The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu has explained that the decision of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari not to fix Nigeria’s ailing refineries and the delay in getting private sector financiers to undertake funding for the revamping of the refineries has been responsible for the delay in fixing them.
According to the Minister, President Buhari decided that the refineries will be fixed but not with government money.
It was also gathered that the current administration has not spent any dime on the repairs of Nigeria’s refineries in Port Harcourt, Kaduna and Warri.
Kachikwu made the disclosure on Thursday in Abuja while presenting key achievements of the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources from 2016 to 2018.
He said: “NNPC has struggled to find financiers for refineries but to agree on terms have been difficult and we are actually having a meeting on this on Friday (today). I’m hoping that by this year or the first quarter of next year we would have completed the commercial aspects of the financial undertaken which is probably in excess of $2bn.
“And we will be able to allow the private sector to collaborate with the NNPC and repair these refineries and bring back the 450,000 barrels capacity refineries to shape. That is going to be one of the solutions to solving the fuel crisis in Nigeria.
“What is important is that for the first time the President was able to say I (Buhari) will repair the refineries without government money. And I think nobody is even giving attention to that. Everybody is saying when will it be done. But no penny of the government has been spent on any refinery.
“So every effort we are making is to go find private investors to collaborate with us, save the country money and then be able to put these refineries in order. Because every Turn Around Maintenance that we have done in the past has always come up with stories.”
The minister further stated that the ongoing discussion on private sector funding for the revamp of refineries was taking too long, adding that if the NNPC failed to get investors to invest in the facilities, the government would seek an alternative.
“Well, if that (private funding) fails, obviously I’ll be making a recommendation to my boss in terms of what the other options are. I’m not going to guess what his position will be. I know that both of us discussed this issue extensively in terms of what really needs to be done on the private sector basis.
“But you know usually when there are difficulties, he reaches the decisions. So I will leave that decision for him to make”, he said.
Speaking on the upstream arm, the minister said: “We’ve grown reserves by over 600 million barrels, rising from 36.18 billion barrels to 37.2 billion barrels. So we’ve grown those reserves just in two and half years.”
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