Mele Kyari, the Group CEO of NNPC Limited has advocated for collaboration between the oil and gas industry and academia in order to address energy challenges.

He made the disclosure during the 2024 faculty lecture at Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Ile Ife, with the theme “Energy Security, Sustainability and Profitability in Nigeria.” Kyari highlighted the important role academic institutions like OAU play in ensuring national energy security through research and collaboration with industry stakeholders.

According to Kyari, the challenges facing Nigeria’s oil and gas industry include security, population growth, pipeline vandalism, and crude oil theft, noting that energy conservation, diversification, and efficiency are key strategies to enhance energy security in the country.

He said Nigeria needs to address rapid population growth in order to get sustainable solutions for current and future generations.

With regards to pipeline vandalism and oil theft, Kyari discussed the establishment of a command-and-control center, set up with a view to enhancing the detection and destruction of illegal refinery sites and removal of illegal connections.

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He added that the center’s efforts had resulted in addressing vandalism across operating corridors, as data showed that over 5,686 illegal refinery sites had been destroyed and 4,480 illegal connections removed since 2021.

Kyari further stated that the essence of collaboration between academia and the oil and gas industry was to drive innovation in sustainable energy practices. The partnership could lead to research breakthroughs and advancements that contribute to Nigeria’s energy sufficiency goals.

Kyari acknowledged the severity of vandalism and oil theft, hinting at a strategic shift towards increased products trucking and storage in underground tankages at NNPC filling stations nationwide. He also listed the transformation of NNPC Limited into a fully commercial limited liability energy company following the passage of the Petroleum Industry Act in 2021.

He said the removal of fuel subsidies on premium motor spirit enabled the company to play a more active commercial role, ensuring profitability and delivering greater value to Nigeria’s growing population. The reforms have positioned NNPC Limited as an important player in the region after acquiring OVH retail stations and associated downstream infrastructure in 2021.