By Oladeinde Olawoyin
Plans by Nigerian government to fix Nigeria’s moribund refineries and make them work in utmost capacity will not materialise until 2020, Ibe Kachikwu, Nigeria’s oil minister has said.
Mr Kachikwu spoke in Lagos on Monday at the 18th edition of the International Biennial Health Safety and Environmental (HSE) Conference on the oil and gas industry in Nigeria organised by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).
Also, contrary to his earlier claim of 2019, Mr Kachikwu said Nigeria’s refinery capacity will reach expected 1.1 million barrels per day in 2020.
The minister said this will be achieved when Dangote Petrochemical refinery’s 650,000 bpd, Nigeria’s four refineries of 450,000bpd capacity and three modular refineries come on stream.
Last year, Mr Kachikwu had in an interview with BBC vowed to resign if Nigeria continues to import fuel by 2019. In the interview, which lasted 23 minutes, Mr. Kachikwu promised to deliver on the completion of the refineries, noting that he was committed to delivering a future for oil in Nigeria.
When specifically asked when the country was going to be self-sufficient in terms of refining petroleum, Mr. Kachikwu declared that 2019 had been set as the target.
“2019 is the target time… I target 2019 . If I don’ t achieve it, I will walk (resign)… I put the date and I will achieve it,” the minister had said.
But speaking in Lagos on Monday, the minister said Nigeria’s desire to achieve fuel sufficiency may not be realisable in 2019 but in 2020.
According to him, 10 out of over 20 private modular refineries of about 400,000 refining capacity have shown serious commitment, three of which he said may come on stream in 2019 while Dangote refinery is expected to come on stream in 2020.
He said, “I am very excited about the development as they tend to create fuel suffiency as well as employment opportunities. We are also working hard to see the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)’s four refineries coming up with 425,000 b/d in 2020.
“Hopefully, we will be having board meeting next week where we will take some soft landing decisions for the commercial investment on the refineries. In all, we are expecting about 1.1 million barrels refining capacity by 2020.”
Nigeria produces an average of 1.8 million barrels of oil daily, from which it generates resources to fix overheads, infrastructure and other government concerns. The nation however imports its products despite being one of the world’s top producer as its refineries have been moribund for years.
The NNPC has four major refineries, two in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, which combine to form the Port Harcourt Refining Company (PHRC) with a combined installed capacity of 210,000 barrels per stream day (bpsd); the Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company Limited (KRPC) with an installed capacity of 110,000 bpsd; and the Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company Limited (WRPC) with an installed capacity of 125,000 bpsd.
All the refineries have a combined installed capacity of 445,000 barrels per day.
In May, a PREMIUM TIMES’ check revealed that despite the huge resources expended on Turn Around Maintenance, none of Nigeria’s four refineries worked up to 50 per cent of their capacity at any time during 2017, according to official figures from the state oil firm, NNPC.