Oil marketers, NNPC differ on claim to sacrifice Warri refinery for Dangote’s
The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) Delta State branch has accused the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) of “deliberately shutting down the Warri Refinery in order to facilitate activities at the Dangote facility which is still under construction.”
The Warri oil infrastructure had been shut down for almost 20 months for alleged technical issues.
The chapter chairman of the association, Comrade Azino Oneimon, said they had investigated the exercise and found nothing wrong with the plant.
But in a swift reaction, the NNPC described the claim as false, insisting that it would not kill its business for other private interests.
The corporation’s Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Dr. Kennie Obateru, said the refinery was being rehabilitated to make it operational like those of Kaduna and Port Harcourt.
The national oil company had announced plans to rehabilitate the refineries to achieve 90 per cent capacity utilisation, wooing third-party financiers and their original builders for funding and technical support.
However, the IPMAN chief went on: “It (refinery) has no problem. But they decide to shut it down for selfish reasons. The Warri refinery is shut down for one year and eight months without any plausible reason. The public is not aware of the reason behind the shutting down.
“Our refineries are not that bad the way the NNPC made the nation to believe. After the junior workers’ strike, the Warri refinery has been down barely one year and eight months. When we asked, they told us that the facility is undergoing test and that when the test is finished, the refinery would be opened again. How long would the test continue?
“We told them that there is much to the closure of the refineries. We were made to know through intelligence report that the refinery is being closed because of Dangote refinery.”
He claimed that all the petroleum products in the country were being imported, “whereas there was nothing wrong with the Warri Refinery.”
They marketers wondered why the NNPC had kept paying the facilty’s large workforce for almost two years amid claim of its non-functioning.
Oneimon said his association had been meeting with the Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company (WRPC) for the re-opening of the refinery.