CHIEF (ENGR.) PAUL OBELLEY: How He Transformed Warri Refining And Petrochemical Company


– Made Refinery The Most Viable In Nigeria Despite Challenges Of Pipeline Vandalism

Since Engr. Paul Obelley assumed office as the Managing Director of Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company Limited, (WRPC), the company which is a subsidiary of the newly appointed Dr. Joeph Thlama Dawha’s led Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, has experienced tremendous transformation.

The Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company, WRPC had suffered operational problems in the past. This led to the company producing below installed capacity for sometimes, but the situation has improved tremendously since October 2012, when the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, announced the appointment of Engr. Paul Obelley as Managing Director of WRPC.

After the announcement by the then Group Managing Director, GMD, Engr. Andrew Yakubu, he clarified that the appointment of Engr. Obelley, was borne out of the desire of NNPC to revitalize the Warri refinery, and the best man for the job, in his estimation was Engr. Obelley. With the directive given to him, Engr. Obelley resumed work at the Warri refinery with determination to overhaul the refinery for optimum operations.

Less than two weeks of his resumption, it became clear that the revitalization of the refinery was in line with the President Goodluck Jonathan administration’s transformation agenda of reforming the country’s oil sector.

Findings have shown that the economic importance of the refinery to steady supply of petroleum products to Nigerians is enormous. Therefore, Engr. Obelley, knew he has a turf task to perform in order to justify his appointment and choice for the position of the managing director.

The Warri refinery was built and commissioned sometime in 1978, with lots of economic potentials. At several times, it failed to function properly as was envisaged, until Engr. Obelley took over it management and from all indications the refinery is operating smoothly now and producing effectively.

The petrochemical unit, comprising the Carbon black and polypropylene plants was shut for a very long time. But fortunately these units have been revitalized by Engr Obelley and now fully operational, creating more jobs opportunities for the youths and graduates across the country.

Sources within the refinery complex said the managing director, Engr Obelley, since he assumed office has been doing a good job repositioning the WRPC for optimum production, and has really improved on the effective running and operations of the Refinery.

He is credited to running an open-door policy, involving every top officials of the company in the day to day activities of the company, an initiative which actually earned him the support and cooperation of the staff and management team.

According to official source, Engr. Obelley’s assignment is to ensure that the refinery runs unhindered, which he has so far proven competent and capable of handling.

This, he has achieved through commitment to duty and unrelenting efforts in proffering solutions to issues on the operations of the refinery, which has attracted to him commendations from management and staff of the Refinery.

Even the host communities are also feeling the impact of the quality his administration because when the refinery is working the people are happy due to availability of menial jobs for them to handle and contracts among others.

Satisfied with the laudable performance of Engr. Obelley, a group, Delta State Intelligence and Transparency group recently issued a press statement commending him for the effective management of the refinery.

The group in a statement issued by its Secretary/ Security Coordinator, Mr. Clement Umukoro, disclosed that the group had carried out an independent investigation on the present operational state of the Refinery under Engr. Obelley, adding that the commendation was to encourage and spur him to continue and improve on the good work he has been doing to ensure the refinery runs productively.

According to the group, Engr. Obelley, a native of Eleme in Rivers State and a famous philanthropist, since he assumed office, has demonstrated his administrative prowess and uncommon commitment toward the improvement and efficient running of the WRPC.

It further stated that, apart from managing the Warri Refinery effectively, Engr. Obelley has been sacrificing his resources toward the development of humanity and rendering assistance and selfless services to the needy and less privileged in the society, this he has been doing quietly over the years.

“Engr Obelley, has distinguished himself as an uncommon philanthropist, though a civil servant, but actually understands that being a civil servant does not stop one from helping the needy and less privileged in the society”

According to the group, the Managing Director, on personal capacity over the years has been donating to orphans, widows and even awarding scholarships to children to get quality education.

“The good gestures of Obelley, have clearly distinguished him as an uncommon philanthropist in the South South part of Nigeria, a man who has been living all his life, giving out his hard earned resources to helping the needy and less privileged in the society, such person should be encouraged and commended for his good gestures and being patriotic,” the statement stressed.

This group is not alone in pouring encomium on the Managing Director also; recently, stakeholders in Delta State expressed gratitude to Engr. Obelley, for revitalizing the Warri refinery and commended the NNPC top official for his performance and effective management of the refinery.

The commendation was made at a meeting attended by leaders and stakeholders from oil producing communities in Warri, Delta State, where they said it was necessary to appreciate Engr. Obelley for transforming the Warri refinery and putting the plant to maximum operation.

A statement signed by Mr. Godwin Awhawha on the behalf of the stakeholders reads, “We want to make it clear that the President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and Mrs. Alison Deizani Maduekwe, the Minister of Petroleum made the right decision to have appointed Engr. Obelley as managing director of WRPC”.

According to them, “Obelley is a great asset to Nigeria, who has contributed greatly to the development of the country’s oil sector”.

The WRPC officials who spoke in confidence to our reporter said he (Obelley) has really done much to ensure the refinery was running effectively. They noted that he has ensured staff commitment to their duties which has helped to boost the operations of the refinery.

However, in a recent meeting with Journalists, Engr Obelley said despite the challenges of pipeline vandalism, the Warri Refinery remains the most viable refinery in the country. He noted that in spite of the obvious challenges caused by vandals, the refinery was still running effectively, adding that vandals’ onslaught on the pipelines had forced refineries in the country to reduce their daily output due to lack of storage facility.

“If we remove the pipeline issue, it means that 40 per cent cannot be taken out. Most times, we are restricted to 60 per cent capacity because if we go above that, we will shut down because we cannot evacuate,” he said.

He continued: “The pipelines are in bad state because people are constantly vandalising them and products that were supposed to be evacuated from the refinery through pipelines are now being conveyed by tankers and vessels which are cost intensive”.

Obelley however described several negative reports concerning the refinery as untrue, noting that since his appointment as managing director, a lot had been recorded. He expressed determination to increase production of petroleum products in the refinery, adding that they are doing their best to keep the refinery running.

Engr. Obelley is one MD who has indeed lived up to the expectations of Nigerians since he emerged two years ago. He has remained focused in ensuring that the people enjoy the dividends of democracy

His style of leadership is second to none, in spite of all the distractions and despicable attempts to derail his vision; he is less perturbed and distracted.

Without mincing words, it is generally agreed that Engr. Obelley has achieved an unequalled record of success as regards the management of the Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company (WRPC).


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