The long awaited rehabilitation of Nigerian refineries is set to commence at last. With work at the Port Harcourt refinery kicked off in March, the GMD of Nigerian National Petroleum Commission (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kolo Kyari, said on Saturday that rehabilitation work will commence on the Warri and Kaduna refineries in January, and will be delivered at full refining capacity by 2022. He said this while touring the Port Harcourt refinery, and inspecting the progress of work going on there on Saturday.
According to the press release by the NNPC’s Publicist, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, the visit of Mallam Kyari is an evidence of the national oil corporation’s determination to revive oil refining business in Nigeria by getting the refineries functioning again.
Mallam Kyari assured Nigerians that it’s not business as usual this time, that no stone will be left unturned until the refineries roar to life. And that will happen with every sense of urgency.
“We will stick to time; we will deliver this project by 2022. We will commence actual rehabilitation work in January. We will do everything possible between October and December to close out all necessary contracts for us to deliver on that project. I believe with the support we have from the shareholders – government of this country, the entire staff of this company and the contractors, I believe it is doable and we will deliver the project.” He said.
He also tasked the stakeholders of the project, Tecmmont, Eni/NAOC to be fastidious, reminding them that their reputation is on the line. The mandate is to deliver functioning refineries to over 200 million Nigerians by 2022.
“It’s no longer about business now, but a reputational issue. For the refinery, Tecmmont, Eni/NAOC and NNPC, let us be conscious of the fact that our reputation is at stake as far as this project is concerned. The NNPC leadership has promised this country that our refineries will work, therefore, we must work not to disappoint over 200 million Nigerian stakeholders.” He emphasized.
Reacting to his statement on urgency, the Tecmmont project Manager, Mr. La Mattina Carmelo, said that the inspection aspect of the work is at 91% while the final report and EPC proposal stood at 75%. He therefore, promised to deliver the first phase of the project in 3 weeks from now.
The representative of Eni/NAOC, Daniele Tamburini, also affirmed that the companies are following international best standards in executing the rehabilitation.
However, the news has been received by Nigerians with skepticism. Many are saying that it is another window dressing by the NNPC, designed just to loot public fund. The quest to rehabilitate the refineries have been a bone of contention that has endured through successive administrations, and each time, the project has failed to produce functional refineries.