25 private refinery licences have been issued by the by the Department of Petroleum Resource (DPR) to increase the refining capacity of the four national refineries in the country.
The refining capacity of the four Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) refineries located in Warri, Kaduna and two in Port Harcourt, Nigeria are to be increased by these new refineries to 1,429,000 barrels per day, from the previous 445,000 refining capacity.
The DPR has denied claims that it had withdrawn the licences of some private refineries, which failed to come on stream between 2002 and 2014, explaining that it never withdrew refinery licences issued to operators, rather, it maintained that it was in alignment with government’s aspiration of improving Nigeria’s refining capacity by strengthening its regulatory oversight function of the petroleum sector in Nigeria.
It explained that there are three stages of licencing for establishment of private refineries in Nigeria namely; Licence to Establish (LTE), Approval to Construct (ATC) and Licence to Operate (LTO).
The DPR stressed that there are currently 25 private refinery licences issued by DPR, of which 21 are in the Licence to Establish (LTE) category, while four are in the Approval to Construct (ATC) category.
Of these, three are billed to construct conventional stick-build plants and 22 will construct modular units with a combined capacity of 1,429,000 barrels per day (bpd).
The regulator noted that DPR granted LTE to 21 companies with a validity period of 18 months in 2002. But, in 2004, DPR said 17 out of the earlier granted LTE were granted ATC for a 24-month validity period.
Also, DPR stated that in 2007, it reviewed the existing guidelines and a new guiding document, “Guidelines for the Establishment of Hydrocarbon Processing Plants in Nigeria” was introduced to ensure that only committed investors were given licences.
DPR pledged commitment to its regulatory oversight of the oil and gas sector and in alignment with the aspirations of government to continue to engage all stakeholders for efficient service delivery.