The Refinery and Petrochemical Company in Kaduna state restarted production on Saturday after it was closed down for several months.
Esther Nnamdi-Ogbue, who is the managing director, Pipelines and Products marketing Company said on Sunday, that the Refinery and Petrochemical Company, which has the capacity to refine 110,000 barrels of crude oil a day, has restarted production. The plant, which was closed in September, came back on stream ahead of the December deadline for Nigeria’s four refineries to return to full productions.
Few days after his assumption as the group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu had in September, issued a 90 day ultimatum to the four refineries in the country to restart production in order to reduce the quantity imported into the country.
Speaking on the re-opening of the Kaduna refinery, Mrs. Nnamdi-Ogbue said the Kaduna plant, which is currently undergoing a test run of its production lines, it’s expected to commence trucking of petrol by the end of next week.
Kaduna refinery came back on stream on Saturday as scheduled and is running,” the PPMC boss told PREMIUM TIMES on Sunday, via text message.
PMS (Premium Motor spirit, also called petrol) should be available for trucking by the end of the week. The refinery is expected to produce an average of about 1.6 million litres of PMS daily once in full operation.
Mrs. Nnamdi-Ogbue further said that other refineries like the 210,000 bpd-capacity Port Harcourt refinery, will follow suite before the end of the year 2015.
Meanwhile, the Kaduna refinery stopped working for most part of the year, except in July and August, when its utilization capacity dropped to about 2.6 per cent and 10.5 per cent respectively, according the NNPC monthly operational report for October.
The 125,000 bpd-capacity Warri refinery, which was also closed since September for repairs, would be the last to come back on stream, according to the resumption timeline, it is expected that all the refineries will come back before the end of the year.
The restart of production at the Kaduna refinery will bring a sigh of relief to Nigerians who have endured weeks of scarcity of petroleum products. The Pipelines and Products marketing Company (PPMC) have currently been saddled with the responsibility of importing and supplying 100 per cent of the average 40 million litres daily national fuel consumption capacity, as none of the major and independent oil marketers is involved in the fuel importation programme in the country at the moment.
Prior to this time, the PPMC and the other oil marketers used to split the responsibility of importing fuel at the ratio of 52:48. But, with the backlog of unpaid fuel subsidy and accumulated foreign exchange differential, the oil marketers had opted out of further importation, leaving it to the PPMC.
However, despite being one of Africa’s top two oil producers, Nigeria has for long, been forced to import most of its petrol products due to its ailing refinery system, which generally runs below capacity, due to neglect and pipeline sabotage.