The federal government has unfolded plans of engaging private investors to build new refineries within the existing old ones. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and the Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) also stated that two of the country’s existing refineries might come back on stream before the end of this year.

According to a statement issued by Ohi Alegbe, NNPC’s spokesperson, the petroleum minister, during an interactive session with the National Assembly members, expressed his readiness to work closely with the legislators, to ensure the speedy growth and development of the oil and gas sector. He informed them that from the available reports at his disposal, two of the refineries might be re-streamed before the end of this year. The minister added “efforts are on to engage private investors to build new refineries within the old ones to enable the refineries to share power, pipelines and other resources.”

He further noted that the average national oil production as at July stood at 2.1 million barrels per day (bpd) and that the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) equity production was 99,000bpd. Kachikwu said that the declining joint venture reserves were due to inadequate and low investment in the oil assets, stressing that the issue of funding constraints must be addressed going forward with the collaboration of private and international investors.

The minister stated that he would ensure that the Nigerian content policy will help to transform the oil and gas industry into the economic engine for job creation and national growth. Kachikwu explained that he was obliged to cancel the Offshore Processing Agreements, crude-for-products exchange arrangement and other unprofitable arrangements in a bid to avoid rent seekers and add value to the Nigerian hydrocarbon resources.

On the downstream sector, he advocated the introduction of a private sector model that would reinvigorate the efficient supply and distribution of petroleum products, especially in the area of pipeline assets. The minister said the menace of pipeline vandalism had resulted in huge losses of crude and petroleum products, adding that 27,967 incidents of pipeline vandalism were recorded in the last few years.

Maureen Nzeogu
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