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House to Support NNPC Make Refineries Functional – Hon. Gaya

The House of Representatives Committee Chairman on Petroleum (Downstream), Hon. Abdullahi Mahmud Gaya has revealed that his committee has been mandated to interface with the management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC in respect of the redundant refineries in Port Harcourt, Kaduna and Warri, to know what their challenges really are, and what needs to be done to resurrect them.

Hon. Gaya, representing Gaya/Ajingi/Albasu Federal Constituency of Kano State in the lower chamber, said in an interview recently that “I need to stress here that Mr. Speaker is very much interested in how to make the refineries work again. And that is the same spirit that is driving our committee, hence our decision to undertake the recent trips…”.

According to him, “We have also been to the Port Harcourt refinery. The situation is virtually the same. We saw refineries that have decayed. At this point, they no longer require maintenance. Rather, I believe, the refineries need to be revamped, a total rehabilitation. A holistic work needs to be done”.

He pointed out further that how this could be achieved, would be determined in the course of the committee’s interface with all the refineries “and then we will compare notes with critical stakeholders and eventually, we will find a solution. Like I said, the House leadership is really desirous of seeing these refineries come back to life.”

The refineries do not need any turn around again, the Chairman stressed, noting that “since 2004, they have not done any maintenance of the refineries. Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) is like doing a general check on aircraft, and as it is now, we have passed that stage. What we need now is a total rehabilitation. We are worried that despite government’s investments, the three refineries have been abandoned.

NNPC GMD, Mallam Mele Kyari and the legislators during a tour of facilities in Lagos recently

“You can imagine the job opportunities that will be created when the refineries are back to life. You can imagine the multiplier effect on the economy. Today, we are still importing refined products, and that is capital flight. That is why we must all work assiduously to ensure that the three refineries are revived.

The committee has not visited the Kaduna refinery yet. “We will soon go there. In the end, we would have been properly briefed on the challenges or peculiarities with those refineries. But you can rest assured we will not sleep until the refineries are made to work again.

“For us, it is better to borrow and fix the refineries and get them to work, and the moment the refineries begin the work again, the loan can be paid back. So, we are on the stage of fact-finding. What we have seen and heard already is mind-blowing. We will see more and hear more. We will continue to ask appropriate questions and we will expect honest answers from the people involved. At the end of everything, we will turn in our report and we will know how to move on from there.”

“By the time we are through, if we are not satisfied with our findings, we may have to get back on a second round of visits until we are able to get to the roots of the matter. Nigerians should be reminded that this present government detests wastages and acts of graft, no matter who is involved.

Valuechain recalls that earlier at a separate platform, Mallam Mele Kyari, the Group Managing Director of NNPC, had lamented that it is a shame that Nigeria remained a net importer of petroleum products.

Kyari said this at the opening of the 2019 annual conference and exhibition organised by the Society of Petroleum Engineers last year in Lagos.

He, however, promised to fix the country’s refining challenges.

According to NNPC boss, NNPC is challenged by the reality of its environment as the refineries are not operating optimally.

“Today, we are net importer of petroleum products which is a very big shame for us as a nation.

“And as for professionals, we can give any excuses, but today it’s a shame that this country is net importer of petroleum, but we are going to change that.

“NNPC is going to get its house together to fix the refineries. We want to make the refineries functional with at least 90 per cent capacity.

Kyari vowed to reverse the trend of petroleum products importation in the country by rehabilitating the existing refineries and encouraging private sector investment in the sub-sector.

“We must end the trend of fuel importation as an oil-producing country. We will deliver on the rehabilitation of the four refineries within the life of this administration and support the private sector to build refineries.

Kyari also said he would galvanise the corporation to achieve the target by 2023.

“This time we are determined, we will work together with stakeholders so that we will deliver on the mandate.

“We must all work together as stakeholders in the oil and gas industry to bring up the appropriate legislation on the table”, Kyari urged.