By Ejiofor Alike
The current fuel crisis in some parts of the country will worsen as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has shut down the Kaduna Refinery and Petrochemical Company (KRPC) for two weeks for routine maintenance, THISDAY has learnt.
The development, it was gathered, came after the refinery had been in continuous operation, performing at 60 per cent capacity utilisation for eight months.
A source close to the refinery told THISDAY last night that before the shut down, the refinery had been on operation since March 31, 2012 when the Catalytic Reforming Unit (CRU) was re-streamed.
The CRU, he said was shut down in November, 2011 for re-tubing of the combined feed/reactor effluent heat exchangers 12E01A/B.
Few weeks ago, the NNPC released additional four million litres of petrol to marketers from the refinery as part of the efforts to curb the current fuel crisis in the country.
But the source told THISDAY that after eight months of continuous operation, there were leakages in some of the units that needed to be repaired.
“We have been in operation for eight months and there were leakages in the units. Some of the trays in Distillation Column also collapsed. So, we sought for approval from Abuja for a scheduled shut down for minor repairs to be carried out and it was approved,” he said.
He, however, stated that with the collapse of the distillation columns in all the units, the refinery would be performing at about 30 to 35 per cent capacity utilisation after the two-week repairs.
According to him, it would take a very long time for the distillation columns to be repaired.
“The distillation columns in the Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit (FCCU) are the most crucial and it will take months for them to be repaired. So, we will be performing at about 30 to 35per cent after these two weeks,” he said.
With the FCCU and the CRU earlier in operation before the shut down, the refinery was producing above 2.5million litres of petrol per day, representing about 60 per cent capacity.