By Emmanuel Addeh
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) yesterday attributed the prolonged neglect of overhauling the refineries in the country to the delay in making them functional.
It declared the refineries as damaged beyond the usual Turnaround Maintenance (TAM).
However, to revamp them, the national oil is embarking upon total rehabilitation of the plants, which despite currently being non-functional, gulp about N10 billion monthly in payment of salaries and other in-built costs.
Speaking yesterday on the third day of the virtual Oil Trading and Logistics (OTL) Africa Downstream Expo 2020, on the theme “ Petroleum Refining Trends and Outlook for Tomorrow’s Energy Supply,” the Managing Director of the Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company (KRPC), Mr. Ezekiel Osarolube, stated that the corporation had begun the rehabilitation of all the facilities.
He explained that there is now a private/public arrangement in the revamping of the refineries, adding that getting them back on stream remains a priority for the NNPC.
“The first phase of this project is to raise capacity and second phase is to upgrade and modernise to meet current trends; so, we need time to get there.
“There’s a difference between turnaround maintenance and what we are doing now. The traditional TAM, which the whole world knows is usually statutory, which is done two to three years, is to open and clean the system.
“But because of the long neglect, we have gone beyond that level of turnaround. What we are talking about now is comprehensive rehabilitation, which will involve replacing very obsolete equipment that can bring the plants back to optimum performance,” he stated.
According to him, the journey to make the plants resume production is ongoing, adding that the corporation has a roadmap, which it is following religiously to ensure all the slippages are rectified.
“These steps are going on in Warri, Kaduna and Port Harcourt and we have a roadmap we follow religiously.
“Every month, we have a stakeholders’ meeting to review where we are and if there is any slippages and how to recover because top management is focused on this project as the number one project of NNPC.
“We are dealing with people who are good in the business and they also want to recoup their money. All the fears will be taken care of and everyone will be proud of the NNPC,” he stated.
On his part, the Executive Secretary of the African Refiners and Distributors Association (ARA), a pan-African organisation for the African downstream oil sector, Mr. Anibor Kragha, noted that while the NNPC was on the right path, it should, however, focus on combining rehabilitation and upgrade to cleaner fuel specs to sell across Africa since there’s a huge market for it.
“We are going to have a population explosion in the next two decades and we are going to need an increased amount of energy to meet their demands.
“Renewables are going to grow during that period. Notwithstanding what happens, we are going to need a lot of crude oil but we need to focus on cleaner fuels. That’s why we are calling for Africa specific fuels by 2030,” he said.
He called for less emphasis on brown fuels and more on the green, noting that technologies for this should be made a priority, while the pursuit of gas as an alternative fuel should be encouraged.
Also in his intervention, Chairman, PEJAD, Nigeria, Mr. Anthony Ogbuigwe, said to make progress towards the attainment of cleaner fuel supplies, Sub-Saharan Africa must reduce the sulphur content of the fuels it consumes.
“The biggest refineries are in Egypt, but none of them meet the clean fuels specifications, but a number of them are carrying out revamping projects to improve the specification,” he said.