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Tuesday , 21 November 2017

FG shifts refineries’ repair to 2018

The plan by the Federal Government to announce private companies it has chosen to repair, revamp and maintain the country’s three refineries has been shifted to 2018.

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, had at the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, Texas, hinted that the government would in September 2017 reveal the new investors that will put in private money to revamp the refineries in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna.

“When we came on board, the refineries were not working but as we speak, we have sizeable investment portfolio for them to an extent that we don’t know who to partner with for the investment. By September, we will unveil the investors for the refineries,” the minister said.

But speaking at the 24th Africa Oil Week in Cape Town, South Africa yesterday, the minister said that government could no longer announce the selection this year but by January or February 2018.

Kachikwu who is leading the Nigerian  delegation to the conference, according to the petroleum ministry’s twitter handle, however, said Nigeria was close to finalising the process.

The minister added that 26 firms had indicated interest in the refineries’ revamp that will require investment of around $2 billion.  “We are almost at a threshold of finalising the process of selection,” he said.

NNPC had on April 19, 2016 issued tender seeking investors to jointly fund the repairs and the operations of the facilities, but the corporation’s plan ran into a hitch after the House of Representatives called for a halt to the process on the ground that the privatization agency, the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), was not involved.

The problem was said to have been thrashed out after which a presidential approval was granted the NNPC in October 2016 to engage credible financiers to rehabilitate and improve the performance of the three refineries.

But just as the process was ongoing Oando chief Wale Tinubu on May 11, 2017, disclosed that the group had received approval from the federal government to repair, operate and maintain (ROM) the Port Harcourt refinery with its partner, Agip.

The criticism that trailed this declaration forced the Senate to ask the ministry to halt the process pending the outcome of its investigation which may have delayed the announcement of the selection of investors till 2018.

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