NNPC Abandons Quick Fixes, to Fully Rehabilitate Refineries in 2017

  •  Kachikwu plans oil and gas investment tours to US, Gulf states

Chineme Okafor in Abuja

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has said it would no longer undertake short and stop-gap repairs of its refineries in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna, but will from 2017 embark on a comprehensive rehabilitation of them to achieve optimal capacity utilisation.

A statement from the Group General Manager Public Affairs of NNPC, Ndu Ughamadu tuesday in Abuja stated that the Chief Operating Officer of Refineries of the NNPC, Mr. Anibor Kragha, made this disclosure at the annual general meetings (AGM) of the three refineries in Abuja.

Kragha stated that the corporation was determined to move away from the approach of quick fixes and undertake a comprehensive revamp of the plants.

He also noted that once the exercise was achieved, the refineries would in due course draw up a chart for their routine Turn Around Maintenance (TAM).

“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 stated.

He also said on plans to have other refineries co-located with the existing refineries, that though the plan was still on course, non of the projected co-location refineries would come on stream in 2017 based on existing timeline for assemblage of the plants.

Kragha equally explained that the Port Harcourt Refinery which plans to commence the production of Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATK) for domestic consumption was a few steps away from achieving this.
He said: “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.”

The statement equally noted that the Managing Director of the Kaduna Refining and Petrochemicals Company, Mallam Idi Mukhtar Maiha, said the refinery was assiduously working towards a target of 75 per cent capacity utilisation in 2017 based on projected supply of one cargo of crude oil per month.

Similarly, the Managing Director of Warri Refining and Petrochemicals Company, Solomon Ladenegan, stated in the statement that despite the hostile operating environment fraught with incessant cases of pipeline vandalism and outright product theft, the refinery was looking forward to better days ahead.

Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, yesterday disclosed that he would soon jet off to the United States and Gulf States to convince their investors to invest in Nigeria’s domestic petroleum refining sector, as well as restore the country’s sale of crude oil to the US.

Nigeria had lost its crude oil marketing status to the US following the latter’s discovery of Shale oil.
Also, the Gulf States are called Persian Gulf States, and oil-producing countries on or near the Persian Gulf.
They include Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
A statement from the Director of Press in the ministry, Idang Alibi, y in Abuja, however, stated that the minister made this disclosure when he hosted members of the House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum (Upstream) who were on an oversight visit to the ministry.

According to the statement, Kachikwu told the lawmakers that his road shows to China and India have secured for Nigeria Memoranda of Understandings (MOUs) worth about $80 billion and that efforts are now on to give effect to the MOUs so that real money can enter into the domestic economy.

He also said his next port of call in terms of an investment road show was the Gulf States from which Nigeria hopes to secure investments especially into the refinery sector.

The minister stated that he also has his eyes on another commercial road show to the US where he hopes to ensure that Nigeria gets back her crude oil market in that country.

Speaking on the federal government’s investment preference for the country’s refineries, Kachikwu said they would not be concessioned or privatised but would invite private sector investment which could eventually lead to their joint ownership and management for greater efficiency.

He noted that the government was working hard to bring in private investment capital to strengthen the refineries in order to boost the nation’s local refining capacity.
He stated further that for the purpose of efficient management of the refineries, government money would not be committed to the refineries any more.

According to him, prospective private investors will bring in their money, take part in managing the refineries and from there, and recoup their investment.

The statement explained that the Chairman of the Committee, Victor Nwokolo, in his remarks, stated that they were in the ministry to get first hand briefing on its activities, achievements, opportunities and challenges to enable the committee know what support it can give.

The minister in stating the achievements of the ministry, told the committee that the deregulation of the downstream petroleum sector in June had ensured that petrol was available at filling stations across the country.