The minister of state for petroleum resources and group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr Ibe Kachikwu has disclosed that the Port Harcourt Refining Company now produces five million litres of petrol while the Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company also produces two million litres of petrol per day.
The minister made this statement while re-commissioning the Bonny-Port Harcourt Refinery crude pipeline that has just been rehabilitated after it was out of use for so many years due to incessant pipeline vandalisation, as part of efforts to find lasting solutions to the perennial fuel scarcity.
This is as the Kaduna zonal office of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) at the weekend dispensed over 13,000 litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol, free of charge to motorists as punishment to fuel stations for hoarding the product and selling at odd hours above the regulated pump price of N86.50k,
According to a statement yesterday by the NNPC’s spokesman, Garba Deen Mohammad, Kachikwu stated that the Kaduna refining company is also scheduled to start production any moment from now, adding that the coming on stream of the three refineries would go a long way to ensure sufficient supply and distribution of petrol across the country.
He stated that the NNPC under his watch had been able to recover the two critical crude supply pipelines, the Escravos to Warri and Bonny to Port Harcourt crude supply pipelines, which are critical to the downstream sector of the industry.
“Port Harcourt is back in production, Warri is back in production, Kaduna as at today is receiving crude and will soon be back in production. Lagos is easing off now from fuel scarcity and Abuja is doing the same thing, and once Kaduna begins production, the North will see a lot of improvement,” Kachikwu said.
According to the minister, this is the first time in many years that the three refineries are going to be working which will help a great deal with the issue of fuel supply and distribution across the country.
He added that the commercial governance model system was being introduced into the refineries so as to keep them in business and to enable them compete favourably in the hydrocarbon value-chain.
“What we have done is to find a very creative way of bringing investors who will come in, work with our team here who have the skills, reactivate and upgrade facilities in these refineries’’, the minister disclosed.
“The investors will also help to provide technical support and they will be paid through the flow-out of refined products over a period of time; which is why we have also changed the refining model such that refineries pay for their crude; so it goes into the federation account.”
Hoarding: DPR officials dispense 13,000 litres of petrol free to customers
Meanwhile, the Kaduna zonal office of the DPR at the weekend dispensed over 13,000 litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS, also known as petrol, free of charge to motorists to punish the affected fuel stations for engaging in hoarding the product and selling at odd hours above the regulated pump price of N86.50k,
DPR’s Zonal Controller, Alhaji Sayyadi Suleiman, who supervised the exercise, told newsmen who were on their entourage that Sassada Filing Station located along the Nnamdi Azikiwe Western Byepass at the outskirt of the metropolis was caught hoarding over 13, 000 litres and, as such, the agency wielded its sledge hammer on the fuel station.
The Zonal Controller explained that Sassada filing station was among five filing stations earmarked for such action by the agency, even as he warned other oil marketers to desist from what would further compound the scarcity of the product in the zone.
Suleiman warned that any oil marketer found hoarding the product or selling above the regulated pump price of N86.50k would have their products dispensed free to the public as a first offender and thereafter sanctioned accordingly.
He said if the hoarding continued, the agency would have no choice but to suspend such marketer for the period of three months, adding that “the DPR will finally clamp down on an errant marketer who is a serial offender by revoking his operational license.”
Speaking further, he said, “The misgivings going round that we are trying to hand over refineries is not true. The president was very clear from day one, that at this point in time he was not ready for that, so that is not the model we are pursuing now.
“We are not inviting foreign partners to take over the refineries. We do not have the funds. Even now that they are working, they are probably working at about 60 per cent or below capacity, so you need to upgrade these refineries and get them to a level where they will operate at 90 per cent capacity or more. It requires money and total investment in excess of about $700 million and we don’t have it.’’
He explained that even if the refineries were working at full capacity, the country would still import petroleum products to augment the supply, adding that by 2019 when the co-location refineries become operational, the country would stop the importation of petroleum products and become a net exporter.
He reassured Nigerians that he remains focused at finding solutions to the many problems confronting the petroleum sector, saying that gradually the problems were being solved through innovative ways.
While calling on Nigerians to help protect pipelines across their communities, he stressed that the federal government cannot do it alone without the cooperation of citizens, even as he commended the security agencies for their efforts at safeguarding the pipelines.
N1.8bn Oil Blocks Sale: We misrepresented NNPC’s position, NEITI admits
The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has clarified issues relating to the divestment of eight oil blocks by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to its upstream subsidiary, the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), in 2011, admitting that it quoted the NNPC out of context.
NEITI had, in a statement issued at the weekend, quoted the NNPC’s group executive director, Finance and Accounts, Ishiaka Adbulrazak, as saying that the NNPC had acknowledged that the transaction leading to the asset divestment was not transparent and required investigation.
According to NEITI, Abdulrazak supposedly made the disclosure while speaking at a meeting between the chairman of the board of NEITI, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, and the NEITI management led by the executive secretary, Waziri Adio, in Abuja.
It said: “On the divestment of oil wells by the NNPC to NPDC at the cost of $1.8 billion for which only $100 million has so far been paid, the GED agreed with NEITI’s position that the transaction was not transparent and requires comprehensive independent investigation.”
‘’We in the new management team of NNPC have reviewed that transaction and totally agree with NEITI that the transaction was not transparent and should be investigated,” Adbulrazak was quoted by NEITI as saying in the statement.
However, admitting that it quoted the NNPC out of context in a statement yesterday, the agency in a statement by its director, communications, Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, said: “NEITI wishes to clarify its earlier statement that the group executive director, Finance, of NNPC, Mr. Isiaka Abdulrazaq, had claimed at a recent meeting with NEITI that the assignment of eight oil blocks by NNPC to one of its subsidiaries, the NPDC, was not transparent and would be investigated.
“NEITI wishes to state categorically that Mr. Abdulrazaq did not say that the transaction was not transparent; neither did he say the new NNPC management would investigate the transaction… An internal review by NEITI has confirmed that Mr. Abdulrazaq was quoted out of context and was misrepresented in our earlier statement.”
While lamenting the error, NEITI said the mix up was occasioned by a discussion about the full payment of the consideration for the divestment and some reconciliation issues flagged in the finalised 2013 NEITI audits.
LEADERSHIP recalls that the divestment of the eight blocks to NPDC was highlighted in the 2012 independent NEITI audit report. The report disclosed that the oil blocks were divested by the NNPC to NPDC during the period covered by its 2012 audit at the cost of $1.8 billion; of this amount, only $100 million was paid.
“I never said what was quoted in NEITI’s press statement, the NNPC values its relationship with NEITI and whilst there are areas where we may professionally disagree as agencies, unbridled and misleading press releases do nothing other than fan the flames of media sensationalism at the expense of the credible work that NEITI as an agency is normally associated with,” NEITI further quoted Abdulrazak as saying.
Meanwhile, the statement clarified that the NNPC had, during the meeting, actually stated that the decision to assign the oil blocks was consistent with the desire of the Corporation to build the capacity of its subsidiary, the NPDC, to compete favourably in the oil and gas industry as a flagship exploration and production national company, adding that although the investment decision was made years before the new NNPC team came on board, it was made in accordance with the powers vested in the office of the minister of petroleum resources.