When the newly appointed Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Dr. Maikanti Kacalla Baru recently met with various security chiefs and agencies, he knew exactly that without the cooperation of these agencies, the oil exploration and exploitation in the Niger Delta region would be a mirage. This is against the backdrop of renewed militant hostilities in the region resulting to heavy loss in revenue to government, apart from destruction of critical infrastructures.
He told the hopeful staff of creating an all-inclusive internal advisory council on security, comprising representatives from NNPC, the international oil companies, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association and National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, and security operatives to brainstorm and address host community agitations to complement government security team’s efforts in the Niger Delta region.
In his agenda for the revitalization of the corporation, Dr. Baru outlined various ways through which he will find lasting solution to challenges facing the oil and gas industry especially by working closely with the staff. He knew that the diligent exploitation of the experience of his versatile staff will greatly maximize output in the on-going restructuring exercise which would ultimately enhance his administration’s success.
One important aspect of the oil and gas industry which has become a recurring decimal is the problem inherent in cash call obligations by government. Going forward, Dr. Baru who has played key roles in the industry pledged to continue exploring ways of relieving government the burden of cash calls as well as address and defray the agreed cash call arrears of the International Oil Companies (IOCs). It is heartwarming to note that Baru on his assumption of office agreed to implement new business models that would grant autonomy required to empower the strategic business units and autonomous business units on their mandates apart from providing directions and controls to ensure their growth and profitability.
An important aspect worthy of mention is his avowed determination to review all weak contractual agreements and terminating bad ones as previous contracts undoubtedly worked greatly against both the corporation and government interest.
Furthermore, Baru in his restoration mission also has his focus in growing the national reserve portfolio, apart from increasing crude oil production capacity by the NNPC upstream subsidiary, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC).
An indigene of Bauchi State, Baru obtained his West African School Certificate in 1978 from the Federal Government College Jos and later bagged a First Class Honours Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaira in 1982. He also attended the University of Sussex, United Kingdom where he graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering in 1987.
Economic confidential gathered that between 1988-1991, he held various positions at the Jos Steel Rolling Company Ltd. including Head Corporate Planning and Electrical Department while also serving in several committees in the company. He was the Manager National Engineering and Technical Company Limited (NETCO) from May to November 1991. He became the Manager, Operations of Procurement Management Services (PROMAS) from 1991-1993 and he saved the corporation over $70 million in six months of operation.
Thereafter, he was at NAPIMS as the Manager Gas Department for four years and in 1997, he was appointed as the General Manager, Gas Development Division and during his stewardship of the Joint Venture Gas Projects, they were able to save over $575 million. In July 1999, he was appointed as the Executive Director, Operations of the Nigerian Gas Company, Warri where he was responsible for the smooth operation of all the facilities in the Nigerian Gas Company ensuring uninterrupted gas supply to customers such as NEPA.
He left this position in 2004 and was appointed the Managing Director Hyson (Nigeria) Ltd and under his stewardship, Hyson was introduced into the domestic LPG business and grew rapidly raking in N24m in 2004, N164m in 2005 and N400m in 2006. From 2006 to 2007, Dr. Baru was the Group General Manager, Greenfield Refinery Projects Division where he was tasked with ensuring the smooth execution of the feasibility study, design, construction and operation of new refineries in Nigeria.
Following his good work there, he was appointed in 2007, as the Group General Manager of the National Petroleum Investment
Management Services (NAPIMS) with the responsibility of ensuring the effective supervision of the Nation’s investment in the upstream of the Nigeria’s oil industry. This covered the six joint ventures, sixty-two production-sharing contracts and other ad-hoc assignments.
Untill his appointment as the Group Executive Director, Exploration and Production, Dr. Baru was the Group General Manager LNG Division. In his capacity, he handled the commercial and administrative aspects of the LNG Investment Businesses. He was also the NNPC’s Chief Technical Negotiator on the West African Gas Pipeline project and chaired the NNPC Anti-Corruption Committee.
Dr. Baru has shown academic excellence over the years winning various prizes such as the Shell BP Petroleum Prize for the Best Final Year Mechanical Engineering Student and the Lever Brothers Prize for the best final year Mechanical Engineering Investigation project at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
He has also attended prestigious institutions such as the Harvard Business School, College of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Oxford, Columbia University Business School New York and the Stanford University’s Graduate school of Business amongst others.