$1.5b Port-Harcourt Refinery to resume before April 2023
Despite the dismal performance of the nation’s petroleum sector amidst crude oil theft, subsidy payment and rising insecurity that has worsened operations for players in the industry, the Federal Government yesterday in Abuja insisted that the performance of the oil and gas sector was above par in the past seven years of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
Nigeria’s crude oil production has in the last seven years remained low amidst rising theft and vandalism leading to shut-in of oil wells and loss of investment to other African countries.
The state of the refineries, the monopoly in the sale of premium motor spirit, import of dirty fuel, subsidy payment and alleged corruption in the sector have reportedly brought the oil sector to its knees.
But Buhari’s ministers in-charge of Petroleum and Communication speaking at a press conference on the scorecard of Buhari said promises have been kept going by initial projects as efforts are being made to complete other projects that the Buhari administration initiated in the sector.
A section of the Port-Harcourt Refinery will resume this first quarter, especially the 60, 000 barrel capacity of the of the plant as numbers of modular refineries are already producing across the country, the ministers boasted, adding that the sector has played critical roles on increasing fertiliser production in Nigeria, boosting domestic gas utilisation, ending smuggling of premium motor spirits and signing the Petroleum Industry Act.
While a target of 3 million daily crude oil production was set, Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva said efforts are being made in deep water drilling, 2D seismic data, acquisition in Bida basin, repair and protection of the pipeline network amidst others.
Asked if prices of petrol would come to N40 per litre as initially promised by APC, Sylva jokingly said it would be possible if one naira becomes one dollar but stressed that he would be okay buying petrol at market price of about N300 per litre if he is out of government.
Sylva, who noted that removal of subsidy remained the desirable option for the country, said the citizens would have to come to terms and agreement as the government is spending so much to keep the scheme.
“The Ministry has succeeded in passing landmark statutes such as the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Acts, as well as the marquee Petroleum Industry Act. It has also secured funding for the rehabilitation of the three existing refineries to enhance the nation’s
domestic refining capacity.
“The Gas Flare commercialisation is at the final stage of award of the flare points to potential winners. The Ministry has encouraged more indigenous participation by facilitating crude access and ease of license approval.
“The five per cent reduction in the cost of crude extraction was also achieved and surpassed. With all these achievements and the drive of the National Gas Expansion Program, the Ministry is actualizing Mr. President’s aspirations as captured in the 9-point agenda,” the minister said.
The Guardian had reported that players had applauded the passage of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA), stressing that the fiscal and regulatory framework may be Buhari’s only achievement as the minister of petroleum resources.
While Nigeria has dropped from its first position to the third largest oil producer in Africa, the last seven years saw the country battle with monumental crude oil theft and vandalism while the refineries were mainly out of operation amidst subsidy payment as face off persists between the marketers, motorists and government agencies.
The development eroded foreign exchange earnings and thereby led to the free fall of naira while pushing the country’s debt to over N42 trillion.
and her people.
Other top government functionaries at the event include the Deputy Governor of Edo State, Comr. Philip Shaibu; Secretary to the Edo State Government, Osarodion Ogie, Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Chris Nehikhare, amongst others.