To this end, the corporation has awarded a contract worth about $50 million to Italy’s Maire Tecnimont to carry out checks and equipment inspections of Port Harcourt refinery.
The Port Harcourt refinery overhaul is supposed to be followed by the Warri and Kaduna refineries, according to a Reuters report. The Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu hinted recently that the federal government would raise $1.2 billion to upgrade the four refineries as it plans to end reliance on petrol imports this year.
Between 2013 and 2017, Nigeria spent $36.371billion on the importation of petroleum products, according to data from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Also, Kachikwu had in 2017, disclosed that Nigeria allocated an average of $28 billion of her foreign exchange earnings yearly to import about 92 percent of the petrol consumed locally.
Kachikwu had also put the country’s daily petrol consumption then, at 66 million liters.
However, a recent report from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that a whopping N2.289 trillion was expended in 2018 alone on the importation of refined petrol.
According to the report, a total of N802.4 billion worth of petrol was imported in the first quarter of the year, N744.28 billion in the second quarter and N742.82 billion in the third quarter of 2018.
Nigeria’s four refineries located in Port Harcourt (two), Warri and Kaduna, with a combined installed capacity to refine 445,000 barrels of crude per day, have been comatose because top oil industry officials divert huge funds earmarked for their routine comprehensive turnaround maintenance (TAM).
Apparently, contrary to repeated claims by the NNPC that the refineries undergo routine Turn Around Maintenance (TAM), the four refineries have not undergone comprehensive repairs in the last 18 years or more as contracts awarded by successive governments were either abandoned halfway or not executed at all.
The NNPC confirmed this when it hinted last Thursday, March 21st, 2019, that the planned overhaul of the 210,000 barrels per day (bpd) Port Harcourt refinery would be the first since the last revamp was carried out 19 years ago.
According to the corporation, Nigeria’s effort to ensure local sufficiency in refined petroleum products would be bolstered by the first phase of the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt Refinery complex.
The corporation has been in talks with different consortiums to revamp its dilapidated refineries and has considered paying for the work via offtake of refined products rather than cash.
NNPC said it would use its own cash to pay for the work and then raise debt. The Port Harcourt overhaul would be followed by the Warri refinery, which is also in the Niger Delta, and the refinery at Kaduna in the northwest of the country.
At the end of the first phase, the Port Harcourt refinery should reach 60 percent capacity utilization, increasing to a minimum of 90 percent, NNPC said, adding that Italy’s Eni would act as an adviser.
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