Connect with us

Point Blank

Port Harcourt Refinery: NNPC, Why Crude Oil Feedstock from Shell?



Port Harcourt Refinery: NNPC, Why Crude Oil Feedstock from Shell?
Spread The News
Every day, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) keep spewing absurdities that at best makes the organisation look outrightly dubious or rather deceptively opaque.

Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria, the local affiliate of the Anglo-Dutch transnational giant, on Monday12th February 2024 said it has completed the supply of 475,000 barrels of crude oil to the Port Harcourt Refining Company Limited (PHRC) which will enable the plant to commence production activities after many years of being off stream.

The company, which allegedly made the supply through its Bonny Oil & Gas Terminal (BOGT), said it was in furtherance of the Nigerian Government’s commitment to increase domestic refining capacity and make petroleum products more readily available in the country.

Also, Bonny Terminal Installation Manager, Osita Nnajiofor, was quoted as saying “The recommencement of crude oil supply from the Bonny Oil and Gas Terminal to the Port Harcourt Refining Company Limited is a significant achievement and a game-changer for the industry and the country and will support federal government’s aspiration of steady supply of petroleum products to the downstream market and other associated benefits to the economy of the nation.”

The Country Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria and Managing Director, SPDC, Dr. Osagie Okunbor, was also quoted in the report to have said “Future supplies from the Bonny Terminal facility would be guided by the demand for the product (crude).”

First, is it Shell or NNPCL that should supply crude oil feedstock to the Port Harcourt Refinery, an operating strategic business unit of the nation’s apex oil concern? Why is the NNPC(L) not supplying its share or part of it from the produced crude in in its joint venture operation with the foreign operators instead of this trumpeted offtake from Shell?

These questions are pertinent so we don’t hear tomorrow that Port Harcourt Refinery can no longer continue its operations as a result of unpaid bills from sourcing of crude feedstock from Shell.

And if NNPC is asking Shell, the joint venture operator, to send part of its share of the JV produced crude, then it should be clearly stated to avoid ambiguity and future claims of indebtedness by the operator.

Now, before the Minister of State Petroleum (Oil) Heineken Lokpobiri continues his celebration of successful sourcing of 475,000 barrels of oil from Shell’s Bonny Terminal for the commencement of refining operations at the Port Harcourt Refinery, there are several issues we may need him to clarify.

First, the 475,000 barrels of crude secured from Shell, is it just for test-running or for the actual operation of the plant?

Secondly, is the refinery going to be getting this volume of crude daily or weekly from the Bonny terminal facility or is it just a one-off supply?

Let’s look at this issue critically: The coupled Port Harcourt Refinery has a name plate combined installed capacity of 210, 000 barrels per day (the old plant is 60,000 bpd while Port Harcourt 2 has 150,000 bpd).

In process engineering, 70-80 percent performance outing can be said to be optimal performance for plants as old as the Port Harcourt refinery. In that case, to operate optimally, the Port Harcourt plant will be needing between 147,000- 150,000 barrel per stream day to run its operations. That means the celebrated intake from Shell Bonny facility will last roughly for about three days or even less. Even if the plant runs on 100,000 barrels per stream day, it will for between four and five days on this offtake from Shell.

Is somebody getting the drift?

So after three, four or even five days of streaming, what happens to the plant- it shuts down or go to Shell for another batch of consignment? You see where the deception lies!

The Minister of State Petroleum Downstream (Oil), Heineken Lokpobiri and the NNPCL boss, Mele Kyari had told us in the third quarter of 2023 that “The Port Harcourt refinery would begin operations before the end of 2023, specifically in December. The Warri refinery, which is also being renovated, would begin refining crude oil to churn out petroleum products in February 2024 and then, Kaduna will come on stream towards the end of 2024.

“We are hopeful that in 2024, this country will be a net exporter of petroleum products,” Kyari had stated.

Now February is running out. Has the Port Harcourt refinery come onstream? For where! Warri Refinery nkoAhhai!

From obvious indications, these people have no plan to complete those “futuristic commissioned” projects. They’re only putting the citizen on notice that such projects will be abandoned and you are free to complain when they have left office or at best when they come to tell you another story.

Everything in Nigeria is often stated in future tense. Why not quietly complete the rehabilitation, and Nigerians will see that the refineries are back? Why do we always celebrate intentions in Nigeria? We looked forward and celebrated the construction of the Dangote refinery. Even after the commissioning ceremony of the project, it has become story upon story. Now Dangote Refinery is allegedly going to America to procure its crude feedstock. Haba Nigeria!

What’s the implication of all these deceit? It’s only clearing the way for a refined petroleum market which belongs to those who make policy (in the NNPCL and the Presidency and cronies) to continue to feed fat from the arbitrary price of fuel to the detriment of about 300 million Nigerians who have been made victims of the local Petroleum market for 23 years.

There is an existing corrupting structure that has found importation of fuel too juicy to terminate it. There is so much money being made and the structure for this sleaze has been built into all the oil and gas regulatory and policing institutions in Nigeria. The problem now is not about who is behind it. People move in and move out of that structure, feeding very fat as they move. So, it’s not just one person. Any new minister, NSA, AGF etc. that comes is initiated before he knows it. He only wakes up to realise that he has become a member of the cult and cannot talk while eating. That would be suicidal.

Glaringly, in the absence of a clean, committed, and patriotic president, it’s only God that can save Nigerians from this hellhole.

(IFEANYI IZEZE: [email protected]; 234-8033043009)

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.