Nigeria needs $2.5 billion (N765 billion) to make its four refineries function at between 90 and 95 per cent capacity, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu has disclosed.
The minister, who spoke yesterday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, noted that government was considering the best investment options for the facilities in a bid to address the growing petroleum products subsidy that ran into N10 trillion between 2006 and 2018 alone.Besides, the nation’s economy is burdened by a debt profile in the region of N24.387 trillion as well as a yearly loss of N132.5 billion from the refineries.
Kachikwu and officials of agencies under his ministry are currently in the Asian nation discussing investment opportunities at the behest of President Muhammadu Buhari. Also, the host country has hinted of plans to establish an independent refinery in Nigeria as a veritable hub to reaching other African nations.
The minister acknowledged that a lot of options were on the table but quickly added that the country needed to be decisive. On why the delay, he said: “I can’t make a final decision alone in terms of what options to be chosen. In terms of what options on the table for the refineries, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) negotiated with the investors for like one and half -years after the president approved.Unfortunately, they couldn’t reach conclusion for whatever reason. We are obviously going to revisit the discussion. I think that’s the fastest way to go.
“The second option is that, we decided that we are going to dip our hands into our own internal funds, which we don’t have a lot of and make the money available. What is required is about $2.5 billion to rekit the entire refineries and the reason why I don’t want to go that way is the fact that the country is constrained.” Kachikwu said Nigeria’s third option was to target countries that could help out in terms of refining, insisting getting the refineries up running back to 90/95 per cent template was necessary without further delay.He stated that the nation remains upbeat because of existing resources, location and technical know-how that would bolster investment decision.
In a related development, the premier geological and geophysical subsidiary of the NNPC, Integrated Data Services Limited (IDSL), has mulled boosting its seismic data acquisition technologies and capacities to handle 90 per cent of all seismic exploration projects in the country.
The plan would facilitate Federal Government’s aspiration of growing the national reserves base to 40 billion barrels. Its Managing Director, Morrison Tariah, dropped the hint yesterday in Benin City, Edo State. Consequently, he said his organisation had entered a strategic partnership with BGP of China to capture 90 per cent data acquisition market share in Nigeria and other sub-regions on the African continent.