The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has partnered with private investors to set up processing plants in Port Harcourt and Warri in the oil-rich South South states.

NNPC said Tuesday that the Brownfield refineries are expected to process up to 100,000 barrels of oil per day.

This development is coming on the hill of the Federal Government grappling with four moribund refineries

Maikanti Baru, group managing director, NNPC said the investors have already begun relocating a refinery from Turkey to be installed in its Port Harcourt plant.

“It was owned by BP, but it has been sold off to the companies that want to bring and install it here,” he said.

“There is another one of about the same size being considered that will be located at the Warri refinery. But the one for Port Harcourt is at a more advanced stage,” he added.

Baru however did not name the companies or give the timelines for the implementation of the projects.

The new investments are expected to revive the refining sector and save the government millions of dollars spent on importing oil products.

Oil refining in Nigeria is hampered by mismanagement, insecurity and lack of investments that has led to the government’s refineries in Warri, Port Harcourt and Kaduna to operate below capacity.

“Are the refineries working optimally? The answer is no. There a few reasons hindering their optimal performance,” said NNPC’s chief operating officer upstream, Rabiu Bello, speaking at an energy forum in Abuja.

“One is the issues is security. Even if one refinery is working perfectly and there is unrest in the region, the products cannot go in or out,” he said, adding that there was a period where work at one refinery stalled for more than two years.

“Second is the issue of investments and turnaround maintenance,” Dr Bello said.

To address this, he said the government was holding a series of talks with investors.

“We are not looking for government money but people’s monies are in there. We want to operate optimally but with efficient partnerships.”

He lamented that it was shameful for Nigeria, the largest oil producer in Africa and 13th globally, to be one of the biggest importer of petrol and the only Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) member state that imports refined products.

“This costs so much money. It is shameful that we produce and ship out,” he said.

“It takes 14 days to ship in refined petroleum products from Europe and about 17 days in all to get that product to Maiduguri (a city in northeastern Nigeria).

“If the refineries were working perfectly, the products would get to as far as Maiduguri in under 24 hours,” Bello said.

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