Refineries upgrade: Joint venture partnership timely — Official

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A worker walks past oil pipes at a refinery in Wuhan, Hubei province March 23, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo

By Solomon Asowata

Lagos, Oct. 26, 2020 Dr Bala David, Group General Manager, Renewable Energy Division, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) says the full scale upgrade of Nigeria’s refineries through Joint Venture partnership is timely.

David said the move by the Federal Government would boost the local refineries’ profit going forward and also increase domestic crude production.

He spoke on Monday at the Virtual Oil Trading and Logistics (OTL) Africa Downstream Expo 2020.

“We have seen many refineries in Africa forced to shut down because of low worldwide refining margins, small local markets, high operating costs, and poor yields (AfDB report).

“The refineries in Nigeria for instance, have operated below 40 per cent capacity utilisation over the past years; and about 70 to 80 per cent of the local petroleum products demand is met through product importation.

“The federal government’s decision for full scale upgrade of Nigeria’s refineries through joint venture partnership is timely.

“This will boost local refineries’ profit margin going forward, ” he said.

According to him, the government, in readiness for the foreseeable
future, has put in place necessary policy to guide investors in exploring and investing in the renewable energy sector in Nigeria.

David said the government had set up the Nigerian Biofuels Industry Programme which aimed at leveraging the agricultural sector for the commercial production of biofuels from some selected energy crops.

He said the biofuels would be used as blend stock for NNPC Refineries Gasoline and Diesel to enhance Octane and Cetane ratings respectively.

David said : “Statistics showed that Nigeria has about 33 million hectares of arable land with favourable agro-climatic conditions across the country and
only about 10 per cent is under cultivation.

“In this light, NNPC is in the process of forming a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for the development of a 91 million liters per annum Cassava to-Fuel Ethanol facility in Okeluse, Ondo State.

” The project is to be constructed
in the Complex under a Zero-Waste Concept.

The African Oil and Gas
Downstream sector will need to prepare itself for the opportunity the Biofuels Industry offers”.

In his goodwill message, Senate President, Mr Ahmad Lawan, said the theme of the 2020 Expo, “Downstream Energy: Renewing Markets, Expanding Options” was very apt.

“This is because it speaks to contemporary policy focus and the importance of alternatives.

“It reminds us of the need to review the markets and stimulate it further, beyond its present state.

“The market is central to the circulation and consumption of products, ” Lawan, represented by Sen. Sabo Nagudu said.

In his address of welcome, Mr Emeka Akabogu, Chairman, OTL Africa commended the federal government for deregulating the downstream sector.

“However, announcement must morph into form, defined by competition, peer review, consumer value and overall market growth.

“This has to be on the back of data, intelligence and strategy, key elements which OTL is focused on to deepen downstream business and policy on the continent,” he added.

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