speed with the status of operations and urgent issues at NPDC.
In each of the meetings, Mr. Yusuf Matashi emphasized that it was not going to be business as usual as he is determined to reposition NPDC towards meeting the 2016 target of 300,000bopd set by the HMSPR/GMD, NNPC, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu. Operational efficiency, cost reduction, improvement of business culture and assets optimization were outlined as some of his key focus areas.
Certainly, Yusuf Matashi is not new to meeting such targets. He is a very experienced Electrical and Electronics Engineer with over twenty-eight years in the oil and gas industry. During this period, he covered project engineering, refinery maintenance, international material procurement, international oil trading, oil market intelligence, oil price assessments, crude oil marketing and sales, business development and corporate management. Mr. Matashi has also been involved in the development of strategies for revenue maximization from crude oil and gas sales, fiscal crude oil pricing and business developments for brown and green field assets for the corporation.
The MD is confident that NPDC’s objectives can be achieved as the company has continued to make significant strides since its creation in 1988. “NPDC has what it takes to move to the next level - the people, assets, expertise and resources. All that is needed is the right motivation and best business practices”, he said.
Mr. Matashi also called on Staff to remain dedicated to duties to ensure that the company meets its aspirations. Sir, you have been holding meetings with the various divisions, departments and groups since you resumed as MD, NPDC. What is your first impression about NPDC and what plans do you have to make a difference in the company?
First of all, I’m meeting with various Divisions and Departments in the company to quickly establish deep interface with management and staff, a process I consider critical to understanding issues on ground and evolving appropriate strategies on the way forward. I don’t want to make assumptions and I don’t want to judge with my eyes closed.
Most importantly, I want to interact with the teams. I want them to understand my expectations and that of our major stakeholders. I also want them to share their expectations with me too.
In my assessment, NPDC is potentially a strong E&P Company and whatever it will take to actualize that should be the concern of all stakeholders. Yes, I hope this marks a new beginning in that direction, we all need it.
Growing the company’s production volume to 300,000 bopd as mandated by the HMSPR/GMD, NNPC is of paramount importance. How do you intend to realize this mandate?
The HMSPR/GMD, NNPC, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu believes in the potentials of NPDC and I do too. He is of the opinion that NPDC can improve the performance of its assets, it can achieve the set target. Why 300,000 bopd? you may ask. Before the unrest in the Niger Delta, these assets were prolific. Already, NPDC has been able to hit 155,000 bopd in December, 2015 before the outage of Forcados Oil Terminal (FOT).
Going forward, the strategy is not only to hit new targets but guarantee sustainability of our production growth through strategic planning, asset optimization and extensive engagement of all stakeholders including our host communities.
In the course of my interaction with staff, I came across highly qualified, competent, passionate and committed officers and engineers who are eager to bring about improved performance. My biggest surprise was the depth of knowledge that these workers have about the assets they are managing.
Of course shortage of manpower came up severally as we went through the various sessions. I have directed the EDS to escalate to Group HR. Going forward any complimentary support, especially for technical services will be evaluated against our requirements and overall targets.
One challenge that NPDC faces is the incessant shutdown of operations by communities. What options are you considering towards ensuring stability of operations?
Allow me to quickly state some clear facts here because NPDC requires a very urgent re-orientation. The communities are not just hosts but strategic partners. And for us, we need to start treating them as one. Truth be told, if NPDC is unable to produce, it is a loss for all stakeholders (including host communities).
The Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) that is being executed with a number of communities is one of the frameworks we need to operate effectively to guarantee benefits. I need to fulfill to the best of my ability, my obligations to the communities before I can demand the same of them; I require my facilities to be safe; I require my facility to be allowed to operate at its optimal state in order to get the benefits that will enable me meet my future obligations to you’. If I cannot produce, I cannot be in business or even support any community. And this is where the synergy comes in. This is the path to a sustainable community relationship with stable production operations for the benefit of all.
Secondly, when you talk about production, we want to quickly focus on some optimization projects, concentrating first on a short-term programme that relates to surface facilities and well management activities. Generally, this short term programme is aimed at rig-less operations. These activities will prepare us to ramp up production without difficulties by the time the Focardos Oil Terminal (FOT) becomes available.
