From Uche Usim, Abuja
The plan of reviving the Port Harcourt Refinery and Petrochemical Complex (PRPC) was consummated on Tuesday in Abuja with an official agreement signing ceremony between the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and contractor Maire Technimont SPA.
Speaking at the event, the Group Managing Director of the national oil company, Mr Mele Kyari, noted that over 7,000 staff of the NNPC agreed in unison to toe the path of totally retrofitting all government refineries, regardless of the inherent challenges, with a view to creating jobs and ending petroleum products import.
He revealed that a provision of $162.239 million has been made, even as he said that an escrow account will be opened in respect of the project in weeks ahead.
"I can confirm to you that nobody has been delegated by anybody in this company to work for (the interest of) anyone other than the mandate of delivering on this rehabilitation project."#TAPE pic.twitter.com/0BepcECTpD
— NNPC Group (@NNPCgroup) April 6, 2021
On the public outcry over the cost and modalities of the rehabilitation, Kyari reassured that several stakeholders, offshore and onshore, are involved in project.
‘We dragged in several stakeholders like the Ministry of Finance, ICRC, NEITI, labour unions, foreign technical partners and others. If we had anything to hide, we won’t do this. This is a great history for us. We are aware of the misgivings around cost, political compromises, etc. Those critics, if they were in charge, will hike cost and earn money they did not work for from the rehabilitation project,’ Mr Kyari said.
‘If I see the MD of Technimont, I won’t recognise him because we did not deal based on personal connection.
‘We acknowledge we made mistakes in the past with regards to Turn Around Maintenance (TAM). But this is not a TAM. Major procurement and construction are involved here. We’ve neglected these refineries and TAM procedures abused. This is retrofitting. Some parts will be replaced and others upgraded and these spendings will be published.
‘It’ll be different from others. There are so many interventions taking place. Today, we have a clearly defined scope. We know what’s wrong with it and what to fix. We have a contract to determine what will be achieved and at what time and cost. These were absent in previous contracts.
‘But in this case, we embarked on a very transparent process and involved everyone even those who should not even be involved. But it’s for the good of Nigeria. We will continue on this process to fix Kaduna and Warri refineries. We are proud of this feat. The actual cost of the rehabilitation is $1.299bn. When we added taxes and charges, it rose to $1.5 billion.
‘There are insinuations that there are people who can do better than what we have done. But I must state that no one was engaged to work for anybody but just to deliver the project. No vested interests. If anyone goes about touting our names, it’s fake. Hand them over to us. We assure our bankers and contactors that this project will be delivered on schedule.
‘It can stand any audit and test as the contractor emerged through thorough process devoid of favoritism.
‘We are ready to answer any questions on this project,’ the NNPC head noted.
He urged the contractor to deliver as agreed by returning the refinery to above 90% installed capacity on completion.
Also speaking at the event, Ahmed Dikko, the Managing Director of the PRPC described the agreement signing as a dream come true.
‘The dream did not just happen but through hard work, dedication and planning.
‘The mode of payment is an escrow account. Commencement date is today. Completion is maximum of 44 months and will be done in three phases. Area 5 is for 24 months, Area 1&2 is 32 months and the last one is 44 months, he explained.
Responding, Davide Pelizzola, the Vice President, Sub-saharan African region, of Maire Technimont SPA, assured that the project will be delivered on set timelines.
Earlier in his remarks, Mr Mustapha Yakubu, the Chief Operating Officer of Refinery and Petrochemical unit of the NNPC, said that the event was a moment of truth.
‘The local content and entire package are heartwarming. It’s a move to end product importation by boosting local refining capacity,’ he said.