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Port Harcourt Refinery

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No To $1.5b For Port Harcourt Refinery Rehabilitation 

By Abba Dukawa

When General Muhammadu Buhari than took over the leadership of the country especially in 2015 as President of Nigeria, there was much high hope and Expectations that PMB’s administration would wave a magic hand and make all Nigeria problems disappeared. GMB’s campaign ran on a ‘Change’ mantra made numerous promises to Nigerians one of the promises is to revived and reactivate dead nation’s Refineries to optimum capacity and also to build more refineries.

Why this much expectations from millions of Buharists and other Nigerians believed that with his experience as the former petroleum minister whose tenure witnessed the construction of Kaduna Refinery with some NNPC deports across the country, people thought he is capable. Six years passed the administration and not able to construct single Refinery or reactivate nation’s Refineries to optimum capacity.

Initially the administration showed commitments on August 27, 2015 when President Buhari approved 65 licences for the establishment of private refineries. Sometime in 2013 former President Goodluck Jonathan approved 18 licences till date, only Dangote’s and Eko Petrochem have shown seriousness in building refineries and about to be commissioned in the nearest future.

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To add salt to injury, Federal Executive Council (FEC), approved the sum of $1.5b, for immediate commencement of rehabilitation works on Port Harcourt Refinery. Even though FEC approval comes amid controversial price increasement in the petrol pump price that was later reversed.

Kuwait is also building Al Zour Oil Refinery for $16b. The capacity of the refinery is 615,000 bpd, Ecuador Refinery was built for $12b a 500, 000 barrels per day (bpd), Shell Petroleum last year sold its Martinez Refinery in California, which is of a similar size as the Port Harcourt refinery, for $1.2 billion and this Martinez Refinery is more profitable than the Port Harcourt Refinery. Dangote Refinery, a 650, 000 (bpd) integrated refinery and petrochemical facility is being constructed for about $15b.

One may wish to ask if the the administration took close look for the approved fund considering cost of building refineries across the world show that the country would have built about two efficient refineries if funds spent on TAM were used for the construction of new refineries, instead of continuously maintaining existing refineries, which were performing poorly despite several attempts to revive them.

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Nigeria has so far spent whopping billion U.S Dollars on the maintenance of loss-making 445, 000 barrels/day capacity refineries, the amount is capable of building two new refineries of the same size going by the cost analysis of refinery projects across the world.

Another question in the lips of Nigerians is if the administration consider the national debt it has grown from N12 trillion in 2015 to N32.9 trillion today.

Indeed $1.5B is shocking enough to cause us to be more confuse in the way administration commit future generations into the bondage of bonds and debt.

Nigeria’s economy is in dire straits and is a fact well known both to the nation and to our international partners. Our refineries have been loss-making for multiple years, and indeed, is just like throwing good money after Bad. The best course of action would be to privatise our refineries to be run more effectively and efficiently,”

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Are we not going too deep into the debt trap for unnecessarily projects. How can the government commit over N500 billion without the recourse to the level of unemployment in the country which has reached an all-time high of 33 per cent, while inflation has hit another record high of 17 per cent.

How long shall we continue to witness such misplacing and costly TAM of our refineries at expense of doing the right and simply decision. One may wish to ask, why the country is unable to establish refineries to refine crude oil to meet the daily need of its people?

Almost six years of the administration in power if it had done the right thing, it could have achieved promise to build more refineries in the country.

Our role as a citizen is to be proactive in telling the truth to those in governance while it is left for them to heed.

*Dukawa wrote in from Kano and can be reached at

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