Barely one week after President Muhammadu Buahri expressed shame over the failure of the government to fix and run the four national refineries, the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachukwu, has given a hint that government is still searching for credible private investors willing to pull together about $2bn to effectively fix the national refineries.
In a recent media briefing, Kachukwu noted that “I believe that the refineries can be fixed, we came up with a model to find private sector funding into these refineries that’s being done, we expect that before the end of this year, we will at least get to the final contracting stage in terms of announcing those who are going to take this up, it takes about six months to do this and do it thoroughly but that requires raising close to N2 billion from private sector participants to get this done.
“A lot is being done on refining that is because we have focused on it too much to the point where I have put my credibility on the line and that’s fine and we have said it is important that we stop importing petroleum products there is just no justification for it.
“We have encouraged private sector, Dangote is working very hard, I have told the officials of Dangote that as opposed to the 2020 completion period they are looking at they should assist us by trying to deliver this in 2019 hopefully.
“For our own refineries, if we complete the procurement processes by the end of this year, they would begin their 12-18 months resuscitation or turn around maintenance (TAM).
“If they do that hopefully towards the end of 2019 we should have the three refineries being able to produce for the first time in decades within 425,000 barrels per day name-plate capacity, we are also looking at the AGIP refineries, we are also looking at the Petrolex Refinery that myself and the Vice President went yesterday (Tuesday) to commission, we have commissioned their storage facilities, they have been granted approvals through us for an elevation of their refining plan from 150,000 barrels a day to 250,000 barrels a day. Given the history they have had in the success of building their storage and maritime facilities I believe they can meet up.
“You take the smaller modular refineries where close to nine are getting closer to the point of investment decision you see that wholistically we are addressing the refining thing, if we do that we are looking at refining capability of less than a hundred thousand barrels in real terms in fact less than fifty thousand barrels in real terms to refining capability of 1.2million barrels per day, so we will be refining in excess of what our current share in JV crude production is, the reality is this is something that has been there for long and we are addressing it frontally.” Minister of State for Petroleum averred.