…As DPR denies claim of withdrawal of licences
By Adewale Sanyaolu
From 445,000 refining capacity from the four Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) refineries
located in Warri, Kaduna and two in Port Harcourt, Nigeria is set to increase its refining capacity
to 1,429,000 barrels per day.
The increase in refining capacity is to be achieved from the licensing of 25 private refineries by the Department of Petroleum Resource (DPR).
But, contrary to claims that the DPR had withdrawn the licences of some private refineries, the regulator, in a statement made available to Daily Sun at the weekend, explained it never withdrew
refinery licences hitherto issued to operators.
Rather than withdraw licenses, the department maintained that it was in alignment with government’s
aspiration of improving Nigeria’s refining capacity by strengthening its regulatory oversight function of the petroleum sector in Nigeria.
DPR explained that there are three stages of licencing for establishment of private refineries in Nigeria namely; Licence to Establish (LTE), Approval to Construct (ATC) and Licence to Operate (LTO)
The regulator noted that DPR granted LTE to 21 companies with a validity period of 18 months in 2002. But, in 2004, DPR said 17 out of the earlier granted LTE were granted ATC for a 24-month validity period
Again, DPR stated that in 2007,it reviewed the existing guidelines and a new guiding document, “Guidelines for the Establishment of Hydrocarbon Processing Plants in Nigeria” was introduced
to ensure that only committed investors were licenced.