In from Ali Smart . . .
Members of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) are crossed with the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) for mooting the idea of selling the nation’s refineries as scraps, arguing that it was not in the best interest of the country.
The PENGASSAN National Public Relations Officer, Comrade Emmanuel Ojugbana, who spoke on the development over the weekend, described the call by IPMAN as an act of sabotage.
He however commended the efforts of the government for revamping the once moribund refineries with the recent report credited to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu that the Kaduna and Port Harcourt Refineries will commence production anytime soon.
“Nigerians need to ask the IPMAN leadership why they want the refineries which can be said to be in good form now to be sold as scrap. Even when the government has shown that the refineries can work and take care of 75per cent of the nation’s local demand of refined products,” he queried.
According to him, the proof that the refineries are still viable and profitable was exhibited by the Port Harcourt Refining Company (PHRC), which posted a net profit of N11.2 billion for December 2014, representing N8.2 billion or 250 percent above the N3.2 billion posted by the company in preceding November 2014.
“This was attributed to the improved financial performance for the phased rehabilitation programme, which was done by the workers.”
Ojugbana who observed that the challenges confronting the refineries were that of capacity utilisation and not ownership, said: “We have examples of countries even in West Africa such as Ghana and Chad Republic, just to mention a few where refineries are owned by the government. The refineries in those countries are not only functioning but Nigeria even imported from them in the past”.
IPMAN, he said: “Should know that aside from the challenge of Turn-Around Maintenance (TAM) of the refineries, adequate and regular supply of crude, which is the main feedstock is another major impediment to the efficient and effective operation of the refineries.”
The PENGASSAN boss stated that workers in the refineries have shown commitments to produce refined products, said: “When the plant is idle for too long, this breeds residual faults and problems whenever there is an attempt to start up, since the design of a refinery is better when it is continuously operated.”
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