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The Long Wait for Kaduna’s N15bn Petroleum Institute

The Questions on the lips of many stakeholders in the oil and gas capacity-building community of recent is, what could be the fate of the multi-billion Naira National Institute of Petroleum Studies (NIPS) project being developed by the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) in Kaduna since 2009? Is the Institute no longer a priority to the country? Why is the complex yet to be completed and put to use by the agency for close to a decade now. Our contributor Fred Ojeigbe takes a potshot at this important project with a view to finding an update on its current status

The construction of the various components of the National Institute of Petroleum Studies (NIPS)project sitting on 90 hectares of land has suffered several delays and abandonment perhaps, due to funding constraints and non-performance by some contractors.

The institute’s contract awarded at over N15bn was planned to be completed in about two/three years and on completion, was intended to serve as a one-stop institute for training senior management personnel in oil and gas companies and agencies in Nigeria and abroad by providing refresher courses of between three weeks to six months duration.

Fresh graduates in oil and gas disciplines were also expected to undergo vocational and technical internship trainings in the institute to gain hands on experience that will prepare them for engagement in the industry.
Also the institute was conceived to be an institutional framework for domesticating some of the PTDF’s training programmes in-country.

Executive Secretary of the PTDF Dr. Bello Aliyu Gusau while answering questions from journalists in Kaduna after inspecting the conduct of examination for a PTDF scholarship scheme, over a year ago, said the petroleum institute would soon become operational.

Dr. Bello Aliyu Gusau, Executive Secretary of the PTDF

The Executive Secretary said that the project was at its final stage and “would be operational sooner than later,” but 10 years after, the institute is yet to take off.

At that time, life was said to have returned to the site with different contractors handling various components of the project moving back to site, but Valuechain findings showed that there is no sign the project will be commissioned this year.

One of the core mandates of the PTDF is to build capacity for Oil and Gas sector through training and development, both locally and abroad. Considering the huge amount of money it requires to pay for foreign scholarships, one will think that the rational thing to do is to domicile the training here in the country in order to avoid the excessive expenditure in form of forex that comes with training abroad.

How the institute started

The NIPPS which began as National Centre for Petroleum Studies, Kaduna established by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). It operated from a temporary site along Yahaya Road in Kaduna GRA, but was allocated land by the Kaduna State Government for the development of its permanent site at the Trade Fair Layout in Rigachukun area of Igabi local government of the state.

Subsequently, the Federal Government, through the PTDF, developed the centre into a college of international standards known as National College of Petroleum Studies Kaduna (but later renamed National Institute of Petroleum Policy and Strategy (NIPPS), for the training of senior technical and management staff in the nation’s oil and gas industry.

Work on the project commenced in July, 2009 and was expected upon completion in three years, to provide training for executive, top management and technical personnel of the nation’s petroleum industry and the entire Gulf of Guinea region.

The structures

The structures at the NIPPS site are divided into three major areas: Core academic area comprising administration block, management development wing, technology development wing, library and graduate studies wing.

Ancillary buildings comprising students’ hostels, residential buildings, staff school, clinic, maintenance yard, mosque, chapel and indoor sports hall and international conference centre comprising a hotel, auditorium and shopping arcade.

The PTDF in the 2016 edition of its magazine publication “PTDF Digest”, quoted the project consultant, Arc Mohammed Dewu, to have said that most of the structures have reached advanced stages of completion while majority of the equipment and infrastructure required to effectively operate the institute had been procured but awaiting installation.

According to the consultant, the 5-star hotel component of the International Conference Centre had been fully completed, adding that a 33KVA transformer for dedicated public power supply had been provided.

Other facilities already on ground include: Cameras for CCTV monitoring of the entire facility, three generating sets of 4,500 KVA each, while equipment for the academic area such as process laboratory, training rig, training refineries and workshop equipment were awaiting delivery.

