PORT-Harcourt refinery in Rivers State which produces about 210,000 barrels of crude per day(bpd) has shut down, thus compounding the current fuel scarcity nation-wide.
Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Ibe Kachikwu,disclosed this at the luncheon of the Petroleum Club in Lagos on Saturday.
He said with the breakdown of the plant, the nation’s refineries in Warri and Kaduna are now completely grounded, bringing the combined output from 1.9 per cent in the last few weeks to zero.
The NNPC had stated in its latest monthly report for September that “only Port Harcourt refinery produced 31,008million metric tonnes of petroleum products out of 35,648 MT (261,371.14 barrels) of crude processed at an average capacity utilization of 5.77 per cent.”
Kachikwu, who described the poor refining capacity as worisome, said there were moves to restore the lost glory of the refineries and ensure that they contribute massively to the national fuel consumption.
He said the corporation needs about $500 million to fix the refineries, and he is determined to source for the fund in the next seven months to one year.
“Some people are sabotaging the efforts through pipeline vandalism, but we will block all the leakages and fix the problem,” he assured.
Lamenting the fuel scarcity, Kachikwu said the NNPC is speeding up the payment of the subsidy claims, adding that there were plans to review the subsidy system and reduce the amount from about N20 per litre to about N5 per litre.
According to him, “products distribution is key to NNPC, and we have therefore, sent out about 5000 trucks to various locations across the country in the last two days,”
Kachikwu, however, restated his commitment to turn around the NNPC to a world class company within the next six to 12 months and ensure that it works efficiently in a transparent and accountable manner.
“We are out for transparency. We will be engaging the Presidency weekly, the governors monthly, and the National Assembly monthly, while we continue to publish out reports monthly.
The NNPC boss, who agreed that these are very serious trying times for the industry, said the problems are actually more serious than we think, so Nigerians need to work hard and begin to add value.
He said the President is deeply worried about the prevailing situation in the industry and has given him the mandate to fix the problems, “and I will never do things that will compromise my integrity,” he stated.
Kachikwu said his administration has recovered $420 million from the legacy crude swap contract, increases gas supply to power plants to about 231 million standard cubic feet per day (mbpd) and hoped to hit 240 mbpd next year.