The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, has stated that his ministry has established a transparent structure designed to ensure a timely and efficient process of financing and fixing the countryâ€™s key refineries in line with the objective of ending importation of petroleum products by 2019.
The process is meant to deliver one of the components of the three-pronged strategy for achieving the target: massive revamp of the Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna refineries in order to substantially increase refining of petroleum products to an estimated 450,000 barrels per day.
The other components are: supporting the establishment of Greenfield Refineries including the proposed Dangote Refinery which would have an estimated capacity of 650,000 per day; and mainstreaming of modular refineries to further enhance refining capacity.
According to a statement by the petroleum ministry, the Federal Executive Council and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) would play key roles in the structure at the level of ratification and approval.
A technical committee led by NNPC reporting to the Minister of Petroleum is also part of the structure.
Kachikwu, who gave details recently, said his ministry would publish advertisements to invite qualified consortiums with the relevant capacity and track record to participate in the bids on the basis of engineering and financial specifications.
Kachikwu stressed that the petroleum ministry was desirous of obtaining the best expertise at the best terms for the country so that solid and sustainable results can be achieved in meeting the historic target.
He asserted that the process is neither a concession nor a sale but that the plan is to basically bring in private investors with no stake in equity to bring the funds required to get these refineries working to optimal capacity.
â€œWe would advertise for those who are to bring their consortiums and bids on the basis of the engineering and financial specifications. The more people we have participating, the better we can create commercial terms that are favorable to government. So itâ€™s not going to be childâ€™s play,â€ he said.
The minister restated that media stories that any company has been awarded a contract for the project or that any aspect has been concessioned to any form were false.
He said it could not have been otherwise given that the ministry under his leadership prioritised a culture of transparency and international best practices in all facets of its activities according to the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari.
â€œNews reports of an award to any company upfront are simply not true. The process hasnâ€™t gotten to that stage yet. We have had lots of expressions of interest and we encourage anybody who is interested to be bullish about it because ultimately we need them to achieve these goals,â€ he said.
Kachikwu underscored that the ministry was working with a sense of urgency and that progress has been made in putting things in place for the refineries revamp process to take off soon.
â€œThe process for financing these important repairs is very transparent. We have reached out and consulted especially with big refinery owners abroad to support us. We have developed the engineering analysis to show what needs to be done and have come up with a cost that we think is reasonable to achieve this objective,â€ he added.
He promised that stakeholders and the Nigerian public will be regularly updated on progress with the refineries revamp process and all aspects of the ongoing work to make the 2019 target for ending importation of petroleum products a reality.