– The Sun News
NNPC

$1.8bn refinery overhaul projects to begins in Q2

… FG pledges support for Kaztec

Phillip NwosuAdewale Sanyaolu

Despite the National Assembly’s rejection of a planned $1.8 billion Turn Around Maintenance of the nation’s four refineries located in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) yesterday revealed it would still go ahead with the project in second quarter of 2018.

NNPC’s Chief Operating Officer, Refineries and Petrochemicals, Anibor Kragha, while addressing delegates at the African Refiners Association Conference in Cape Town, South Africa, said NNPC was in the final stages of talks with consortiums including top traders, energy majors and oil servicing companies to revamp its long-neglected oil refineries in an effort to reduce the nation’s reliance on imported fuel.

“We believe that by the second quarter of this year, we will start setting the ball rolling on the refurbishment and rehabilitation exercise and we believe this will run to the end of next year.

We are working with consortia right now, negotiating terms, trying to finalise the time sheets so that we can access the money through the end of 2019 when we believe we will have the minimum 90 percent capacity utilisation in place,” he said.

It would be recalled that the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on Petroleum Downstream had in February put on hold the move by NNPC to spend about $1.8 billion on TAM for the refineries.

The House had subsequently set up the ad-hoc committee to carry out a comprehensive investigation of the state of the refineries to ascertain their actual maintenance cost. It was however not certain whether the ad hoc committee’s assignment has been concluded before yesterday’s announcement of its intention to proceed with the planned execution of the TAM.

NNPC has four oil refineries with a total capacity of 445,000 barrels per day (bpd), but struggles to meet domestic gasoline demand run anywhere near that level due to years of neglect. According to NNPC reports, the highest capacity utilisation last year was just under 37 percent, which fell to as low as 5.92 percent in November.

The government plans to give Nigeria’s refineries until 2021 to meet lower sulphur fuel requirements that will start phasing in this year for imports

Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu,  has harped on the need to support investors in the oil and gas industry to enable them establish and create jobs for Nigerian youths.

The Minister who spoke during a visit to the Snake Island where he inspected the Kaztec Engineering fabrication and production platforms, said that there was need for government to support investors in the oil and gas sector to create jobs.

He commended the firm for the project and explained that  with the coming of the facility, more  youths would be engaged meaningfully as the project will bring a lot of development to the community where it is established when fully operational.

Chairman of the Kaztec Engineering Limited,  Sir Emeka Offor said:  “A development of this magnitude requires considerable training in the skills that will be required, and we are working closely with the Skill Acquisition Centers of Lagos State, Bayelsa State and Anambra State to ensure trainees are qualified and certified to international oil and gas standards.

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