Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) has said that the decision of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to continually ignore the operational manuals issued by the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) of its four refineries in Warri, Kaduna, and Port Harcourt, led to the collapse of the refineries.
NSE stated that the refineries with a combined refining capacity of 445,000 barrels of oil per day (bd) have remained fairly broken down from years of the NNPC choosing to look away from the maintenance instructions contained in the operational manuals of their OEMs.
Its president, Mr. Otis Anyaeji, stated recently at a press briefing in Abuja to conclude the 2017 edition of the society’s annual general meeting and conference that the operational manuals of the refineries included phased maintenance jobs to keep them running efficiently.
He noted that those phased maintenance exercises were recommended even when it appeared the refineries were working well, but the NNPC simply overlooked them and continued to work them until they became too broken to give out any meaningful output.
“I think that that is really an issue that took a long time to develop wrongly. The process of turnaround of a process plant is a matter of prescription from manufacturers of the various machineries that make up the refineries,” said Anyaeji, in respect of NSE’s opinion about the turnaround maintenance of the refineries which the NNPC has planned to embark.
He further stated: “It is also a question of the prescription of the engineering procurement and construction outfit that built the plant, so, taking instructions from the manuals of these parties – the designers, engineers, and construction outfits, if they had followed that, the plants would continue to run almost as new and operations will go on almost at their optimum capacities.”
“But when the prescriptions are ignored for a long time – if they say after some hours of operation, the plants be shut down for repairs and turnaround maintenance be done even if it appears certain components of the plants are functioning, you should obey, but when you don’t do that, then you are breaking the rules,” he explained.
Anyaeji stated that: “It took a long time for us to continue to break these rules and ignored all the prescriptions and even warnings of the consequences of not doing a proper maintenance of these refining assets.”
He said the society was however optimistic that the renewed efforts of the corporation to carry out turnaround maintenance exercises on the plants would yield results.
“We know it will take a long time to repair them now that they are interested in it, and we are confident the NNPC will do a good job this time because its current Managing Director was in charge of one of the refineries and he knows where the shoe pinches the most,” he stated.