The Effectiveness Of Public Relations Practice In The Oil Sector (A Case Study Of African Petroleum Plc, Port-Harcourt).

Project and Seminar material for Public Administration

Project and Seminar material for Public Administration


African petroleum Plc, a Marketer of petroleum products and chemicals, knows that public support and goodwill as well as good corporate image are very important for business success. Tends to be influenced by their publics which includes, its staff, shareholders, customers and of course members of the press.

The company is actually very much interested to know its public problem areas and opportunities with the aim to improving the organization’s overall performance to enable them know what their public thinks about African petroleum public Relations programme and quality of services of the organization to its publics.

The researcher therefore decided to embark on this study with the objectives.

The objectives of the study are:

To determine the extent of AP’S public Relations messages accessibility to their publics and also find out whether AP’s public relations practices influence the opinion of their publics.

Relevant data based on the scope of the study were collected through primary and secondary data with structured questionnaire as the main instrument administered to two hundred and fifty (250) respondents comprising forty African petroleum staff, sixty share holders, one hundred and twenty customers and thirty members of the press.

The questionnaire was highly structured and opended where necessary. The questions and the response were very standard to facilitate comparison of responses and to secure good control of the questions, chi-square (x2) was used to analyse the hypotheses formulated.

Among the findings were that the African Petroleum Public Relations Media Message and quality of their overall services are satisfactory through their mobilization programmes and enlightenment campaign but needs more efforts. AP’s Public Relation’s Practice influences their publics to favour her products through persuasive and convincing communication.

The following recommendation was made; AP should always engage in a constant evaluation of their public relations practice and its effectiveness to identify any short comings. Media combination should be reviewed to always embrace appreciable coverage.

Table Of Contents

Preliminary Page(s)

  • Title Page
  • Approval Page
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Abstract
  • Table of Content

Chapter One:


  • 1.1 Background To The Study
  • 1.2 Statement Of Problem
  • 1.3 Objective Of The Study
  • 1.4 Scope And Limitation Of Study
  • 1.5 Significance Of The Study
  • 1.6 Research Question
  • 1.7 Definition Of Terms

Chapter Two:

Literature Review

  • 2.1 What Is Public Relation
  • 2.2 Role Of Public Relations Executives In Commercial Out Fit
  • 2.3 Strategy And Scope Of Public Relations Programme
  • 2.4 Frame Work Of Public Relations Programme
  • 2.5 Importance Of Public Relations In All Oil Industry.
  • References

Chapter Three:

Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Research Design
  • 3.2 Method Of Data Collection
  • 3.2.1 Primary Data Collection
  • 3.2.2 Secondary Data Collection
  • 3.3 Sample Size
  • 3.4 Sampling Techniques
  • 3.5 Data Analysis Techniques
  • References

Chapter Four:

Presentation And Analysis Of Data

  • 4.1 Table Of Responses To Sex
  • 4.2 Indication Of Free Access To AP’s Public
  • References

Chapter Five:

Summary, Recommendation and Conclusions

  • 5.1 Summary
  • 5.1.2 Summary Of Findings
  • 5.2 Recommendations
  • 5.4 Conclusions
  • Bibliography
  • Appendix

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

This present dispensation, a lot of  companies for production or distribution of a particular type of production or service of its consequent  week to week competition among companies, it has become necessary  for such organisation to established at atleast goodwill and mutual understanding with their various publics if actually tends to succeed.

Though the success of such companies does not depend on product or service quality, neither  does it hing omn advertising alone, nor on good salesmanship, responsible allocation of fund, but the success  of any company dependents most often on how well the company has created  mutual understanding among her publics.

Jefkins (1988:9), he pointed out that negative situation can be converted  into positive achievement through awareness and understanding. Based on this, jefkins expects that company to use public relation to achieve sympathy where there is prejudice, develop interest where there is apathy and communication to achieve knowledge  where  there is ignorance.

There is now need  for a well organized public relations practices. At this peripheral cutlip, Conter and Broom (1985:4) in their conceptual  definition states that public relations is the management function that identifies, establishes, and maintains mutual beneficial relationship between a company and  various public on whom  its success or  failure depends companies achieve this mutual beneficial relationship by creating awareness marinating regular communication network, evaluating public attitude identifying  their policies and programme with the public  understanding and support.

Public relation really involve contracting the relevant targets publics convincing them of the benefit of a particular argument, to accept company’s proposals and public orientations, public relations compliment marketing balance when introduced early in marketing plan can making a telling difference in product success (Ajala, 1993:22).

Meanwhile, the public relation practice took its origin or connected with the first and second world war in United states  of America (USA). Further this public relations practice started in Nigeria around the second world war (Ajala, 1993:2). During the second world war there was the need for European government  to set up an information office where difference message concerning  the  world situation and other general economic situation could be  disseminated.

