At the end of the three-day Cabinet Retreat which held at the State House Conference Center, Abuja, State house correspondents quizzed the nation’s Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Heineken Lokpobiri on the State of the nation’ s refineries which have been said to be undergoing renovation.
Responding to their querries, the Minister said that the responsibility for the timely renovation of state-owned refineries squarely falls on the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited as he outlined the essential role of NNPCL in overhauling three significant refineries, a project pivotal for curtailing fuel scarcity and shifting reliance on natural gas.
According to him, despite investing $25bn on fixing the refineries in the past 10 years, the facilities still function below 30 per cent of their potential output according to a report by the 9th National Assembly which called for a forensic audit of these efforts and recommended rehabilitating the Warri and Port Harcourt refineries as well as the recommended audits on the Kaduna refinery.
The Minister disclosed that an ad-hoc committee had been set up in the Senate chamber to investigate the NNPCL over the N11.35 trillion spent on the turnaround maintenance of the refineries and that the committee was meant to interrogate the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, NNPCL, the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, and the Bureau of Public Enterprises on the best approach to commercialise and ensure the profitability of the state-owned refineries.
Lokpobiri said, “Yes, 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 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.”
The Minister elaborated on his oversight approach, disclosing his practice of unscheduled site visits to monitor progress without prior announcement as he stressed the significance of achieving a degree of rehabilitation by year-end to boost domestic refining capabilities.
He also touched upon the influx of the Dangote refinery and the numerous modular refineries that have been issued licenses while pinpointing a critical bottleneck — the availability of crude as feedstock for these facilities.See Dollar(USD) to Naira Black Market Exchange Rate Today!