…as December deadline approaches
The Group General Manager, Public Affairs Division of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mr. Ohi Alegbe, has ruled out the possibility that any of the four local refineries may be sold if they failed to meet the December deadline to commence operation.
The four refineries with a combined capacity of 445,000 barrels per day were mandated by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu in late September to firm up their operations.
NNPC had in August cancelled the contract for the delivery of crude oil to the nation’s refineries due to exorbitant costs and inappropriate process of engagement. The corporation noted that as a stop-gap measure, the NIDAS Marine Limited, a subsidiary of the NNPC, had been engaged to provide crude delivery service on negotiated industry standard rates pending the establishment of a substantive contract.
An investigation by National Daily has revealed that none of the four refineries in the country has commenced full operation despite the 90-days ultimatum handed to them.
Three of the refineries in Warri, Kaduna, and the 150,000 bpd Port Harcourt plant had resumed production of refined petroleum products in July after undergoing rehabilitation but two were shut down in August, while the Port Harcourt refinery stopped operation in September.
Kachikwu who also doubles as the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation gave the directive in other to bring the refineries back on stream to meet local demands.
Alegbe said two of the refineries are ready to go, “What they just need now is crude and that is why we try to get the pipelines working. Kaduna, for instance, is ready to go. Port Harcourt is ready to go and the other ones are still being worked on. There has not been any time anybody said anything about selling,” he explained.
He also said that the problem with the Port Harcourt refinery had been resolved. According to him, following frequent vandalism of the pipelines, the NNPC engaged the army corps of engineers to secure them, adding that the Warri-Kaduna pipeline and the Bonny-Port Harcourt pipeline had some issues.