By Yetunde Bada
Abuja – The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) says the nation’s three refineries would be shut down briefly for an overhaul for optimal performance.
The NNPC Group Managing Director, Dr Maikanti Baru, said this in Abuja on Wednesday on the sidelines of the inaugural Nigerian Pipeline Security Conference and Exhibition, organised by the Pipeline Association of Nigeria (PLAN).
According to Baru, the comprehensive rehabilitation is aimed at bringing the refineries in Warri, Kaduna and Port Harcourt back to their nameplate production capacities.
The NNPC boss expressed optimism that the refineries would return as new facilities after the overhaul ahead of Nigeria’s plan to stop the importation of petroleum products by 2019.
“As you know, it has been the perception of the public that the repairs of the refineries are never done thoroughly; so this time, our intention is to shut down the refineries when we are ready.
“We will then fully bring them back to what they should be as new refineries.
“Obviously, it is going to be a complex procedure; and as such, we have to breakdown the various work packages to ensure that all the various workforce have sufficient focus,’’ Baru said.
He explained that the eight committees on the refineries’ rehabilitation that were inaugurated comprised top management officials that would be having a day-to-day look at the work streams.
“We intend to focus on the repairs of the refineries with all that it takes to ensure that by the time we are done by 2019, these refineries will be as good as new,’’ he said.
In an address at the event, Baru said the incessant breakages of critical crude oil pipelines such as the Trans Niger Pipeline (TNP) and Forcados, had contributed to the recession the country experienced.
He said in 2016, the TNP and Forcados collectively recorded breaks on their various segments, which resulted in about 700,000 barrels per day (bpd) of oil production.
“In 2016, the Trans Niger Pipeline (TNP) with a capacity of 150,000 bpd was breached 39 times. Year-To-Date 2017, we have recorded 27 breaching incidents on the TNP.
“For the Trans Forcados Pipeline (TFP) with a capacity of 300,000 bpd, we recorded 17 breaches in 2016 while Year-To-Date 2017, we have recorded at least 15 breaching incidents on the TFP.
“On the average in 2016, about 700,000 barrels of oil per day were deferred due to pipeline vandalism,” he explained.
He further said towards the end of first and second quarter of 2016, the attacks on pipeline reached the highest point when the two major crude oil export pipelines of Forcados Oil Terminal (FOT) and Qua Iboe Terminal (QIT) were lost due to sabotage.
“Nigerian daily production during the period went down as low as 1.3 million barrels from 2.2 million barrels targeted during the same period.
“Similarly, because of the inter relationship between the crude pipeline and condensate evacuation from the gas plants, power generation in the country also dropped significantly as the gas plants had to shut down, thereby resulting in shortages in gas supply to power.
“At present, huge amount of money is spent on protecting these pipelines which significantly add to the cost of production.
“The foregoing summarises the effect of pipeline vandalism and therefore underscores the importance of protecting our pipeline system and treating them as national assets.
“The huge capital investment made in the pipeline network across the country should trigger more resolute determination to finding lasting solutions to the perennial challenges threatening the future of pipeline infrastructure in the country,” Baru said.
Earlier, a statement from Mr Ndu Ughamadu, the NNPC Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, said the corporation was working in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s mandate to rehabilitate the three refineries.
Ughamadu said that more than 28 Expressions of Interest (EoIs) had been received so far by the corporation from private funding sources for the refineries’ rehabilitation project, adding it was expecting more EoIs by the end of the year.
Ughamadu quoted Baru as saying: “We want to show everyone that we can fully run the refineries. You must all work together to operate them at 100 per cent capacity as this was the only way to ensure profitability.
“We can fix the refineries but without the right people to operate them, they would go back to where they were or even worse.’’ (NAN)