NNPC was established on April 1, 1977 as a merger of the Nigerian National Oil Corporation and the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel. NNPC by law manages the joint venture between the Nigerian federal government and a number of foreign multinational corporations, which include Royal Dutch Shell, Agip, ExxonMobil, Chevron, and Texaco (now merged with Chevron). Through collaboration with these companies, the Nigerian government conducts petroleum exploration and production. In 2007, the head of the Nigerian wing of Transparency International said salaries for NNPC workers were too low to prevent graft.
The NNPC Towers in Abuja is the headquarters of NNPC. Consisting of four identical towers, the complex is located on Herbert Macaulay Way, Central Business District Abuja. NNPC also has zonal offices in Lagos, Kaduna, Port Harcourt and Warri. It has an international office located in London, United Kingdom.
In 1988, the NNPC was commercialised into 12 strategic business units, covering the entire spectrum of oil industry operations: exploration and production, gas development, refining, distribution, petrochemicals, engineering, and commercial investments. Currently, the subsidiary companies include:
- Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC)
- The Nigerian Gas Company (NGC)
- The Products and Pipelines Marketing Company (PPMC)
- Integrated Data Services Limited (IDSL)
- National Engineering and Technical Company Limited (NETCO)
- Hydrocarbon Services Nigeria Limited (HYSON)
- Warri Refinery and Petrochemical Co. Limited (WRPC)
- Kaduna Refinery and Petrochemical Co. Limited (KRPC)
- Port Harcourt Refining Co. Limited (PHRC)
- NNPC Retail
- Duke Oil
In addition to these subsidiaries, the industry is also regulated by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), a department within the Ministry of Petroleum Resources. The DPR ensures compliance with industry regulations; processes applications for licenses, leases and permits, establishes and enforces environmental regulations. The DPR, and NAPIMS, play a very crucial role in the day to day activities throughout the industry.