Why we need foreign investors at refineries — Kachikwu

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…Says $700 m required to up capacity

By DANLADI BATURE

IBE Kachikwu, Minister of State, Petroleum Resources and group managing director (GMD) of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has given reasons why the Federal Government is seeking foreign investors at the nation’s four refineries, which have largely been in fits-and-starts for decades.

According to Kachikwu, while re-commissioning the Port Harcourt Refining Company (PHRC) crude line at the refinery complex, Alesa-Eleme in Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State, said, the NNPC requires more than $700 million to undertake capacity upgrade of the four refineries to about 90% production capacity; but said the corporation can ill-afford such money at this time of economic meltdown.

As a result, he informed that they were at high level discussions with some investors, to come in with investable funds to carry out the expansion.

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He said at the time being, PHRC and Warri Refinery were producing and pumping refined PMS (fuel) to the market; while Kaduna Petroleum Refining Company (KPRC) was presently receiving crude oil supply from the Escravos crude flow line, and would be refining in the next one week to 10 days.

Kachikwu however, debunked reports that the foreign investors were coming to take-over the refineries from the Nigerian workers; but that they would be operating only as ‘technical partners.’

The NNPC has put the combined average capacity utilisation of Nigeria’s four refineries at about 60 percent producing 12 million litres of PMS daily, as against national consumption of 45 million litres.

The refineries, Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company (KRPC), Port Harcourt Refining Company (PHRC 1 & 2), and Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company (WRPC) are now receiving crude supplies, which they pay for, refine and sell to marketers.

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