FG stops funding of refineries

Kaduna refinery

The Federal Government says it will not concession or privatize Nigeria’s refineries but encourage private sector investment and subsequent joint ownership of the outfits for greater efficiency.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu said this this is in a statement released in Abuja on Tuesday by Mr Idang Alibi, Director Press in the Ministry.

Receiving members of the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum (Upstream) who were on an oversight visit to the Ministry, Kachikwu said government was working hard to bring in private capital to strengthen the refineries in order to boost the nation’s local refining capacity.

According to Kachikwu, for efficient management of the refineries, government funds will not be committed to the refineries any more.

He explained that prospective private investors would bring in funding, take part in managing the refineries and from there, recoup their investment.

Reeling out some of the achievements of the Ministry, Kachikwu told the visiting legislators that since the deregulation of the downstream of the petroleum sector in June, there was availability of petrol at filling stations across the country at affordable prices.

He also said his roadshows to China and India have secured for the nation MOUs worth about 80 billion dollars and that efforts are now on to give effect to the MOUs so that real money can enter into the domestic economy.

He said his next port of call in terms of a roadshow is the Gulf States and the U. S. from which Nigeria hopes to secure investment and get back her crude oil market.

Speaking earlier, the Chairman of the Committee, Rep. Victor Nwokolo, said the visit was to get first hand briefing on the activities, achievements, opportunities and challenges of the Ministry.

”This will enable the Committee to know what support it can give for the Ministry to achieve greater results for the benefit of the national economy,” Nwokolo said.

He commended Kachikwu on the achievements so far recorded in the Ministry under his watch and suggested that for the economic health of the nation, oil companies which fail to pay in their signature bonuses to the Federal Government should have their oil block allocations revoked. (NAN)

Meanwhile, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Tuesday said it would embark on a comprehensive rehabilitation of the nation’s refineries to achieve optimal capacity utilisation in 2017.

NNPC Chief Operating Officer, Refineries, Mr Anibor Kragha, said this in Abuja in a statement by Mr Ndu Ughamadu, the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division.

The statement reported Kragha as saying that the Corporation was determined to move away from the approach of quick fixes and undertake a comprehensive revamp of the plants.

”The plan for next year is to get the comprehensive rehabilitation programme done.

”The situation is like having three cars in your garage that have not been maintained for 15 to 20 years while you expect optimal performance from them.

”Changing one fuel pump here, one compressor there is not helpful. What we are doing now is to step back and take a holistic approach and do a full rehabilitation of all the refineries,’’ Kragha said.

He noted that once the exercise was achieved, a chart for routine Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) Programme would be drawn.

On the earlier plan to have other refineries co-located with the existing refineries, Kragha explained that though the plan was still on course, none of the projected co-location refineries would come on stream in 2017 based on existing timeline for assemblage of the plants.

He added that the Port Harcourt Refinery was a ”few steps away” from commencing the production of Aviation Turbine Fuel known as aviation fuel.

”We are very close; we have done tests with some of the key marketers. We have achieved all the parameters, we just want to be 110 per cent certain,’’ he said

The statement stated that earlier, the Managing Director of the Kaduna Refining and Petrochemicals Company (KPRC), Mallam Idi Maiha, assured that KPRC was ”assiduously working towards a target of 75 per cent capacity utilisation in 2017”.

Mariah projected that the KPRC would supply one cargo of crude oil per month.

Also, the Managing Director of Warri Refining and Petrochemicals Company, Mr Solomon Ladenegan, noted that ”despite the hostile operating environment, fraught with incessant cases of pipeline pulverization and outright product theft, the refinery was looking forward to better days ahead”. (NAN)