According to the monthly report of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) the country’s refineries operated at an average of 10.46 per cent of their combined nameplate capacity of 445,000 barrels per day in the month of June.
The data showed that 244,000 metric tonnes (mt) of dry crude oil, condensate and slop were received by the three refineries, namely: Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company (KRPC), Port Harcourt Refining Company (PHRC), and Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company (WRPC).
The report added that, “With an opening stock of 428,000mt, total crude oil available for processing was 672,000mt, out of which 221,000mt was processed. The respective average capacity utilization during the month was 0.00 per cent, 17.96 per cent and 13.44 per cent for the KRPC, PHRC and WRPC, respectively”.
The KRPC had total available crude oil of 169,301mt in the month, but nothing was processed. Out of 289,852mt, the PHRC processed 152,889mt, while WRPC processed 68,098mt out of 213,352mt.
The country’s refineries have long been operating well below installed capacity as they are in different stages of disrepair. They operated at an average of 31.1 per cent capacity in 2012, according to data from the Central Bank of Nigeria.
A source laments the importation of petroleum products from abroad while Nigeria has four refineries. He noted that government had at a time said it wanted to encourage private sector investors to participate in refining but none of them has been able to be start off.
The country, which is home to over 170 million people, imports more than 80 per cent of its refined petroleum products for the servicing of its economy.
Nigeria, Africa’s largest crude oil producer, is arguably the biggest importer of refined petroleum products on the continent, creating a lucrative market for refineries, particularly in Europe and the United States.
Recently, Joseph Dawha, group managing director, NNPC, announced that government spends about N2 trillion yearly on fuel subsidies.
The operation of the PHRC was restricted to about three months last year as a result of pipeline vandalism, according to the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of the NNPC.
Haruna Momoh, managing director, PPMC, recently in Lagos made public that PHRC operated for only 82 days in 2013 due to pipeline vandalism.
In February 2014, the country emerged as the largest and second-largest importer of kerosene and jet fuel, respectively from the US, according to data released by that country’s Energy Information Administration (EIA), the statistics arm of the US Department of Energy.
The EIA data shows that Nigeria imported 864,000 barrels of US jet fuel in February, rising from 292 barrels in January. In November 2013, a record 1.58 million barrels were imported.
Nigeria also brought in its largest kerosene cargo of 292,000 barrels in February, and only it’s fifth-ever kerosene cargo from the US, including one each in July, October and November.
Last month, oil workers in the NNPC embarked on an industrial action, with demands including taking immediate steps to carry out turnaround maintenance on the refineries and restoration of crude supply to the refineries.
Although Diezani Alison-Madueke, Minister of Petroleum Resources while resolving the industrial dispute, had promised the oil workers that something would be done about all their demands, including the refineries, it is yet to be seen how soon this would happen.