By Yetunde Bada/Edith Ike-Eboh
The Nigeria National Petroleum Company (NNPC) said evacuation of products, turn around maintenance, insecurity were among the major factors affecting the nation’s refineries from operating optimally.
Dr Rabiu Bello, the NNPC Chief Operating Officer Upstream, made this known while speaking during a question-and-answer session at the 2018 Oloibiri Lecture Series and Energy Forum organised by the Society of Engineers.
He admitted that the nation’s refineries in Warri, Kaduna and Port Harcourt were not performing optimally but expressed hope that it would be a thing of the past soon.
According to him, once the Dangote Refinery comes on stream and the refineries work at capacity, Nigeria could become an enviable exporter of refined products.
He said: “Are the refineries’ working optimally, the answer is no. There a few reasons hindering their optimal performance.
“One is the issue of security. Even if one refinery is working perfectly and there is unrest in the region, the products cannot go in or out.
“There was a period one did not work for 28 months but thank God we’ve gone past that.
“Second is the issue of investments and turn around maintenance. We are having series of talks with our investors and we are at the stage of discussing terms.
“We are not looking for government money but people’s monies are in there. We want to operate optimally but with efficient partnerships’’.
He said it was a thing of shame that Nigeria, as the largest producer of crude in Africa and 13th largest in the World, was the largest importer of petrol and the only OPEC country that imports refined products.
“This costs so much money. It is shameful that we produce and ship out.
“It takes 14 days to ship in refined petroleum products from Europe and about 17 days in all to get that product to Maiduguri.
“If the refineries were working perfectly, the products would get to as far as Maiduguri in under 24 hours,’’ Bello said.
The Executive Secretary of the Petroleum Technology Development Fund, Mr Aliyu Gusau, said what had emerged from all discussions at the lecture was that the world was embracing renewable energy.
“The question is are we ready? Whether we are prepared or not, the journey has commenced. We need to move away from digging oil from the ground and exporting to developing human resources.
“Are we ready to develop this capacity? That is why we give kudos to the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari for placing emphasis on these things,’’ he said.
Also speaking, the Principal, Petroleum Training Institute, Prof. Sunny Iyuke, , called on stakeholders in the industry to support the industry to look the way of renewable energy.
The 2018 Lecture had the theme: “The Nigerian Oil Industry In a World of Changing Energy Supply: Are we Prepared?’’(NAN)