The federal government may have perfected plans to privatise the nation’s refineries within the next one year, according to revelations by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu.
According to Kachikwu, the federal government was looking at privatising its refineries within 12 months, disclosing that Agip and Chevron have already indicated interest in purchasing two of the refineries.
The minister, who doubles as the Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), says his team is working with oil majors on improving the state-run refineries in Nigeria.
Kachikwu was quoted by Reuters as saying that the federal government wanted to privatise the refineries within 12 months following the much-needed maintenance work.
“We have gotten commitments from some of the majors. Agip has indicated interest to work with us on Port Harcourt, Chevron on Warri. We are talking to Total on Kaduna,” Kachikwu said.
He added that even if the refineries in question performed to their optimum capacity, their production would still not meet local demand for petrol.
He said the petroleum resources ministry was striving to utilise other sources of refining petrol while also depending on the coming on board of private refineries like the Dangote refinery.
He noted that the non-performance of the refineries was due to a number of factors, including fraud and lack of holistic maintenance. As a result of the long period of non-maintenance, a lot of components were ineffective.
However, the minister had earlier stated that the refineries would not disposed off, but said government would seek investors to co-locate new refineries near the existing ones which presently perform abysmally lower than their installed capacities.
He noted that the phased rehabilitation of all the state owned refineries would be given an accelerated vigour with the aim of reducing petroleum products importation into the country, adding that at full capacity, all the refineries could supply 20 million litres of petrol on a daily basis.
LEADERSHIP recalls that Kachikwu had assured that the corporation will provide all the necessary enablers to make the refineries operate commercially and optimally, while pointing out that though the current challenges militating against the operations of the refineries are huge, they are not insurmountable.
He stated that in view of the nation’s low refining capacity, there was need to establish more refineries in the country, adding that he plans to ensure the building of new refineries near the existing plants.
“I am pushing to build new refineries next to our existing plants in order to boost the nation’s refining capacity for the common good” he stated.
He explained that the new refineries will be developed by private investors and that NNPC’s role will be just to provide them with space close to the existing refineries to enable them share key facilities such as pipelines and storage facilities.
Kachikwu who praised the vision and foresight of past Nigerian leaders for establishing the refineries had then challenged the present generation to sustain the vision, adding that all hands must be on deck to salvage the situation.