Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja
Despite not processing petroleum products for years, the federal government has continued to spend hugely on the nation’s three petroleum refineries.
NNPC, in a full report of its operations for April 2020, said that all the refineries were still down, but N10.47 billion was spent in the month under review, further doubling down on the losses incurred as a result of the non-functioning national assets located in Warri, Port Harcourt and Kaduna.
Minister of State, Petroleum, Mr. Timipre Sylva, had last weekend decried the huge losses incurred in running the comatose refineries, which he ascribed to the operation of the national oil company as a mostly publicly-owned entity.
“We have a situation now of a refinery that has not functioned for three years, yet it’s paying salaries. Every staff is being paid. We have carried on paying salaries. Nobody can sack anybody.
“People are getting promoted, but the refineries are not functioning. Unions will not let you. Those are the real issues,” he said. According to the NNPC in its latest report, the trading deficit of N30.81 billion was also recorded by the corporation compared to the N9.53 billion deficit posted in March 2020, mainly due to ongoing coronavirus-related impact of reduced exports; plus a deficit arising from terminal benefits paid to retired staff.
“No associated crude plus freight cost for the three refineries since there was no production but operational expenses amounted to N10.47 billion. This resulted to an operating deficit of N9.69 billion by the refineries,” the national oil company explained. For the Port Harcourt refinery, it said the overstated losses for June -236.49 and July -2890.72 had been added to the current deficit of -3434.07 to arrive at the adjusted balance of -286.86 in September 2019.
“In April 2020, only PHRC processed 41,878MT of crude with no finished products by any of the three refineries. Combined yield efficiency is -3.40 per cent (plant consumption) owing largely to ongoing rehabilitation works in the refineries. “The declining operational performance is attributable to the ongoing revamping of the refineries, which is expected to further enhance capacity utilisation once completed,” it added.
A month before, the NNPC had said the total crude oil production in Nigeria increased by 3.17 million barrels or 5.28 per cent at 63.19 million barrels with a daily average of 2.04 million barrels per day.
However, the organisation noted that production was disrupted by the shutdown of the TFP at Forcados for repairs while Bonny NCTL was shut down due to leaks on ROW near Boro / Awoba axis.
“Production was also interrupted at Bonga, Egina, Brass, Erha, Usan, Amenam, Ogo Ocha and Ima terminals due to lube oil loss, pump issues, loss of power, riser protector replacement, pipeline repairs and flare management.” it said.