This is the introductory chapter of the chapter, it briefly explains the brief history, statement of the problem, objective, assumption, scope and limitation of the study, hypothesis and research questions about the subject matter are also discussed under this chapter including other relevant information.
The need for a petrochemical industry in Nigeria was conceived for quite a long time. It was however not until 1978 that the idea of using some refinery by-products as feedstock to produce some petrochemical products was conceptualized. Due to the capital intensive nature of the petrochemical industry, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) adopted a phased approach in the establishment of upstream petrochemical plants. The business mission of the Eleme Petrochemicals Company is to profitably manufacture a range of petrochemical products and to market these products locally and abroad. Eleme Petrochemical Company Limited (EPCL) plants commercial operations with a total number of 1,376 staff, made up of 138 expatriates technical backup services (TBS) and 1,246 Nigerian staff. The Technical Back-up Services were provided by Foster wheeler management operations Ltd. UK (31). Technimont SPA, Italy (66) and Comerint SPA, Italy (33). Some Nigeria staff were trained in similar facilities abroad while bulk of the Nigeria operation and maintenance staff were trained at the Petroleum Training Institute (PTI), Warri and at the Kaduna, Warri and Port Harcourt Refineries.
However, in 1999 EPCL started a gradual phase out of the TBD personnel as most Nigerian staff gained adequate experience on the operation and maintenance of the plant. As 138 expatriates TBS Personnel the cost of about $2million per month was abominable as it had negative impact on the cost of operations and cash flows for the company. Today, the cost stands at about $0.64 million for 43 TBS personnel. Historically, the Eleme Petrochemical Complex project was started in the project engineering division of the NNPC and Mr. S. A. Kufeji as the general manager, championed by Dr. E. I. Onyia as manager petrochemicals. In 1982m, the petrochemical division of the NNPC was created with Mr. O.O. Lolomari as the general manager, while Dr. E. I. Onyia continued his lead push for the petrochemicals programme. Later that year, NNPC signed the consultancy agreement with foster wheeler International Corporation of Reading, UK following a major reorganization of NNPC in October 1985. Dr. T.M. John was appointed the coordinator of the petrochemical sector. During another restructuring of the NNPC in 1988, Dr. James M. John became the first managing director of EPCL in April 1990, when Dr. T. M. John moved to NNPC Corporation headquarters as the group manager directors of NNPC. It was during chief Oyibo tenure that the foundation stone of the EPCL was laid in December 1991, chief Oyibo move to Lagos to become the first group Executive Director, upstream and gas and later the group managing director of NNPC in 1993. Dr. Edet I. Oahimin – Akhimien took over from Chief Oyibo as the third managing director of EPCL in 1992, and piloted the construction of the complex until August 7, 1995, when he handed over to Dr. Andrew C. Uzoigwe as the managing director who was also the first project coordinator of the project in 1999. Dr. Andrew C. Uzoigwe moved to the corporate headquarters as a group executive director. Exploration and production and handed over to Dr. Dannnar the present managing director of the Eleme Petrochemicals Company limited. The complex is of great strategic importance to the country.