Nigeria has given licenses to 13 firms to establish modular refineries. A total of 35 firms expressed interest to establish the refineries, indicating less than half got the approvals from the department of petroleum resources.
This was disclosed by Maikanti Baru, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), according to a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES by the corporation.
Mr Baru reportedly made the announcement at the Offshore Technology Conference 2018 Nigeria Oil Industry Award Dinner in the United States, where he was the special guest of honour and received an award.
The establishment of modular refineries is one of the key policies of the Buhari administration to resolve agitation in the Niger Delta, where most of Nigeria’s crude is located. The government hopes to use the modular refineries to stop illegal refining of crude and also create employment and wealth among residents of the Niger Delta.
Mr Baru reaffirmed this when he told his audience that the corporation and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources were collaborating to encourage the establishment of modular refineries in the Niger Delta to encourage job creation.
He said the dream of transforming Nigeria from a net exporter of crude oil to a net exporter of petroleum products would in the months ahead transform into a reality. He expressed commitment to actualise the December 2019 target set by the federal government to end the importation of petroleum products into the country.
The 2019 target has often been repeated by the minister of state for petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, who has identified it as a permanent way to resolve the perennial fuel crisis.
The NNPC chief also spoke on efforts to refurbish Nigeria’s four existing refineries in Warri, Port Harcourt and Kaduna.
He said the ongoing arrangement with the original builders of the refineries to return them to at least 90 per cent capacity utilisation before the 2019 deadline is still intact. He said the process for companies interested in the rehabilitation of the refineries using a contractor-financing model had been completed and successful.
He said the companies for the different projects would be announced soon.
“This model is expected to be a self-sustaining financial model with near zero reliance on the federal government funds. For smooth running and implementation, we are also changing the operating and commercial framework of the refineries to make them work efficiently and be commercially viable,’’ he said.
Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer imports virtually all of its refined products often leading to corruption and scarcity of the refined products, especially petrol and kerosene.