The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has said that it had not chartered any aircraft for the exclusive use of the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, nor any of its officials.
A statement issued in Abuja on Monday by the Acting Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Dr Omar Ibrahim, stated that contrary to the information making the rounds, Alison-Madueke had not chartered any aircraft for her personal use nor for her family.
It stated that the NNPC, in course of discharging its statutory and commercial functions, engaged third parties for the provision of services outside of its core business.
According to the statement, this is in consonance with the legal instrument which established the corporation as a commercial entity in the oil and gas sector.
“This practice is common and acceptable in the local and international business environment in which it operates. There is nothing prohibiting NNPC from owning or chartering an aircraft.
“On the contrary, by the enabling legislation, NNPC is empowered to hold, manage and alienate moveable and immovable property and enter into contracts or partnerships with any company or persons. This, in the opinion of the corporation, will facilitate the discharge of the said duties under this Act,” it stated.
The NNPC said that its operations in the oil and gas sector were time sensitive and often required prompt attention which could not be achieved using regular scheduled flights.
It said that it was a standard practice for large Oil and Gas Corporations such as NNPC to make use of the most efficient means of transportation.
This, it said, would ensure effective and efficient coverage of the vast scope of critical oil and gas assets under its purview.
The statement said NNPC had always availed itself of the use of owned or chartered aircraft for the purpose of its business which included the transportation of its top functionaries.
“In this regard, it is pertinent to note that the international oil companies operating in joint ventures with NNPC, regularly charter aircraft as dictated by the exigencies of their businesses.
“Indeed, some have moved from owning their own aircraft to the charter opinion. Other national oil companies, such as Sonangol of Angola, have also chosen the charter option.
“The advantages of the charter option include zero capital and maintenance costs resulting in a lower financial outlay and thus an improved cash flow,” it stated.