…Re-commissions Port Harcourt refinery crude line after 7 years
From Chris Anucha, Port Harcourt
MINISTER of State, Petroleum Resources and Group Managing Director (GMD) of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr Ibe Kachikwu yesterday made clarifications on what the Chinese investors being involved in the affairs of the nation;s refineries would actually d’.
Kachikwu who spoke at the formal re-commissioning of the crude supply line of the Port Harcourt Refining Company in Alesa-Eleme, in Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State.
He said that the Chinese were not coming to acquire the refineries, rather they would operate as technical partners and inject vitally needed funds for the upgrade of the refineries, to enable them attain up to 90 per cent capacity utilization.
His words: “We are not inviting foreign partners to take over the refineries; we do not have the funds. Even now that they are working, they are probably working to about 60 percent capacity. So, we need to upgrade these refineries and let them develop to the point where they can perform up to 90 per cent.
“Total investment for that is up to $700 million and we don’t have that. Let us be honest about it. So, the best thing to do is to find a very creative way to bring in investors, who will come in, work with our team here, who have the skills, reactivate and upgrade facilities in this place and help us provide technical support and we will pay through the flow-out of the refined products over time. Only Nigerians can fix their own refineries.”
Speaking on the re-commissioned crude line, he said it was done to restore the domestic crude feed-in to the refining complex.
The crude line, which is also known as Pig Station, supplies crude feed-in from Bonny Export Terminal, and has been out of use for the past seven years, thereby making the refinery redundant.
He disclosed that refining of crude oil at the PHRC had already commenced, noting that it was already producing about 5 million litres of premium motor spirit (petrol).
Dr Kachikwu explained that he had earlier done a similar thing at the Warri Refinery, disclosing that the three refineries in the country were now producing refined products, adding that the Kaduna Refinery was currently receiving crude, and would soon start production.
He said: “That will enable us to keep the refineries on. This is happening when we absolutely need help to clean out all the queues. I always believe in the capacity of our contractors to deliver on that to make the refineries work night and day. As we pumped out crude today, we are just looking at it happen.
“I apologise to Nigerians, who have suffered all this time because of product supply, especially those in the North who are bearing a big brunt of the fuel scarcity, particularly Abuja, Lagos and Kano, which are the key consumer cities.”
“But we are beginning to recognise that Lagos is easing off now and Abuja is doing the same thing. Once Kaduna begins to produce, the North will see a lot of improvement. Over and above that, we are putting long term policies in place to ensure that while smaller marketers go out and do their stuff, we can then be the key suppliers for the rest of the country.”
“There is a lot still to be done. I told you I would never give up. “Port Harcourt is back in production, Warri is back in production. Kaduna today is receiving and will soon be back in production. It is something of joy. These are problems we set out to correct and we are correcting them, one by one. I thank Nigerians for their patience and I urge them to remain resilient, support what we are doing because, this is the only way to change the system. We may see all kinds of publications, all kinds of attacks; I don’t focus on these, I focus on the results and the results are coming out.”