Chris Steven, Abuja
The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has attributed the inability of the Port Harcourt refinery to perform beyond 60 percent to the shortfall of crude oil supply to the facility.
According to him, all the components of the refinery are working well noting however that the main challenge is crude supply which he said is the major resources for the refinery to function.
Saleh Abdullahi, Chairman of PENGASSAN in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), disclosed this while speaking to newsmen in Port Harcourt, at the end of his visit to the Port Harcourt refinery.
Abdullahi said, “I heard news reports that the refineries are not working but today, we have decided to invite you to come and see for yourself and we have gone through the Control Room and you can see that all the components of the refinery are working.
“The only challenge now is capacity utilization, which at the moment is 60%. We will like to have it more than that. We will like to take it to the level of 90% or 95% utilization. So, we don’t have what we need to have because of some challenges. Key among the challenges is crude supply; without crude supply, of course, there won’t be a refinery.
“The other challenge is evacuation. Even when we refine, we expect that there will be loading of those products to create room for new products that are coming in. We have challenges with that evacuation. Sometimes, because we are dealing with machines, they will fail; because of maintenance issues here and there. You can see for yourself that the refineries are okay.”
He stated that members of PENGASSAN are opposed to the planned sale of the Port Harcourt refinery because of the effect such action would have on the country’s energy sector.
“Do I support the sale of the refinery? No and yes. We are not supporting the sale of the refinery in totality. As we know, the PIGB has been passed in the Senate. Even provisions of that PIGB makes room for 20% government equity to be in the hands of the Bureau of Public Enterprise and that means that eventually, the 20% will go up.
“What we are saying is that at the moment, it doesn’t make sense for you to give 100% of your energy sector an give to private hands. Yes, you will like to do it but it has to be a gradual process; you have start by giving out small percentages and monitor the progress made.” He added