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Local production: FG begins overhaul of refineries to meet target

The  Federal Government on Thursday said it had begun the overhauling of its refineries commencing with the Port Harcourt Refinery to achieve its 2023 target of ensuring that local refineries operate optimally.

The Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mr Mele Kyari, disclosed this while speaking on ‘Harnessing oil and gas potential for national development.’

He spoke at the Annual Conference of the Association of Energy Correspondents of Nigeria (NAEC) in Lagos.

Kyari said that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) had given itself a three-year deadline to review the operations of its refineries, support condensate plants and open up the midstream sector.

He said that Nigeria had remained a net- importer of petroleum product.

He said this was due to the current state of its refineries and the long absence of private investment in the refining sector.

“Thus, we require more investment to revamp and expand our domestic refineries and associated infrastructure to support the growth of the downstream sector and guarantee energy security to the nation.

“In this respect, NNPC under my purview will leave no stone unturned to ensure our 445,000-barrel per day refineries in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna work to an appreciable level or capacity.

“We are progressing with the establishment of condensate refineries to fast-track domestic supply of petroleum products.

“In the same vein, the corporation will support the actualisation of the 650Kbbl/day Dangote Refinery, as well as other private initiatives along this line.

“Our plan is for Nigeria to become a net exporter of petroleum products by 2023,” he added.

Kyari, however, emphasised the need for an enabling environment to attract the right investment which he said was being subdued by the nation’s fiscal regime.

According to him, the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) must run its full cycle under this 9th National Assembly, implying that there is absolute need to fast track its enactment processes.

“Related to this is the fact that we need to build on the security of the nation’s Industry assets across the country.

“As stakeholders in the commonwealth, we must ensure that we keep away miscreants from our pipelines to pave the way for efficient operations in the sector,” he added.

On his part, Mr Paul McGrath,the Chairman of Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS) and Managing Director of ExxonMobil Nigeria, expressed concerns about the cost of doing business in the country.

He added that the cost of maintaining security around their operations was becoming higher.

McGrath urged government and operators to explore modalities and mechanisms for cost reduction.

He also advocated the need for stable and competitive fiscal policies as well as a healthy-contract-integrity culture.