Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga
By Chika Amanze-Nwachuku
Facts emerged Monday that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was not a party to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed recently with a United States firm, Vulcan Petroleum Resources Limited and an indigenous company, Petroleum Refining and Strategic Reserve Limited, for the construction of six modular refineries in Nigeria.
A highly placed NNPC source told THISDAY Monday night that the NNPC’s top management was consulted by the Trade Ministry in respect of the refinery deal.
He said the corporation had no hand in the project and is currently not in partnership with either the trade ministry, US firm or the Nigerian company in respect of the said modular refinery project.
“As far as we are concerned, we don’t know anything about the six refineries project. The NNPC was not consulted, nor its consent sought by the Ministry of Trade. The NNPC was not invited at the said signing ceremony and was also not represented. We are not collaborating with any company on any such project,” the sources who craved anonymity said.
Announcing the $4.5 billion refinery project last month, Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga had stated that the six refineries, which will have a combined capacity of refining 180,000 barrels of oil per day would be built in collaboration with the NNPC.
Aganga, who signed on behalf of the Federal Government, had stated that two of the refineries would be completed within the next 12 months, while the others will be completed within the short to medium-term.
The minister had also noted that the refineries would be located in areas where there are crude oil pipelines, adding that when completed, each modular plants will refine up to 30,000 barrels of crude oil per day and produce up to five million litres of petrol, diesel and kerosene.
“This is a historic moment and a big step for us as a country. Apart from power, one of the critical areas, which President Goodluck Jonathan has made a priority, is to have functional refineries. My understanding is that by the time the whole project is completed, the cost is estimated at about $4.5bn.
“This is the beginning of changing our old paradigm from exporting just raw materials and exporting jobs to the Western countries. There is no nation that has moved from being a poor nation to a rich one by exporting raw materials without having a vibrant industrial base. That is what we have to change for us to be a rich nation, and that is what the National Industrial Revolution Plan is based on,” Aganga was quoted to have said at the agreement signing.
Vice-President/Director, Vulcan Petroleum Resources, Mr. Jim Mansfield, and Chairman, Petroleum Refining and Strategic Reserve, Mr. Edozie Njoku, had signed on behalf of their respective companies.
Njoku had also informed that the partners in the deal would work with the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the NNPC to actualise the project.
“We are working in collaboration with the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the NNPC. We are working together as a team to ensure that in 12 months’ time, we will witness the inauguration of the refineries,” he said.