Make Refineries Work As Commercial Entities- SPE

….As FG Moves To End Petrol Import

Yemisi Izuora

The Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), Nigeria Council has called on government to turn the nations moribund refineries into commercial entities.

The Council Chairman, Mr Joe Nwakwue, while speaking ahead of SPE Nigeria Energy Industry Transformation Summit bid to run from 25 to 27th August, said that on annual basis, the country’s refineries gulp nothing less than N120 billion.

“We understand that refinery is a key national asset and it is in the national interest that they are optimally run from commercial perspective and we think private sector are in better position to do that than public sector.

“It’s important to recognized that it serve no purpose that we have refineries that are sitting idle across the country. They don’t just seat idle; we still spend money to keep them idle.

“If you look at the annual report of NNPC, you will see clearly about N120 billion operating loss for these facilities and its consistency over the years. If we keep them next year, that is how much loss we are going to incurred as a nation.

“It’s not in our national interest to continue to pump money into things that are not adding value. From that perspective, it’s only reasonable to say that we should have sold this asset long time ago to those who can run it.

“Am very sure that assuming we take that step; our exchange rate won’t be what it is today. Assuming we sold it 10 years ago, today we might have exit import completely.

Speaking on the upcoming event, Nwakwue said that the 3-day online summit tagged; “Changing global energy landscape: strategies for industry sustainability will offer the country and key stakeholders directions to remain relevant in a changing world.

“We are going to have three plenary sessions on the first day we are going to be discussing “economic development and environmental stewardship; opportunities for the energy industry” and on the secondary, “domestic refining for sustainable development” and on the last day, we will discuss “global energy transition: remaining relevant in a changing world.”

“The panellists were carefully selected and composed of highly experienced industry thought leaders and practitioners who have demonstrable competences in these areas.

“SPE is indeed blessed that they accepted to come and share their perspectives on these issues and we are grateful for their support and commitment and look forward to exciting and highly productive sessions.”

Meanwhile, the federal government has restated its commitment to end importation of refined petroleum products into Nigeria.

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, said government was working to reverse Nigeria’s status as a net importer of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, and as such had been supporting the establishment of modular refineries to boost indigenous PMS production.

The minister stated this after inspecting the Azikel Hydro-Skimming Refinery, the first hydro-skimming private modular refinery being built by businessman, Azibapu Eruani in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.

The refinery, which is about 75 per cent completed, has the capacity to process 12,000 barrels of crude per day.

In a statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday by the spokesperson for the company, Austin Ebipade, Sylva said the modular refinery would facilitate the Federal Government’s objectives towards attaining self-sufficiency in the production of refined products.

Nigeria currently imports refined petroleum products such as petrol, diesel, aviation fuel and liquified petroleum gas.

According to the minister, the Azikel refinery was important to Nigerians and the country’s search for economic prosperity.

He was quoted in the statement as saying, “The Azikel Refinery is set to actualise the ‘export’ of refined products from Bayelsa State to other states in the Nigerian federation.

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