1.1 Background Of The Study

The history of African petroleum Plc date back to 1954 when the then British petroleum BP company Limited, brought up the assets of Atlantic refining company on the West African coast Ten years later (1964) that company was incorporated in Nigeria as British Petroleum of Nigeria Limited which of course is a subsidiary of the world wide British petroleum Group that marketed petroleum product throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

In 1978, the company changed from a private company to a public company, when forty percent (40%) of the shares were sold to Nigerian citizens in compliance with provisions of the Nigeria Enterprises promotions degree of 1977. On the 31st July 1979, the Federal Government acquired the sixty percent (60%) share in British petroleum (BP) Limited, just to make the company wholly Nigeria affair. As a result, the name of the company had to change to African Petroleum (AP) Limited which was in November 1979.

Accordingly, 20% of the Federal Governments 60% shares in African petroleum were offered to the public in March 1989 in fulfillment of its privatization policy. The share were seven times over subscribed during the exercise, thus increasing the number of share holders from about fifty thousand to one hundred and sixty thousand share holders. The company’s current paid up share capital of N 86.4M which of course is the largest in the country.

As a marketer of refined petroleum in Nigeria, African Petroleum (AP) procures and distributes petroleum products like petrol (PMS), Diesel oil (AGO), Household kerosene or Domestic petroleum kerosene (HHK/DPK), Low poor fuel oil (LPFO), Liquefied petroleum Gas (LPG), fuel oil, Jet-A-1 (Aviation furbric kerosene) etc the company also manufacture and market a wide range of lubricants, insecticide and chemicals. This company’s marketing operation areas are Kaduna, Kano, Port – Harcourt, Warri.

African petroleum plc has its head office in Lagos. The main source of its products is the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) through its strategic network depots and refineries. As contained in its Diary (1998) African petroleum is a world class integrated petroleum company where outstanding and dedicated people supported by superior technology deliver exceptional benefits to its shareholders”. Their mission is to be an innovative and customer oriented, provider of quality petroleum and related products and services”.

Businesses are open systems, and most of what they do generates direct benefits and costs for their societies. Today society demands that businesses join in the urgent task of solving societies, problems. Corporations are more than economic institutions and have a responsibility to devote some of their resources problems mainly of which corporations helped to create.

However, small or large our enterprise, we cannot isolate our business from the society around us. Nor can we function without its goodwill. I therefore tried to x-ray the public relations(PR) practice in African petroleum plc to assess its effectiveness in building desired goodwill imperative to healthy business survivability.

1.2 Statement Of Problems:

African petroleum plc (formerly British petroleum) that has been in existence since 1954 is now one of the major marketers of petroleum products in Nigeria. African petroleum plc operates few major marketing areas in Kaduna, Kano, Lagos and Port Harcourt. It has depots at (Apapa) Lagos, Jos and Kano but its main source of Petroleum Company is NNPC. Presently the company entered into the marketing of chemical, real estate development and manufacturing of insecticides.

Coming to the ever increasing number of competition and continued fuel scarcity in the country, the company does not fold its arms watching rather she continues to diversify and expand on its activities. The reason being that should the company fail to satisfy her numerous publics by constant supply of product as at when needed and of course quality product, the publics negative reaction would affect its profit making ability and in respect affect the nations economy. In the effort of improving the quality of its product and services, as regards achieving public commendations, goodwill and support, cannot in the actual sense understand how actually the publics feel about their company’s quality of services and their public relations programme.

This research work shall do justice to address certain problems like;

  1. How far is the public relations messages of AP plc accessible to the publics.
  2. Were the right public relations media often used?
  3. Is the public relations department of AP rated high by her public in terms of its efficiency?
  4. Does the public relations practices of African petroleum plc influence the opinion of their public in favour of AP.
  5. Do the public relations consider African petroleum plc’s public relations practice as adequate?

1.3 Objective Of The Study

The objective of the study are as follows:

  1. To ascertain the extent of African petroleum’s public messages accessibility to their public.
  2. To know whether the right public relations media were often used.
  3. To determine whether AP’s public relations practice influence the opinion of their publics in favour of African petroleum.
  4. To ascertain whether African petroleum’s public relations department is rated high in terms of its efficiency.
  5. To find out if the public of AP plc consider their public relations practices as adequate.

1.4 Scope And Limitation Of The Study

The scope of study is focused on public relations practices in African Petroleum Plc. and their internal and external publics in Port-Harcourt metropolis were studies as for the topics covered, all the items as contained in the objectives of the study and hypothesis were treated.

The view of the office holders and opinion leaders were bought since they constitute decision makers. There are also some limitations caused by financial handicap and limited material needed.

1.5 Significance Of The Study

Coming to the diversification and expansion of its activities, the current crisis and the ever-increasing competition among oil marketing companies. African petroleum plc are concerned with generating marketing information which all will help them to achieve a favourable market share and maintain its profit marketing ability if really wants to remain in business.

The researcher may after some recommendation that will help to ensure an adequate and effective use of public relations as a tool for business promotions.

