By Adedayo Akinwale
The House of Representatives has resolved to conduct investigative hearing over the decision of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to shut down operations at the Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company.
The resolution of the House followed the adoption of a motion moved yesterday by Hon. Ben Igbakpa, at the plenary.
Igbakpa said that the Warri refinery was mandated to produce refined products from mainly local crude.
He noted that the plants were operating at an output of around 115m3/hour, which translated to about 68 per cent installed capacity, adding that products that were being supplied from the refinery included petrol, gas oil, diesel, kerosene, low pour fuel oil (LPFO) for ships and industrial fuel.
He said: “The refinery has not operated optimally due to allegedly top management decisions of the NNPC to ground the plant for personal benefit of marketers importing products that can be produced in the refinery.”
Igbakpa expressed concern that the plant had shut down severally due to haulage challenges, neglect in the evacuation of products, lack of functional or operational storage tanks and poor maintenance culture on the part of management, which also constitutes another reason for the refinery non-functionality.
He added: “Aware of the alleged plan to ground the plant from refining products by members of the top echelon of the Warri refinery in collaboration with the chief operating officer (COO) as well as diverting crude meant for refining.”
The lawmaker stressed that when crude oil is delivered from Escravous tank farm for refining, the products are hoarded for about 14 days and thereafter diverted through the refinery jetty to interested buyers or specific companies they have special interests in who pay less.
Igbakpa noted that the resultant effects of this alleged economic sabotage is that the plant was down because there was no crude to refine.