New Telegraph

Refinery Repairs: Marketers task contractors on modern technology

As the Federal Government makes good its promise to rehabilitate the country’s petroleum refineries with that of Port Harcourt completed, oil marketers have urged the contractors to do their jobs by adopting modern technology in the repairs. Giving the advice during a chat with our correspondent in Lagos, the National Operations Controller, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Mike Osatu, said it would be wrong to fix the facilities with old and obsolete equipment that are not in tune with modern delivery. He canvassed the adoption of modern technologies to save man hour and efficiency. Osatuyi said: “The contractors working on the government refineries should use new technologies. You can not compare modern things with old technologies. “Modern technology brings efficiency and is cost and time-saving. It is less risky, uses less labour and it is less costly. Abroad, you will see car manufacturing companies, maybe they have 30 staff and everything is modernised unlike when you have about 1.000 workers in the factory.” He also lamented that moribund refineries and comatose pipelines were the major causes of recurring scarcity of Premium Motor Spirit, otherwise called petrol, stressing that Nigeria had lost trillions of naira, millions of direct and indirect jobs and economic development as a result of the situation. He pointed out that Nigerians had suffered untold and irreparable hardship as a result of incessant fuel scarcity and  attendant long queues at petrol stations. He recalled that BudgIT’s findings, in its policy brief, “Inside Nigeria’s Local Refineries,” revealed that the Federal Government-owned refineries in Kaduna, Port Harcourt and Warri incurred a cumulative loss of N32.8 billion in 2017 and N126.2 billion in 2018, making a total loss of N159 billion in the two years alone. BudgIT is a Nigerian civil organisation that applies technology for citizen engagement with institutional improvement to facilitate societal change. Osatuyi said that the government- owned refineries were consistently unable to meet local demand, putting Nigeria in a precarious situation of importing all locally consumed petrol and significant portions of other refined products used locally. He said such losses and sufferings would have been averted, if the refineries owned by the Federal Government had been operational. According to him, they  would have been refining petroleum products and there would not have been the need to import products with the attendant challenges, including vagaries at the international market, foreign exchange issues, freight and distribution logistics and involvements. He also said Nigeria would have saved trillions of naira from the by-products of the refined crudes, and created huge direct and indirect jobs and markets from the value chain of crude byproducts. He listed the refineries to include Kaduna Refinery, which was commissioned in 1980 to supply petroleum products to northern Nigeria now with an increased nameplate capacity of 110,000 barrels per day. He also identified others as the Port Harcourt refineries comprising of two units, with the old plant having a refining capacity of 60,000 barrels per day (bpd) and the new plant 150,000 bpd, both summing up to 210,000 bpd and the Warri Refinery with an initial capacity of 100,000 bpd, and later debottlenecked to produce 125,000  bpd of crude oil. He stated that if these refineries were operational, there would not have been recurring fuel scarcity. He expressed optimism that there would be a positive change when the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt Refinery which the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPCL), after approval from the Federal Executive Council, had awarded to Tecnimont at $1.5 billion and the repairs of the Kaduna Refinery which NNPCL awarded to Daewood at $741 milllion m as well as the Wari Refineries become real. Osauyi also decried that the NNPCL’s 21 pipeline depots in the country, except that of the Satellite Town in Ejigbo, which was rehabilitated a few days ago, the other ones are in a deplorable state. He noted that if they had been working, there would have been seamless distribution of petroleum products and fuel scarcity would not have been recurring. Osatuyi said: “If all the pipeline depots are working, we will  not have any problems. If you are in Maiduguri or Ilorin and the depots are working, you do not need to come to Lagos. Pipelines majorly contributed to the problem of fuel scarcity. If the government can fix Ejigbo depot, others are also doable. The next thing they should work on is Mosimi. If they rehabilitate the depots, it will help in the distribution of petroleum products. “The recurring fuel scarcity has inflicted hardship on Nigeria. That is a fact, we all know that. It is also affecting the operations of oil marketers but NNPCL is now listening to the cry of IPMAN. They have improved. “If the refineries had been working, it would have gone a long way in meeting local demands without importation. Nigerian would not have been subjected to the current hardship and suffering. If the refineries will produce 145,000bpd and Dangote is going to produce 650,00 bpd, we do not need to import any more. When the refineries were working, they were able to meet local demands.

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