…says NNPCL accountable for refineries rehabilitation
Heineken Lokpobiri, minister of state for Petroleum Resources (Oil) has identified inadequate crude feedstock as a major threat to the operations of refineries in Nigeria, including Dangote and other modular refineries.
According to Lokpobiri, there was need for crude oil producers to boost domestic production to support the refineries, adding that increasing production is crucial to resolving the country’s fuel crisis.
Lokpobiri disclosed this while responding to the questions asked by the State House Correspondents at the end of the three-day retreat at the Presidential Villa.
“We have a lot of modular refineries that we have given licenses, but the challenge has been the feedstock. Even if you have a modular refinery, do you have the crude to be able to refine it?
“I have also said I don’t want to give people licenses and they use it as souvenirs; if you are given a license, you must use it within the terms or else I will cancel it.
“That’s why I said unless we produce sufficient quantities, even if the refineries are rehabilitated, there will be no feedstock. So, my challenge is to ramp up production to see how we can feed not only the big refineries but also the modular ones. These are the real employers of labour and they will do the magic,”
“If we don’t, the midstream and downstream will also fail. We must produce the crude to refine before distribution. But our problem right now which we inherited is the low level of production which was as a result of insecurity issues, lack of investments and all other concerns.
“But we are addressing all those issues and I believe that in the next few months, we will be able to come up with a different report. But we have addressed the issue of insecurity, we have rekindled the confidence of international oil companies to come back and begin to reinvest.
Speaking on efforts of the government to rehabilitate the nation’s refineries, the minister said that phase 1 of the Port Harcourt refinery is expected to be concluded by the end of this year.
He said, “the rehabilitation of the refineries, if you remember, was started by the previous administration and as part of the President’s directive. I have gone around all the refineries and from what they have briefed me, Port Harcourt has three phases.
“So Phase 1 will be ready by the end of this year. I am not the one who is directly in charge of rehabilitation; it is the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) and they have told me and I am holding them accountable.
“For Warri refinery, they said Phase 1 will be ready by the end of the year. Phases 2 and 3 in Port Harcourt will be ready next year, and the whole Kaduna refinery will be ready by the end of next year.
“That is what they said, and I am holding them accountable for their own words. I believe that those refineries, if we are able to achieve some level of rehabilitation by the end of this year, will also improve our domestic refining capacity.