NNPC denies sale of Port Harcourt Refinery to Agip
• Sets up technical committee on IOCs’ involvement in rehabilitation
• NUPENG declares support for refineries’ resuscitation
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has said there are no plans to privatise the Port Harcourt Refinery.
NNPC insisted that it was shopping for investors who are willing to fund the rehabilitation of refineries in Nigeria for optimum capacity utilization.
Already, the corporation has set up a technical committee concerning the role of International Oil Companies (IOCs) in the funding and rehabilitation of refineries in Nigeria.
Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Ndu Ughamadu, said there were no plans to privatise the Port Harcourt Refinery.
Ughamadu stated: “What we have done is to look for investors who have the fund to invest and revamp the refineries and look for ways to recoup their money, rather than leaving the refineries idle with thousands of staff.
“A technical committee has been set up, which is expected to report to the steering committee after doing the analysis of the refineries. The steering committee will report to the board, which would now report to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu.
“Oando has said that it has not signed any agreement with any company concerning the refineries.”
A source from Eni’s Nigeria subsidiary Agip Oil Company, who said that he is not authorized to give official statement on the matter said the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and Chairman of the Board of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu and the Chief Executive Officer of Eni, Claudio Descalzi, had agreed to cooperate for the rehabilitation and enhancement of Port Harcourt refinery during a business meeting.
According to the source, Eni is not interested in buying Port Harcourt Refinery but was only interested in helping to resuscitate it.
The source noted that Eni’s involvement in the refinery was a fall out of a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the two parties when they met in Rome to further strengthen the longstanding and fruitful partnership in Nigeria.
He referred The Guardian to the media statement issued by the Italian company, which stated that NNPC and Eni, through its subsidiaries Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) and Nigerian Agip Exploration (NAE), signed an MoU to promote new activities that can significantly boost Nigeria’s social and economic development.
The statement obtained by The Guardian, noted concerning the refining sector that the parties agreed to cooperate for the rehabilitation and enhancement of Port Harcourt refinery.
Concerning power generation, access to energy will be further enhanced by doubling the power generation capacity in Okpai IPP by fast tracking development of its Phase II, making it one of the largest combined cycle power plants in Africa.
“Finally, the MoU sets the basis for the assessment of the electrical national grid reliability and of most efficient renewable energy projects, to secure energy accessibility in the Country’s most remote areas,” it added.
Also, a source in Oando Plc, said: “This is not a concession or privatization programme. It is a Repair, Operate and Maintain (ROM) agreement and the MOU signed is between the Federal Government and ENI. Oando is involved as local partners to ENI
“As local partners to NAOC/ENI Oando will support the rehabilitation of Port Harcourt Refinery on activities of terminalling, logistics, structuring and funding
“We cannot speak officially due process and government agencies not carried along as you would need to contact the NNPC on the process implemented. However this is neither a concession or privatization programme so the process that is being alluded to has no credence”.
The sources however said that Oando is open and willing to present itself to the Senate to clarify any issues on this programme.
But Oando’s Chief Strategy and Corporate Services Officer, Ainoije ‘Alex’ Irune, had made clarification in a statement that the partnership between Oando and NAOC/Eni in the proposed rehabilitation will be based on a repair, operate and maintain (ROM) agreement which will see the refinery capacity grow from its current 30 per cent to 100 per cent, its nameplate capacity of 210,000 BPSD.
“In line with the concerted efforts of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the NNPC to aggressively drive private sector led refineries rehabilitation and expansion programs,
Irune said that active negotiations are ongoing, adding that it is expected that a final agreement will be reached by end of July 2017.
Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Joseph Ogbebor, said the union is ready to back the Federal Government on any move that would lead to the resuscitation of the refineries.
Ogbebor said: “We are ready to support the Federal Government on which ever business model they want to introduce on rehabilitating the refineries . But the jobs of our members should be protected. Anything that will affect the jobs of our members are going to be resisted by us.
Our members are doing great jobs at the refineries and they need to be encouraged.”