Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, has disclosed that Nigeria’s refineries in Warri, Port Harcourt and Kaduna will soon begin production of aviation fuel as part of efforts to make the product available in the country for her aviation industry.
Kachikwu according to a statement last night in Abuja from the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, stated that the federal government was determined to make the product readily available in country irrespective of the fact that it is deregulated.
The statement which was signed by the ministry’s Director of Press, Mr. Idang Alibi, stated that he made this disclosure in a meeting he had with the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika on shortage of aviation fuel in the country.
Kachikwu said he would in the interim call a meeting of stakeholders to understand the consumption pattern of Jet A1 by aviation industry operators, as well as the cost of the product.
His comments were also captured in a similar statement from the Group General Manager Public Affairs of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Garuba Deen Muhammad.
Most importantly, the minister stated that as a long term solution, efforts are being made at the refineries to enable the production of aviation fuel before the end of the year.
“The immediate action point for now is to meet with all the importers of aviation fuel, we want to understand the consumption pattern and also look at their cost to ensure that they are not profiteering excessively,” said Kachikwu.
Sirika on his part attributed the collapse of many airlines in the past to their inability to access cheap aviation fuel.
He noted that 40 to 50 per cent of the cost of airline operation was on aviation fuel and therefore critical to the sector.
He also noted that accessibility to aviation fuel at a cheaper rate will bring some sorts of operational relief to operators and air travel passengers as it will bring down the cost of tickets and facilitate other things especially now that a national carrier is coming on board.
The statement equally quoted Sirika as calling for the use of pipelines as a means of transportation to ferry the available aviation fuel to the needed users, as well as verification of their quality to guarantee the safety of air travels.