Moreover, this work will also serve as a working tool for Chief Executives and managers in the oil marketing sectors; this piece of work will actually form a basis for further development and as well contribute to the existing knowledge in the area of oil marketing.

1.6 Research Question

  1. The degree of African petroleum’s public relations messages accessibility to her public is unsatisfactory.
  2. The right public relations media were not often used.
  3. The public relation practice of African petroleum does not influence the opinion of their public in favour
  4. of African petroleum.
  5. The public relations department of AP is not rated high in terms of its efficiency.
  6. The public considers African petroleum’s public relations practice as adequate.

1.7 Definition Of Terms

Public Relations:

Public relations is the art and service of achieving harmony with the environment through mutual understanding based on truth, knowledgeable and full information. (Sam Black 1990) in (Ajala 200/p.3)


This means the process through which needs, emotions, desires, ideas, sentiments and goals are expressed among human beings using codes, symbols and languages understand by the parties involved in the process.


This can be defined as a business or an organization created to pursue profit by providing goods and services.


This is the financial strategy of holding different investment to reduce the risk of financial loss.

Chapter Five

5.0 Summary, Conclusions And Recommendations

5.1 Summary

The research as we have said “ab – inito” was under taken to ascertain the effectiveness of public relations practices in African petroleum plc from the point of view of the AP’s publics known as its staff, share holders, customers and the press. The areas covered in the course of this research work are African petroleum’s public relations message and media, African petroleum public relations department programmes and the overall services of the organization to the publics. The company seeking tirelessly to generate information with the aim to determining or ascertaining problem areas and opportunities and recommending a plan of action to improve the company’s corporate image does not actually know what the shareholder think about the company’s public relations programme and quality of overall service of the organization. Owing to the above, we have the need to evaluate the public relations practices on those three areas.

The researcher approach was purely empirical. The two hundred and fifty respondents which were made up of forty African petroleum’s staff sixty share holders one hundred and twenty customers and thirty members of the press. The questionnaire used for data collection was infact highly structured and of course open ended where the need be. It is implied here that the question and responses are standardized to facilitate comparison of responses and secure good control of question. The questionnaire was protested which resulted into some minor changes in wordings and sequence. The questionnaire was design to secure information from major public relations efforts of the organization known as awareness of public relations messages and media, quality of the organization to their public. The researcher also solicited for suggestions on how best to improve the quality of the services. At least twenty constructive questions were administered and checked by the African petroleum staff, customer shareholders and the members of the press. The shareholders findings and recommendation for African petroleum plc were highlighted in consonance with our observations.

5.2 Summary Of Findings

We should not forget that the major objective of this research work is to ascertain the effectiveness of public relations practices in African petroleum plc from the point of public relations practices in African petroleum plc from the point of view of customers and members of the press, as regards the African petroleum’s public relations messages and media, African petroleum public relations department and programmes and the quality of overall services of African petroleum to their publics. The following findings have been made:

  1. The degree of African petroleum’s public relations message accessibility to their public is satisfactory as majority of the respondents indicated having easy access to AP’s public. Relations message and on a regular basis;
  2. The right public relations media were often used as majority of respondents reported that African petroleum uses media combination that they are familiar with and public relations programmes that is relevant to the target audience;
  3. The public relations practices of African petroleum influence the opinion of their public in favour of African petroleum as majority of the respondents indicated the African petroleum’s public relations message sound persuasive and convincing that it influence their opinion in favour of African Petroleum.

5.3 Conclusions

Based on the findings mentioned, above without mincing words or nursing some sense of doubt, we concluded that the African petroleum’s public relations message; media and quality of services are actually satisfactory though more efforts should be put to their enlightment and mobilization programme. At times organization encounter some crisis as a result of their inability to review their public relations practice. The management of an organization should as a matter of necessity adopt the system of constant or periodic review of their public relations practices and policies to determine strengths to capitalize upon, weakness grab and threats to avoid. They are all geared toward improving the quality of the organization’s overall services, enhancement of their image and attraction of public support and good will.

5.4 Recommendations

  1. The African petroleum plc should endeavour to always engage on a constant evaluation of their public relations practices to determine its effectiveness and where there is short comings.
  2. The organization should constantly review the media combination with thetends of things to know whether there is shortfall as regards coverage and those familiar to the largest audience.
  3. They should use more or rather employ more open house and staged events because they have the advantage of providing more information to the public, creating more rapport between the public and the public and the company and encouraging public expression of favourable opinions.
  4. The publics relations department of an organization should know that a proportion of mass media be used to include public expressions of favourable opinions.
  5. Moreso, the public relations department should initiate more enlightment and mass mobilization programmes to achieve mutual understanding and public support.

5.5 Limitations Of The Study

This study was priority narrowed to the opinion of African petroleum staff, shareholders, customers and the press.

Besides, the view of other extended external public and minor public were not represented. The discrepancies will normally make a difference in some of the observation.

There are also limitation caused by time constraints, financial handicapped and very- very limited number of relevant needing materials in respect of the study.

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