‘Warri, Port Harcourt refineries’ output hits seven million litres per day’
• NNPC raises hope on end to fuel scarcity
• Experts seek local refining to sustain consumption
• Ambode tasks Nigerians on falling oil price
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) yesterday raised hope on fuel supply as it disclosed that the Warri and Port Harcourt refineries are now producing about seven million litres per day.
Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, NNPC, Malam Garba Deen Muhammad, told The Guardian in a telephone interview yesterday that the Warri Refinery is now producing about two million litres per day after the re-streaming of the Escravos-Warri-Kaduna pipeline network at the weekend.
He said the Port Harcourt Refinery is already producing about five million litres per day.Muhammad, who stated that the output from the refineries would complement the imported products and further guarantee robust supply of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) across the country, said while the Warri and Kaduna refineries are now receiving crude simultaneously for the first time in many years, the Kaduna Refinery is expected to commence production by next week.
Besides, Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has said the massive fall in oil prices in the international market is a blessing in disguise for Nigeria.
The governor, who spoke in the United Kingdom (UK) on the theme: “Nigeria – Rising Above Crude Realities,” at the third yearly London School of Economics (LSE) Africa Summit, described the development as a tipping point not just for positive change but also to achieve inclusive growth and sustainable development.
Ambode, who was quoted by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Habib Aruna, as saying that the fall in oil prices, if honestly handled, would actually offer the country the opportunity to deliver real growth.
According to the governor, though the fall has sharply reduced Nigeria’s growth rate, export earnings, foreign direct investment and government revenues, the nation stands a lot to benefit positively from the downturn.
In another development, with the commissioning of the first privately-built multi-billion naira crude oil pipeline that would convey the product directly to Warri Refinery from Escravos, the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) yesterday called on the Federal Government to concentrate its effort at encouraging local refiners of the crude oil as a way to get rid of the perennial fuel scarcity.
Chairman of the SPE Section 116, Benin City, Prof. Olalekan Olafuyi, who stated this yesterday during the 25th anniversary celebration of the group and award-giving ceremony to deserving personalities, said that the four refineries that were not working was as a result of government’s neglect.
He said: “They can review the policy to accommodate those who are not lettered yet and are able to refine the nation’s crude in such a way that will guarantee Nigeria’s self-production.
“If people that are not in school are doing refinery, why can’t government just get these people together and improve public interest. It will help to take off their criminal mind to what is going to benefit the county since it will also help to guarantee our local production of the product.”
Meanwhile, The Guardian investigations showed that fuel queues still persist at filling stations, while many marketers were still selling above the official pump price.
But Muhammad, who stated that the queues would definitely not vanish in one day, said with more supply of additional product from the refineries, queues would gradually face off by the time Kaduna Refinery begins operation next week.
He said the company is determined to sustain domestic fuel production, hence the decision to introduce co-location of refineries whereby more refineries could be established within the premises of the existing three refineries and share the facilities for better efficiency.
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, had earlier stated that Escravos Terminal is the heart-beat of the downstream sector of the industry and critical to local supply of finished petroleum product as both refineries in Warri and Kaduna are majorly fed from Escravos crude stock.
“The challenge of this country is the challenge of focus and stewardship. For the first time in many years, the three refineries are going to be working and it will help in a great deal with the issue of fuel supply and distribution across the country and it will go a long way to manage the fuel crisis,” he said.
He, therefore, enjoined Nigerians to be more patient, adding that the corporation is working hard to end fuel shortage across the country.