Two of Nigeria’s four refineries will restart production in the next two weeks, the minister of state for petroleum resources, Ibe Kachikwu, has said.
Although the minister did not disclose the two refineries, this would be something to cheer by Nigerians, who have been facing a raw deal in recent times getting steady supply of petrol.
With all the refineries operating at fits and start for a long time, Mr. Kachikwu, on assumption of office as the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, had set December 2015 deadline for the four refineries at Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna to become fully functional to guarantee uninterrupted fuel supply in the country.
Although the NNPC monthly operations report showed that all the four refineries had a combined capacity utilization rate of only 1.96 per cent in September, the situation worsened in October, as the report for the month showed that none of the refineries was producing fuel.
Speaking to some members of the National Assembly on Wednesday in Abuja, the minister expressed confidence that two of the refineries would be re-streamed for production before the end of the month.
“Available reports before me indicate that two of the refineries may be re-streamed before the end of December, 2015,” Mr. Kachikwu said.
To ensure that a permanent solution was found to the perennial fuel scarcity problem the country has been facing, Mr. Kachikwu said efforts were on to engage private investors to build new refineries.
The new refineries would be located within the premises of the existing ones to enable benefit from the economy of scale, by sharing some operational facilities, such as power, pipelines and other resources.
The minister, who made a presentation on ‘The Roadmap for Nigeria’s Oil and Gas Sector,’ said the average national oil production capacity as at July 2015 stood at about 2.1 million barrels per day, with the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) equity production at about 99,000 bpd.