One of the biggest sore points in Nigeria’s economic development efforts is the state of the country’s refineries.
Nigeria is perhaps the only crude oil producer- nation that does not refine enough for local consumption let alone for export to earn foregn exchange
Now the federal government has unveiled plans to spend $1.5 billion to revamp the Port Harcourt refinery.
Orange FM’s Otobot Jim reports that several stakeholders believe that building a new refinery is more profitable than rehabilitating any non-functional one.
They stressed that rehabilitation of any refinery will not change the challenges being faced in the down stream sector.
According to them, series of plans to revive, privatise or expand the refineries over the years have failed.
Nigeria has four refineries with a combined capacity of 445,000 barrels per day.
One is in Kaduna while the three others are located in Warri and Portharcourt in the oil rich Niger Delta region.
The Port Harcourt complex which is the largest has two plants with a combined capacity of 210,000 BPD
Unfortunately, none of the four is working, leaving the country completely dependent on imports and subsidy schemes.
In 2019, record shows that the refineries lost about 167 billion naira, and only Warri processed any oil.
In April 2020, they were all shut for rehabilitation.
Last week, the federal government approved $1.5 billion for rehabilitation of Port Harcourt refinery.
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva said the rehabilitation which would be in three phases, would be handled by an Italian firm.
Reacting, some stakeholders said a new one will solve the problems once and for all instead of investing in uncertainty.
They expressed the regret that Nigeria at the moment despite her huge resources has no functional refinery, noting that the facilities should be privatised
Others said efforts to revive the nation’s refineries should be fast-tracked to ensure massive local production of petroleum products especially petrol.