There appears to be an end in sight to the recurring long queues at fuel stations nationwide as the planned completion of ongoing maintenance of the country’s four refineries and the Dangote refinery nears completion. in Lekki, Lagos will ensure that refined petroleum products are no longer imported into the country from mid-2023.
The Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), Mele Kyari, who made it known at a press conference at the State House, Abuja on Tuesday, also said that the NNPC had shut down some pipelines for inability to cover production costs. , because of losses.
The boss of NNPCL further said that the phenomenon of oil theft is now widespread with mosques, churches being used as listening points by oil thieves.
Commenting on the need to end the importation of petroleum products by the middle of 2023, Kyari pointed out that with a combination of output from the domestic refineries, which are currently being renovated and will be ready by next year, and the products of the Dangote refinery, in which Nigeria holds 20% of the capital, Nigeria should meet domestic needs, with no need for imports from mid-2023.
His words: “NNPC owns 20% of the capital of the Dangote refinery and not only, and we are very proud of it. We don’t just own 20% of the capital, we have the right of first refusal to supply crude oil to this plant.
“But we saw this energy transition challenge coming, we knew at that time that you would be looking for people who would buy your crude oil that you wouldn’t find and that means we locked in the ability to sell crude oil for 330,000 barrels minimum right here for the next 20 years.
“In addition, we also have full access to 20% of the production of this factory. That means whatever he does, you know we have the right to take 20% of that production as part of our equity and that refinery will come online no later than the middle of next year.
“The projection is in the first quarter, but we think it can arrive no later than the middle of next year. If so, this refinery alone, because it has a capacity of 650,000 barrels and a technology different, which means it can crack crude in such a way that it has more gasoline than a typical refinery.
“This means the refinery has the capacity to produce up to 50 million liters of PMS. So the combination of that and our own ability to bring our refinery back will completely eliminate any potential import of petroleum products into this country next year. You will not see any imports into this country next year. It’s very useful. It’s possible.
“In fact, when we are done with our refineries and the Dangote refinery, we are carrying out many, many small initiatives; small modular condenser refineries that we are building, if that happens, and we are very optimistic that it will happen.
“You will see that this country will now be a net exporter, we hope to export petroleum products, not only to the West African sub-region, but to the rest of the world. It will happen, the supply flow will change – by the middle of next year it will change. Thus, you will not need to import petroleum products into this country by the middle of next year”.
Lamenting the level of losses on the country’s pipelines, Kyari said the illegal trade of pipeline vandals crosses different regions and religious organizations where the pipelines pass, adding that some of the pipelines are illegally connected around churches and mosques.
Emphasizing that the problem of crude oil theft is real, he said the company was not helpless as its efforts were paying off.
According to him, 295 illegal connections were discovered on a line less than 200 meters away, and that the company, with the help of security agencies and the directive of the Chief of the Defense Staff, was able to intervene.
He indicated that so far, 30 Speed Boats, 179 Wooden Boats, 37 Trucks have been arrested, adding that the authorities have taken the decision not to arrest anymore but to burn these confiscated products.
Furthermore, he said that 122 people, including high-ranking figures, were arrested between April and August 2022 and some of them were handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for prosecution.
Kyari said 739 furnaces for illegal theft of crude oil were discovered and some destroyed, and 344 tanks created and 355 cooking pots also discovered, pointing out that the level of illegal trade was huge.
Explaining why some oil facilities across the country had to be closed, Kyari said “as you may also be aware, due to the very unfortunate acts of vandals along our main pipelines from Atlas Cove to Ibadan, and all the others connecting all of the 37 depots we have across the country. You know, none of them can take delivery today.
“And the reason is very simple. For some of the lines, for example, from Warri in Benin, we haven’t operated that line for 15 years. Every molecule of product we put in gets lost and of course you remember the sad incident of the fire very near Warri, near Sapele which killed so many people.
“So we had to shut it down and as we speak, ladies and gentlemen, the level of losses we have on our product pipeline, and I’m sure you may have seen it and I’ll invite you at the right time so that we can examine it together.
“You remember this area of Lagos. When a fire occurred in one of our pipelines, we discovered that some of the pipelines were actually connected to individual homes and not only that, and with all the sensitivity of our religious beliefs, you know, some pipelines and some of the products we found are actually in churches and mosques.
“It means everyone is involved. There’s no way you’re picking up product, driving trucks into populated neighborhoods, loading it up, and driving away without everyone knowing about it. That everyone includes members of the community, members of religious leadership and also and most likely government officials of all kinds, including security agency personnel. They are everywhere and I have seen this even in the Niger Delta. There is no way to deliver volume and lose up to 30% and you will continue to put products in this line.
Regarding the controversial pipeline monitoring contract recently awarded to former Niger Delta agitator Ekpemupolo government also known as Tompolo, the NNPCL boss explained that the contract was not awarded to Tompolo in as a person but to a company in which he is interested.
He said it was not the first time that individuals in the Niger Delta region had been awarded a contract to monitor the pipeline, noting that the contract was in the interest of the people.
He added that the federal government made the right decision to hire private contractors to run its nationwide pipeline network.
Kyari argued that while security agencies are doing their part, end-to-end monitoring of the pipeline would require the involvement of private entities and community actors.
According to him: “What we have done is to do three things. First, to ensure that the government security agencies play their part, we have our navy, the army and are doing a great job of containing that, but as you do, that sustenance is paramount and so we have also decided that we needed private contractors to outfit the ROW and also operate outside of the ROW so they can also join us to manage community members
“We don’t have access to it and therefore we have put in place a framework where contractors have been selected through a tendering process for people who can do it, not everyone can do it. do and Tompolo is just mentioned, we are dealing with legal persons.
“He may have a stake in the business, we don’t deal with Tompolo, but we know he has a stake in this business. We know we are hiring anyone else who can help us in this situation. That’s ‘has happened many times over time and the end result has been that it’s been contained in a process like this and we think we’re making the right decision’.