Or better put, out of all the countries toured by both President Muhammadu Buhari and NNPC GMD, Mele Kyari, which one is the real investors coming to revive Nigeria’s refineries from?
Analysts say this question has become pertinent considering the back and forth of contacted investors and financier-contractors’ all for the four near-dead national refineries including two in Port Harcourt, one in Warri and another one in Kaduna.
Before the latest news on the coming of Saudi Arabia’s Aramco, just few days ago, Nigerians were told that during the recent Africa-Russia Summit, there were deals with Lukoil, a Russian oil giant to come and bring back life to the national assets.
This is coming after initial efforts to convince National Assembly to approve $1.8bn for their turnaround maintenance failed.
Only this week, Nigerians were once again told that the nation’s comatose refineries may soon be breathing again, if a planned intervention of Saudi Arabia, the world’s number one oil producer finally works out.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari, who is currently visiting the oil-rich country, is said to have extracted a commitment from one of its major oil companies, Aramco, and Public Investment Fund (PIF) to explore areas of collaboration for investments in Nigeria, including partnership with the NNPC to revive the nation’s refineries.
This fresh angle to the sick refineries was conveyed on Wednesday, in a statement by presidential spokesman, Garuba Shehu, who quoted the President as saying at a meeting with the Chairman of Aramco and Governor of PIF, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, on the margins of the Future Investment Initiative (FII), that Nigeria had a lot to learn from the expertise and professionalism of one of the world’s leading energy company.
Buhari, while speaking on the need to improve the efficiency of the oil and gas industry in Nigeria, was also quoted to have that Nigeria’s energy company would soon embark on a diagnostic assessment of refineries, pipelines, depots and other infrastructure across the country to ascertain the level of collaboration with the Aramco.
‘‘Nigerian officials are ready to collaborate with you, they will identify their priorities and invite you for a meeting in the country so that you can go round to inspect the refineries and other oil facilities,’’ the President told Aramaco’s chairman.
Nigerians were made to believe that Al-Rumayyan in his response, affirmed the company’s position to promote business investment opportunities through technology across the energy sector, noting its interest in Nigeria’s energy sector.
Accordingly, the statement added that the President instructed the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo and the Group Managing Director (GMD), NNPC, Mele Kolo Kyari to work with the Saudis and expedite the modalities for investments and collaborations in Nigeria’s oil and gas sectors.
Only recently, the Minister of State, Chief Timipre Sylva told Nigerians that Port Harcourt and Kaduna Refineries are being repaired and would start production by next year while work will begin on others. Another question if the Minister is correct is that why then still looking for repairers?
Observers, who are now worried on the inconsistency of repair arrangements for the refineries now wish to know the exact firm or country that will do the job because a goat being fed by many die of hunger at last.
Business Hilights recalls that on his swearing in as new GMD of NNPC, Kyari pledged that by 2023, all national refineries shall be producing at capacity to the extend, Nigeria will be exporting refined products.