Ailing refineries: NNPC battles to beat 2019 deadline
From Uche Usim, Abuja
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is racing against time to beat the 2019 presidential deadline to get the nation’s three ailing refineries running at full capacity.
To this end, the national oil company has inaugurated eight committees charged with returning the refineries to their nameplate capacities latest in 2019.
Already, over 28 expressions of interest have been received for the financing of the rehabilitation project.
Group managing director of the NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, while inaugurating the committees charged the members to deploy “out-of-the-box solutions to ensure that the refineries return to their good old days of top class performance.”
“I am convinced that the teams we have selected here today will give the necessary direction towards returning the refineries back to their optimal levels of performance,” he said.
The GMD explained that, in executing the assignment, the committees were expected to deliver well and within schedule as, according to him, time was of the essence.
Although the target for the refineries’ rehabilitation was to return them to 90 per cent capacity utilisation before the end of 2019, Baru stressed that, with more commitment from the committees, 100 per cent capacity utilisation was achievable.
“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 is the only way to ensure profitability,” the GMD said.
Baru also emphasised the importance of the workforce, as “we can fix the refineries but without the right people to operate them, they would go back to where they were or even worse.”
During his introductory speech, the chief operating officer, Refineries and Petrochemicals, Anibor Kragha, declared that, for the first time in 20 years, there was both the political will and the economic climate to ensure effective retrofitting of the refineries.
Assuring everyone that the nation would not suffer financially from the project, the COO explained that the approved financial model would guarantee payment to partners only from incremental profits.
“Payment is, therefore, hinged on performance, ensuring a win-win situation for Nigeria,” Kragha said.
Speaking on behalf of the committees, the chief financial officer of the NNPC, Mr. Isiaka Abdulrazaq, reminded members of the committees that the rehabilitation of the refineries was one of the targets of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
Abdulrazaq expressed his confidence in the committees to deliver on their various tasks.
The committees would be be headed by a steering committee, chaired by the GMD.