Senate probes NNPC over ailing refineries

Kaduna Refinery

The Warri refinery

The Senate on Thursday, mandated its Committee on Downstream Petroleum Sector to carry out a holistic investigation on the turnaround maintenance expenditure and current state of the refineries in the country.

The resolution were sequel to a Point of Order raised by Sen. Yusuf Yusuf (APC-Taraba Central) during plenary.

It also mandated the committee to convoke a stakeholder’s conference with aim of finding best way to revamp ailing refineries in order to favorably compete in the international market within the shortest period of time.

The Senate also urged the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to completely evaluate the dilapidated state of the refineries or total overhauling and rehabilitation to international standard.

This, it said would save the country from further wastage of its meager resources.

Raising the point of order, Yusuf said that the NNPC had four refineries; two in Port Harcourt, one each in Kaduna and Warri with a combined capacities of 444,000 barrels per day.

He said that the refineries were established to adequately supply and serve the need for the required petrol, gas, Premium Motor Spirit among others for both local consumption and export for maximum profit.

“The country through NNPC has in the past 25 years spent billions of dollars in turnaround maintenance of the refineries; the latest being over 365 million dollars spent between 2013 and 2015 without any meaningful result.

“The Senate is dismayed that the refineries have remained in the moribund state in the last 15 to 20 years.

“It is almost reaching total collapse due to lack of maintenance of the facilities with a poor average capacity utilisation hovering between 15 per cent and 25 per cent per annum.

“ NNPC recently announced as published by the Punch Newspaper of Thursday, Jan.23, a cumulative loss of N123.25 billion in 10 months, Jan. to Oct. 2019 putting the total revenue of the facilities at N68.82 billion.

“While the total expenses incurred was N192.1 billion within the same period.”

Yusuf expressed worry that such wastages as leakages amidst the nation’s tight economy if not addressed would lead the country back to recession.

“Such losses, when averted and combined with the huge expenditures in “under recovery” on fuel pump price and properly channeled into full rehabilitation and construction of modern refineries would positively impact on the economy.

“It will also save the country from the embarrassment of importation of petroleum products and its ripple effect.”

In his contribution, Sen. Ibikunle Amosun (APC-Ogun) who supported the motion said one of the problems the country was facing was lack of maintenance culture.

He said it was not the first time attention was drawn to the near collapse of the refineries in the country and urged his colleagues to do a thorough job during the investigation process.

In his remarks, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan said the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) would be worked upon in February.