The Nigerian Online Newspaper

We spent N4.74t on petrol import in one year, refineries to gulp $1.2b – Kachikwu

The Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, has revealed that Nigeria spent about N4.74 trillion on importation of petrol last year, representing 30 per cent of the total foreign exchange outlay of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“The importation of petroleum products between January and December of last year amounted to about 20 million metric tonnes,” Kachikwu said in a response to the Senate on plans to refurbish Nigeria’s creaky refineries.

He outrightly denied reports of the concession of Port Harcourt Refinery to Oando and Agip companies.

He said: “A total amount of N3.4 trillion was spent, the consumption of FX from CBN was approximately 30 per cent of CBN total FX outlay, and the logistic costs of that importation was about N1.34 trillion within the same one year period.”

On domestic refining capacity, the minister said the nation produced six million litres out of a total consumption of about 35 million litres per day.

He said: “In the midst of this sort of statistics, it was absolutely critical that we move in to try to end importation of products, improve our refineries and get them up to 100 per cent.

“We are looking for financing of the repair and upgrade of the refineries. We are not concessioning refineries, it is simply a financing package.”

Kachikwu said the government would invite the original refineries builders for the three refineries to undertake the repairs, but stressed that it had not selected any financier for the repairs.

He said: “Once we identify those individuals and see how we can make contacts with those who built the refineries – Saipem in Warri; JGC in Port Harcourt; and Chiyoda in Kaduna, to ensure that we go back to them.”

He said such step was necessary “because they (builders) have the designs, engineering outlay and upgrade capabilities, and in some cases, they have the access to spare part.

“If we are going to achieve this within the timeframe we gave, we are going to meet them and I think we have largely decided that those are the people we should use.”

The minister said the government would have to consider the overall capabilities of those interested in the process.

He also added that their business model would have to be tied into the current Direct Sales Direct Purchase of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation to be able to make profit, especially with consideration to the country’s downstream sector, which had not been deregulated.

He said: “A technical committee set up by the government to undertake the review and selection process is yet to submit its report.”

There had been reports that government had reached agreement with the firms following which the Senate asked that the contract be stopped.

According to the minister, what has been accomplished by the committee is coming up with a holistic investment figure enough to fix the nation’s three refineries.

Kachikwu said: “We have not selected any firm yet even though some firms have shown interests.

“We need about $1.2 billion to repair and bring the three refineries of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation in Port Harcourt, Warri, and Kaduna, up to 100 per cent production level.”

The minister said the cost of the project had been determined in terms of the extent of work required.

He said: “The total cumulative amount is in the $1.1 billion and $1.2 billion category between all the refineries.

“And that of course does not include the pipelines.

“You have got to address the pipelines and that is something else that is being done.”

The minister said the government would have to consider the overall capabilities of those interested in the process.