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Corruption frustrating functionality of refineries—BH Investigations

There are indications that massive selfish gains made by some officials in the process of importing petroleum products especially fuel, Kerosene and diesel within the hierarchy of the Nigerian national Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), have continued to be the stumbling blocks in the functionality of local refineries.

Currently, Kaduna refinery is dormant, while PH, Warri are just running below 30 per cent at a time the country is nearing yuletide.

This therefore casts doubts on the recent claims by the NNPC that it has stockpile of two billion litres that can serve the ember months.

Findings by Business Hilights Intelligence Unit have shown that top officials of the corporation are more interested in processing imports of products than seeing to the capacity upgrade of four local refineries.

The latest monthly oil and gas report released by the national oil firm showed that the cumulative capacity utilisation of the nation’s three refineries dropped further from 12.73 per cent in June to 11.94 per cent in July 2017.

On individual performance, the Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company remained dormant for the two consecutive months as it processed no crude oil in the period under review.

Other refineries, Port Harcourt Refining Company and Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company, also performed far below expectation.

Just as the WRPC moved up marginally in its performance, processing 1.87 per cent of crude oil in July, as against the zero output it recorded in June, the PHRC’s capacity utilisation dropped from 26.98 per cent in June to 24.18 per cent in July.

From available figures, no refinery was able to perform up to 30 per cent, as none of them could utilise up to half of the crude oil allocated to them in July this year, as had been the case in many other preceding months.

Otherwise, since this year, performance of the facilities with respect to the capacity utilisation dropped by 44.87 per cent. Analysis of their activities showed a decline in output from 20.09 per cent in May to 12.73 per cent in June.

The only month that saw better performance was January which recorded 36.73 per cent and since then, the four national refineries maintained decline to 13.46 per cent in March.

The corporation’s latest data showed that the total crude processed by the three refineries dropped from 231,836 metric tonnes in June to 224,584 MT in July, and there has been no formal report on the development to the Presidency who doubles as Minister of Petroleum.

However, the NNPC’s Group Managing Director, Maikanti Baru, had some months ago, told Nigerians that the corporation is planning a shutdown of the refineries to allow the corporation undertake rehabilitation in ways that were different from what had been done in the past.

The shutdown plan had been under the lock and keys of the cabal that rips off the country in processing imports of the products.

Analysts say a total shutdown that will enable realistic turnaround maintenance that will up performance to near capacity will be frustrated by the click, thus rubbishing the target of exiting petroleum products importation in 2019.

No official when contacted agreed to speak on the faceless individuals perpetuating the redundancy of the four refineries.