Other components of the project that were said to be close to completion as at 2016, included the shopping complex, clinic, the library, three (3) of the academic blocks and three, out of the four hostels among others.

“We have overcome the major difficulty in that the civil works are 80-90% completed. What we have are some finishings here and there. We will now have to phase the completion of the different components. The ones that are almost completed will be given priority while the completion of those that are less than 70% will be phased,” Dewu said.

However, the institute is yet to be commissioned for use till date.

Billions sunk, project delays

“A lot of work has been done, billions of naira has been sunk, but what is sad is that the investment is being allowed to remain uncompleted and not put into use, and this is a sad

Nigerian story,” Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai said when he visited the site.

Governor Nasir El-Rufai while inspecting the project few months into his first tenure

“What I hope is that in the next few months, there will be accelerated completion of this facility. So, I am going to take it up with the Federal Government to see to the early completion of the project,” the governor said.

Industry experts familiar with the project said one of the major problems that frustrated the progress of construction work was frequent encroachment, especially of illegal structures into the layout of the project, whose land size of about 90 hectares is covered by Kaduna State Government title.

It is believed that with the advanced stage of development attained on the project and the heavy financial investment already made on it by the Federal Government through PTDF, the only way forward is to immediately complete it.

Valuechain gathered that upon his appointment as the Executive Secretary of PTDF, Dr. Gusau made an effort to complete the project where the project consultant were asked to take the audit of the remaining work that needed to be done and re-present the cost for consideration.
It was said that a bill of almost one billion Naira was presented, which reflected the adjustment made due to inflation in the cost of building materials. However, our source revealed that there was a sudden loss of appetite for the completion of the project by the authorities of the Fund.

In response to Valuechain’s enquiry on the status of the project, the spokesperson of Fund, Mr. Kalu Otisi said “concern about the delayed commissioning of the project is also an acknowledgment that the facility has attended a significant level of completion for it to be commissioned. The fact is that PTDF is working towards developing a world class facility, and has set for itself the attainment of reasonable thresholds for all the components of the project before opening the facility to public use.

“Our aim is to endow a suitable environment to enhance the development of indigenous human capacity through training of graduates, senior and executive personnel of the nation’s oil and gas industry.

Mr. Otisi stated that the Fund has, over the years, taken steps to ensure the successful implementation of the project through wide consultations with the industry and carrying out benchmarking visits to similar institutions with a view to providing appropriate state-of-the-art facilities and infrastructure for the institute.

He further revealed that PTDF is exploring a mutually beneficial collaboration with reputable global institutions as partners for the purpose of establishing a world class university in the PTDF facility in Kaduna.

In his words “Some of the operational considerations for the institute include the establishment of an international joint venture university, the domestication of PTDF overseas scholarship scheme to achieve a more cost-effective means of administering the overseas scholarship scheme, and to operate a centre of excellence that specifically reflects on the local manpower requirements of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry.

“PTDF is exploring a mutually beneficial collaboration with reputable global institutions as partners for the purpose of establishing a world class university in the PTDF facility in Kaduna. The expectation is that, a carefully selected prominent global institution(s) will be benchmarked based on international reputation, curriculum and acceptance to collaborate with PTDF.

“PTDF is exploring the best suitable joint venture model taking into cognizance the peculiarities of educational programs, policies and practices.

“We are happy that PTDF has received the nod of the National Universities Commission to proceed in that trajectory. PTDF is therefore striving to bequeath a training Institution with a modern management system, knowledge-delivery that empowers practical skills and competence acquisition and quality assurance,” he added.

It was also gathered that the immediate past Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu made an effort to transfer the uncompleted Institute to the management of the Petroleum Training Institute (PTI) Effurum.

According to our source who was privy to the development, there was an instruction by the minister that the NIPS should be taken over by the PTI.

The only snag that stopped PTI from taking over was first, the instruction was verbal and secondly, PTI does not have the budgetary allocation that could complete the project, our source added.