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More revelations have emerged on why the four national refineries may not come fully back to life after all.
In an interview with a former general manager of the Port Harcourt Refinery and former President of African Refiners Association (ARA), Dr. Tony Ogbuigwe said the main challenge that caused the 10 year delay in the effecting the needed Turn Around maintenance (TAM) for 10 years was bureaucracy and the politics of approval for the maintenance which is supposed to be every two years.
He explained further that “Getting the needed approval for the Tam was always impossible and that landed our refineries to where they are today.”
Only recently, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) admitted that it had displayed inefficiency over the years in the management of the country’s four refineries, attributing the poor performance of the refineries to obsolete technology.
Corroborating the views of Ogbuigwe in Lagos at the West African International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (WAIPEC), the Managing Director of National Engineering and Technical Company (NETCO), a subsidiary of NNPC, Mr. Siky Aliyu, said when he started his NNPC career in the refineries over 30 years ago, the then group managing director of the corporation used to query the refineries for performing at 93 per cent capacity utilisation.
According to him, the situation had changed for the worst with the plants currently struggling to achieve only 50 per cent, which is far below the 93 per cent that had attracted queries in the past.
“We are grossly inefficient in managing the refineries. We have been struggling to do 50 per cent. I started my career in the refineries and when we are doing 93, 95, 96 per cent, I remember the GMD calling us to ask what is happening? What is really going on? Why are you doing 93 per cent? And you see people running helter – skelter. ….Now, we are doing 12 per cent, 15 per cent,” he said.