NPDC has joint venture partnerships with several indigenous companies. How do you intend to strengthen these relationships to ensure the continual development and growth of NPDC?
Our Joint Venture (JV) partners are joint owners of whatever asset we have and that we must respect. The only way you can reap the benefits of the relationship is to work on the assets together. It is the asset that brought us together, this is the common interest we share. For assets that we operate, we will continue to seek maximum benefits to stakeholders and seek their support in line with the provisions of the JOA.
A situation wherein parties don’t respect agreements would not augur well for anyone. For me, interactions are critical, engagements need to be strategic. So, I would like to engage the partners and explain the areas of focus. My objective is to work alongside our partners on jointly agreed programmes.
My expectation is that before we start any campaign, we need greater clarity of deliverables and cost implications. That means, I want to see the end from the beginning. If I am proposing a work programme, what am I going to realize? How much is it going to cost me? What is the timeframe for delivery? If I can get that right, then I can begin to see the benefits and ultimately the motivation to execute those programmes. I want to be able to say to the partners, ‘this is what is going to come at the end of the campaign. This is your share of contribution and this is my share of contribution. With our contributions coming in on time, we can deliver this for the benefit of the Joint Venture’. It as to be a strategic business decision; I wonder which partner will not like to see a good return on his investment.
Sir, you also had a meeting with the two in-house unions, what should we expect, will they be treated as stakeholders in this new business environment?
To tell you the truth, I don’t know why there should always be confrontation between Management and the Unions. Interestingly, most of the confrontation always zeroes in on a common interest. What is it? Is it about the assets/company? It is in the interest of the Management to work on the assets. On the other hand, it is also in the interest of the unions to have the assets worked on and see the company grow. So where is the area of conflict? For me, that is the way I view my relationship with the unions. My last interaction with the unions was to explain things like this: I have an obligation and they have obligations too; they should not ignore their obligations and contest or focus on my obligations. It is my expectation that we are going to form a very solid team so that we can move this company forward. If this business is strengthened, if this business grows; if this business is consolidated to the level that everybody is proud of, the major beneficiaries of that strategic growth in this business is not only management, it’s the entire workforce (Management inclusive). Jobs will be secured, pension will be secured. So what I expect from them is to exercise a high level of understanding that is critical for us to build this company and take it forward.
It is good that you are coming from NNPC Corporate Headquarters, Abuja, how will you deal with delay in approvals occasioned by the system’s bureaucratic process?
Approval cycle has always been a great concern to management especially when it affects operations and performance of major NNPC subsidiaries like NPDC. We are definitely below industry average. However, let me tell you, by the time you break the process of contracting, because that is eventually where it will lead us to, you will discover that the major cause of delay is poor planning. If you don’t plan, you are more likely to run into challenges. You should know before the beginning of the year, what you want to do for the coming year. Plan, sensitize all stakeholders, break work programmes into activities, know the approvals you need, prepare approval requests and proceed with the approvals received. What I am trying to say is, we need to do our homework well before worrying about the approval cycle. Within the short period I have been here, I noticed that most departments like quick approvals and when I ask questions, they cannot support their submission. What are the operating economics, if it doesn’t benefit me why do I want to do it? If I ask why you need these activities: what will it amount to? What are you saving; what are you increasing? What do you intend to achieve? What are you optimizing? And there are no adequate answers, what do you want me to do? I will send you back to do your homework; this is part of management’s responsibility. We need to do business very deliberately!
In one sentence, what is your overall personal aspiration for NPDC?
I am both humbled and proud to be associated with this company. I strongly believe this company is a strategic venture to the corporation. It has the assets and prospects that most industry players can only dream of.
I see an opportunity to do business the way it has not been done before, the way it should be done and pursue this new strategy backed by an unwavering support and business mindset from Corporate NNPC.
That was my message to the Management of NPDC and the Unions. I told them that I am here to do business the way business is supposed to be done to the extent that the business will support itself and support us all - no more no less.