The Federal Government has concluded plans to privatize the nation’s refineries within the next 12 months, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu has said.
Kachikwu, who is also the Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, further said his team was working with oil majors on improving the state-run refineries in Nigeria.
This is coming on the heels of indications that the pump price of petrol may go up to as much as N130 per litre, as a means of resolving the perennial fuel scarcity situation.
Industry sources revealed that government may soon abandon its stance of fixing the pump price of petrol to allow independent marketers who have been licensed to import fuel to sell at profitable margins.
The planned policy reversal, sources informed, will be done quietly, and that government has given the marketers approval to source foreign exchange from the parallel market, which will inevitably affect their selling margin.
Meanwhile, Kachikwu was also quoted in the April bulletin of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, report to have said that discussions were ongoing on how to partner Chevron, Total and ENI, in the planned privatization process.
According to the OPEC bulletin report, Kachikwu said that Nigeria has “seen a growing dependency on fuel imports as a result of the under-performance of its refining plants in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna”, adding that the refineries have to be privatised because of the serious maintenance work to be done on them.
“We have got commitments from some of the majors. Agip has indicated interest to work with us on Port Harcourt, Chevron on Warri. We are talking to Total on Kaduna,” Kachikwu was quoted to have said.
He also added that even if the refineries in question performed to their optimum capacity, their production would still not meet local demand for petrol.
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