Kaduna Refinery and Petrochemical Company, which has the capacity to refine 110,000 barrels of crude oil a day, restarted production on Saturday after it was closed for months for repairs.
The managing director, Pipelines and Products marketing Company, Esther Nnamdi-Ogbue, said on Sunday that the plant, which was closed in September, came back on stream ahead of the December deadline for Nigeria’s four refineries to return to full production.
The group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Ibe Kachikwu, had issued a 90-day ultimatum to the managements of the four refineries shortly after his appointment last August.
Mrs. Nnamdi-Ogbue said the Kaduna plant, which is currently undergoing a test run of its production lines, is expected to commence trucking of petrol by the end of next week.
“Kaduna refinery came back on stream on Saturday as scheduled and is running,” the PPMC boss told PREMIUM TIMES on Sunday, via text message.
“PMS (Premium Motor spirit, also called petrol) should be available for trucking by the end of the week. The refinery is expected to produce an average of about 1.6 million litres of PMS daily once in full operation,” she said.
Prior to its closure in September, Kaduna refinery had stopped working for most part of the year, except briefly in July and August, when its utilisation capacity dropped to about 2.6 per cent and 10.5 per cent respectively, according the NNPC monthly operational report for October.
On Friday, Mrs. Nnamdi-Ogbue said resumption of production in other refineries would follow before the end of the year, first by the 210,000 bpd-capacity Port Harcourt refinery shut-down since October.
The 125,000 bpd-capacity Warri refinery, which was closed since September for repairs, would be the last to come back on stream, according to the resumption timeline expected to see all the refineries come back on before the end of the year.
The restart of production at the Kaduna refinery should be a cheering news for Nigerians, who have endured weeks of scarcity of petroleum products.
Part of the problem is because PPMC is currently saddled with the responsibility of importing and supplying 100 per cent of the average 40 million litres daily national fuel consumption capacity, as none of the major and independent oil marketers is involved in the fuel importation programme in the country at the moment.
Before now, the PPMC and the other oil marketers used to split the responsibility of importing fuel at the ratio of 52:48.
But, with the backlog of unpaid fuel subsidy and accumulated foreign exchange differential, the oil marketers had opted out of further importation, leaving it to the PPMC.