The Federal Government has assured Nigerians that it has no plan to sell any of the refineries in the country but may encourage joint venture investments in the facilities.
The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, made this remark on Wednesday shortly after inspecting the Port Harcourt Refinery in Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State.
Nigeria currently has four refineries in Rivers, Delta and Kaduna States, with two of them in Eleme, Rivers State.
Kachikwu explained that rather than sell the nation’s refineries, government would embrace the option of increasing their capacity by making them 100 percent efficient.
“There will never be a plan to sell the refineries. There might be a plan to have joint venture investors, but that is going to depend on how the refineries are going to work on their own. Obviously, we are going to be looking at all options to make the refineries 100 percent efficient,” he said.
He expressed government’s readiness to make the pipelines and other oil installations to work at full capacity, maintaining that the excuse that pipelines were sabotaged was no longer an excuse.
Explaining that the Federal Government was going to be tough on pipeline vandals, Kachikwu pointed out that measures had been put in place to ensure that the pipelines were protected.
“In terms of crude supply, you know we have cancelled the crude supply by vessel contracts. We are going to use some stop-gap measures to use our own internal supplies from now till when the new contracts are looked at. The intent is to have the pipelines work.
“I am very focussed on the pipelines; it is no longer good enough excuse that people are sabotaging the pipelines. We have got to deal with those sabotages and we are going to go extremely tough on this. If we can make the pipelines work, we get crude supply and get higher volumes easier.
“We are on the verge of bringing in a lot of engineers to help with pipeline protection. We should be looking at both aerial surveys by helicopters, surveys by the military and obviously naval surveys as long as we can. But we have to also engage the communities,” the NNPC GMD said.
Kachikwu, however, promised not to allow fuel scarcity in the country during his tenure as the GMD of NNPC, adding that though he would try and refine crude oil locally, he will also import when necessary.
He said, “I will not allow scarcity to happen in the country. I will import as much as I need. I will try and refine as much as I can and I will keep looking at those comparative dynamics and see where we will land. I certainly would hope that someday in my tenure, we would stop importing.
“But it is not going to happen on a 100 percent basis unless you build new refineries. The total capacity anywhere, even if we are doing a hundred percent, is about 20 million litres. Consumption today is 40 million litres.”
On why the Warri Refinery is shut down, Kachikwu attributed the development to the failure of not investing in the turnaround maintenance of refineries in the country for a long time.