Port Harcourt — The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, has commended the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, on its award of a contract to an Italian firm, to revamp the Port Harcourt refinery.
The senior oil workers’ union said the Port Harcourt refinery when rehabilitated to operate optimally, would reduce the stress imposed on the Naira due to massive importation of refined petroleum products.
Speaking exclusively to our correspondent, PENGASSAN Chairman, Port Harcourt Zone, Mr. Azubuike Azubuike, who described the move as a welcome development, said the revamping of the refinery will also create employment.
Azubuike also said if all the refineries could be revamped to operate at optimal capacity, Nigeria could be earning serious foreign exchange by supplying products throughout the West African region.
“It is a welcome development. If we have the Port Harcourt Refinery running, it will reduce the stress on our currency because importation of products which heap the stress on our currency, will be reduced.
“Again, when we are able to put our refineries together and refine our crude, the possibility is that we are going to have availability of products, and it will create jobs directly and indirectly.
“It will help improve on our foreign exchange in the sense that, if we refine more than what we need in the country, we could supply refined petroleum products to the entire West African market and earn foreign exchange.”
Asked if he was not disappointed that NNPC had to award the contract to an Italian firm, Maire Tecnimont, whereas the country has the local capacity that could handle the job, especially since PENGASSAN has been an advocate of local content, Azubuike said,
“There are contracts awarding processes, more so, the new Executive Secretary of NCDMB is doing a great job. However, for the government to finally agreed to have awarded the contract to an Italian firm, the local capacity must have been taken into cognizance and I am sure this question of yours must have been scrutinised before they finally settled for the Italian firm.
“Be as it may, every average Nigerian wants these refineries to be efficient and be working optimally. It would have been good to try local content, but those that awarded the contract knows why they picked an Italian firm.”