Refineries to begin operations by end of month – NNPC

*Port Harcourt refinery.

*Port Harcourt refinery.

Oscarline Onwuemenyi,
with agency reports

10 February 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja — The Federal Government has announced plans to restart the refineries before the end of the month after attacks by some Niger Delta militants on their feedstock pipelines forced their closure in January.

The Executive Director in charge of Refining and Technology at the NNPC, Mr. Denis Ajulu, who revealed this in an interview with Reuters in Abuja, said the refineries would come on-stream in a few days baring security breaches in the Niger Delta area.

According to him, the 150,000 barrel per day (bpd) Port Harcourt refinery is expected to restart its crude distillation unit on Saturday after receiving crude supplies by sea to be followed by a resumption in pipeline supplies. Meanwhile, it is able to produce gasoline from its fluid catalytic converter.

“The Warri refinery has no crude. It will take close to 10 days to pile up crude stock and for Kaduna maybe we’re another five days away after that,” Ajulu stated.

Ajulu said the pipeline to the 125,000 bpd Warri plant could be repaired in four days provided there were no security contraint, but expected it to take a bit longer and crude would be delivered by sea instead.

The Kaduna refinery, which can only operate one of its two crude distillation units for now, receives its feedstock via the Warri plant.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, halted crude flows to the refineries around mid-January after the key pipelines feeding the plants were attacked. The refineries were then shut down a few days later.

On top of being neglected for years, the refineries have always had supply problems due to attempts to steal oil via pipeline taps. It forced the state firm to switch to expensive crude deliveries by sea that cost more than $7 per barrel.

President Muhammadu Buhari is keen to revamp the plants in order to wean the country off gasoline imports but a return of some militancy in the oil-rich Niger Delta region could scupper these plans if the pipelines become regular targets.

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