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Eni NNPC deal

FG makes first serious move to fix P/Harcourt refinery, seals repair deal with ENI

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After failed but veiled moves to sale off Port Harcourt refinery, the federal government has started serious moves to fix the national asset.

This was Tuesday demonstrated in far away Italy when a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Italian oil giant ENI, and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was signed in Rome with ENI committing to the refurbishment of the Port Harcourt Refinery.

Another striking addition to the deal was the agreement to build Phase 2 of Okpai Power Plant and to further invest in Nigeria’s Oil and Gas industry.

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, who witnessed the signing of the MoU urged International Oil Companies (IOCs) to invest in building refineries in Nigeria.

Experts say the key challenge in the nation’s petroleum products was the inability of government-owned refineries not to function optimally even as militants in the oil producing Niger Delta region continue to destroying facilities.

The Minister who is yet to return from Rome,  is slated to meet‎ the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Economic Development of Italy today (Wednesday) to formalise the cooperation between Oil Majors and Nigeria. Before his return, Kachikwu will meet with 10 other IOCs to further expand the partners of investments in Nigeria’s Oil and Gas sector.

Kachikwu had earlier Tuesday made presentation to top Executives of ENI, urging the group to move beyond just the business of crude exploration to firmly supporting the vision of enhancing local production of petroleum products in Nigeria through the building refineries.

In a statement issued by the Director of Press in the ministry, the Minister was quoted as revealing that the major plan of the Federal Government was to stop importation of petroleum products in the long term.

Kachikwu recalled that the refineries were built in the 1970s and 1980s and were currently working at sub-optimal levels and hence could not cater to local needs.

Continuing, he said Nigeria was dependent on product importation but the ‎present administration had promised to correct this anomaly by upgrading old refineries and building new ones.

To him, “This will increase local production capacity with an objective to reduce importation of petroleum products by 60 per cent in 2018, and by 2019 become a net exporter of petroleum products and value added petrochemicals”.


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