What to do with Nigeria’s inefficient and under-performing petroleum refineries is still a cause for concern.
On Sunday, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said that it had concluded arrangements to secure the services of external licensors to undertake what it termed process audits on its four refineries in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna.
The development raises further posers on the integrity of various claims made by past and present managements of the prostrate oil behemoth which have not seen any real progress made to return the refineries to higher levels of profitability and efficiency.
The administration of Maikanti Baru, the present Group Managing Director, however, said on Sunday that it was hopeful that the capacity utilization of the refineries would increase to 60 percent by year end 2017. The claim was made in a statement issued by the Group General Manager, Public Affairs of the corporation, Ndu Ughamadu.
It said, “We are putting together various programmes to ensure that we achieve at least 60 per cent local refining by the end of this year. It is the procedure or methodology that we are changing a little bit, we are focusing on the process licensors to come and audit our processes and they have already started auditing most of our process units in the various refineries.”
The statement added, “We hope if we do all these systematically, we should be able to get about 60 per cent level of capacity utilisation by the end of this year or at worst by the first quarter of 2018 and get to 80 per cent by the end of 2018 so that we could locally be able to supply half of our PMS requirements.
“Also, with other efforts in terms of other refineries coming in place, we should be able to quit importation in a few years.”
The operations of NNPC over the years have drawn virulent criticisms for lack of transparency and abuse. A recent report by Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) revealed that the organization is still enmeshed in withholding remittances accruable to the federation account.
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