NNPC faults report on Kaduna refinery

NNPC GMD, Ibe Kachukwu

NNPC GMD, Ibe Kachukwu

BARELY one week after The Guardian carried a report on the state of the Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company (KRPC) as presented by oil and gas expert, Emmanuel Egbogah, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporate (NNPC) has described it as “inaccurate and misleading.”

Egboga had, in an exclusive interview with The Guardian, advocated the scrapping of the Kaduna refinery and the building of a new one because it was “analogue” and can only effectively refine imported crude, specifically the Venezuelan oil. Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Ibe Kachikwu, in a text message to The Guardian, also said he was expecting the Kaduna refinery to stream into production as “its FCC unit was presumed to be in better state than others despite its ageing state. Kaduna also has the unique disadvantage of not being automated; so, more complexities compelling probably an unavoidable shutdown to repair and modernise.”

But a statement issued yesterday by the Corporation’s Group General Manager Group Public Affairs Division, Ohi Alegbe, decried the “recent report, which claimed that one of its subsidiaries, the Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company (KRPC) would not meet expected parameters of operation should it depend on feedstock from NNPC,” describing it as untrue.

According to the statement, “the Corporation noted that the story, which was published in The Guardian of Monday 26th October 2015 was attributed to a former Presidential Adviser on Petroleum went on to make many other spurious and misleading claims portraying the refinery as obsolete and scrappy.

“Coming from a man who should know better, we were first inclined to believe that he was misquoted. However, since he has not come out to deny the story, we find it necessary to put the facts straight in order to save the unsuspecting public from being misled,’’ NNPC stated.

“The Corporation informed that the Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company Limited (KRPC) was commissioned in 1980 with a nameplate capacity of 100,000 Barrels per Stream Day (BPSD). The Refinery was designed to process two different crude oil types, namely: Nigerian crude oil and Foreign crude oil which is paraffinic in nature at a capacity of 50,000 (BPSD) each.

“In 1986, the indigenous crude oil process capacity was increased from the initial 50,000 BPSD to 60,000 BPSD bringing the total refining capacity of the refinery to 110,000 BPSD.

“The indigenous crude oil is sweet (light) and suitable for the production of fuels including Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK), Automotive Gas Oil(AGO) and Low Pour Fuel Oil (LPFO) while the paraffinic crude oil imported from Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Russia at different times to produce more premium products, lube base oils, waxes and asphalts,’’ the NNPC said.

“The Corporation noted that the design philosophy was thus to produce sufficient fuels to satisfy the market demand of people living in the Northern part of the country and the lubes base products to satisfy the West African sub-region .
“Thus, KRPC is not only able to process indigenous crude oil (Escravos) like its sister Refineries, WRPC & PHRC but also processes paraffinic crude oil (imported) which no other Refinery processes in West Africa.     In addition to the above, KRPC has a Petrochemical plant that produces Linear Alkyl Benzene (LAB) used for manufacture of detergent. Packaging materials including Tin and Drum are also manufactured in KRPC for packaging Lube Oil, Asphalt and Kerosene,’’ NNPC said.

“The Corporation argued that though crude oil supply has been irregular because of the incessant cases of pipeline hacking, KRPC has been processing all the crude oil supplied to it by PPMC which can be testified to by Marketers as they have been loading consistently from Kaduna Depot in the past 2 months despite its so called analogue instrumentation.
“Crude oil supply has not been consistent because of numerous pipeline hacking which is being addressed by the present NNPC Management and once crude oil is received KRPC plant is ready to operate including its Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit (FCCU),’’ the Corporation noted.
“On the issue of analogue instrumentation, it is imperative to note that a recent in-depth analysis conducted by some seasoned experts in refining revealed as follows….

“All refineries in the world built before 1980 had this analogue control system (including Warri and Port Harcourt old refineries). The difference is that the Management and owners of such refineries have found the will and the diligence to upgrade or change out such old systems to digital systems, which are themselves subject to upgrades as technologies improve’’.

“The NNPC noted that in line with this thought, NNPC first embarked on a mission of upgrading Kaduna refinery control system in 1992.

“It further stated that though a combination of some external factors have not made this project see the light of day untill recently, the project is now being pursued with renewed vigour and a lot of advances have been made in this regard.

“We would like to conclude by saying that a refinery is never old, it is only as old as the owner allows it to be. All that is required to keep it running optimally is timely maintenance, replacements, upgrades, modifications and expansion. There are, therefore, refineries in the United States, Iran and elsewhere that are as old as 100 years, yet they run efficiently and meet their nameplate capacities,’’ the statement issued y the NNPC concluded.

Full text of Dr Emmanuel Egboga’s exclusive interview in tomorrow’s(Tuesday) The Guardian.

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