PENGASSAN Says Regular Crude Supply To Refineries Would Boost Sufficiency
Also reacting to the resolve of the Federal government to ensure local production of petroleum products, PENGASSAN canvassed the speedy passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) as well as encouragement of local entrepreneurs to build refineries and make Nigeria a major exporter of refined products.
Branch Chairman of PENGASSAN in the Port Harcourt refinery, Fidelis Ighodaye, told The Guardian that once the federal government can guarantee regular supply of crude oil to the Port Harcourt refinery and those at Warri and Kaduna respectively; the country could attain self sufficiency in no distant time.
“Once these three refineries are operational, we will have product sufficiency in Nigeria. What we need from federal government is constant and regular supply of crude oil, we are ready to operate at full blast and produce products for local consumption. If we operate non-stop for the next two years; we will only shut down for turn around maintenance, and resumeagain. We are ready to supply local fuel consumption if there is regular supply of crude,” he said.
The Port Harcourt refinery, which is currently producing at 60 percent of its installed capacity of 210,000 barrels of crude oil per day, is expected to be operating at 90 percent capacity and above by the first quarter of 2016 if the current rehabilitation is sustained and completed.
However, Igbodaye explained that though the initial essence of the Port Harcourt refinery was for exportation of refined products, the increase in domestic consumption of petroleum products warrants that emphasis should be placed on meeting domestic needs until government decides to expand the refinery and others across the country.
He said PENGASSAN and other Nigerians will support government to build more refineries to enable the country realize its ambition of emerging as one of the main petroleum products exporting countries in the world.
The PENGASSAN Branch Chairman noted that the building of more refineries will not only help to provide employment opportunities for Nigerians, but also guarantee sufficient products in the market.
Ighodaye blamed the non-passage of the PIB as the reason why most multinational oil companies that have refineries outside Nigeria are reluctant to invest in the sector adding that the federal government should create the right enabling environment by passing the PIB into law to encourage multinational oil companies to invest in the building of refineries in the country.
“it is not the question of the government pressurizing them, it is a question of the government providing the enabling environment, policies that will He enjoined the government to urgently formulate policies that would encourage indigenous companies with capacity to invest in building refineries across the country.