…threatens to shut non-performing refineries by December
Local refineries operating below 65 per cent of installed capacity without any improvement by December, 2015 will be closed down, says the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Dr. IbeKachikwu.
The NNPC boss gave this indication while responding to some questions raised by Senators at the ongoing ministerial nominees screening by the Senate in Abuja today. He disclosed that the reality is that functioning refineries were operating at only 25 per cent, contrary to reports that they were doing well.
He said any refinery that does not produce up per cent is not production, and at the end of December, we will only allow those who perform optimally. The NNPC boss said that a lot of work needed to be done on the refineries as they had not been well maintained in the last 10 years.
According to him, the NNPC have started the policy of not giving crude to any refinery that is not producing. “Port Harcourt refinery is producing at over 60 per cent and we want to drive it to 80 by December, Warri Refinery has indicated that it will soon come on stream; we will begin to pump crude to Kaduna Refinery by tomorrow (Thursday) and by the next five days, we will know if they will produce above 65 per cent.
On the issue of Kerosene scarcity, Dr. Kachikwu said the situation would continue unless the refineries performed optimally. “Kerosene is a different ball game; only NNPC imports kerosene in this country because nobody can import and make money.
“Fifty per cent of NNPC subsidies go to kerosene, so our refineries must work so we can get kerosene and gas.
“Importation is something we must quickly get out of so we must ensure that our refineries work; we must build and have a strategic reserve of at least two years,” he said.
Kachikwu added that the nation needed to privatise the downstream sector of the oil industry, saying it would spur competition and develop the sector.