This Day (Lagos)

Nigeria: Kaduna Refinery Shut After Pipeline Attack

Kaduna Refining and Petochemical Company (KRPC) has been shut following a damage to the crude oil pipeline feeding it.

This comes as the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) again threatened to completely cripple Nigeria's oil export after the military said it had arrested dozens of militants believed to have recently kidnapped 19 oil workers.

The 110,000 barrel per day (bpd) Kaduna Refinery had been out of operation following recurrent attacks on its feeder pipeline, the Chanomi creek pipeline.

However the refinery was reopened in February this year after the repair of the damaged pipeline and the completion of its Turn Around Maintenance (TAM).

Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) had confirmed that the refinery was fully back on stream, but declined to disclose the actual daily output. It was however learnt that it had since then operated far below its installed capacity utilisation, until the recent shut down.

Reuters reported yesterday that undisclosed persons sabotaged the plant's crude feeding pipeline, but said the NNPC decline to comment on the development.

"There was some vandalism on the crude line," Reuters quoted a source with direct knowledge of the refinery's operations as saying. The agency also quoted the source as saying that the plant has been shut for at least a week.

Nigeria's four refineries have combined installed capacity of 445,000 bpd, but frequent vandalism of their feeder pipelines hampers their operation.

Last Week, the NNPC said the Warri Refinery is currently operating at 70 percent of its installed capacity utilisation of 210,000bpd, while it plans a comprehensive overhaul of the Port Harcourt Refinery.

The Kaduna refinery runs on crude oil imported by pipeline from Chevron's Escravos oil terminal. Although Nigeria is a top African oil producer, it imports some 85 percent of its oil product needs, mainly from European suppliers, the report said.

Reacting to the weekend's announcement by the military, MEND vowed "to bring oil companies operating in Nigeria to their knees", claiming that the 63 militants the army said it arrested at the weekend, had turned themselves in for promised financial payouts.

The Nigerian military on Saturday announced it had arrested a gang leader and 62 of his followers after an eight-hour stand-off. But MEND claimed no fighting took place and that militants surrendered following negotiations brokered by a former militant commander who laid down arms last year under the government amnesty deal. "There was no exchange of gunfire and these individuals handed themselves over to the military in expectance of a reward," the Associated Press quoted the militant group as saying.

Recently, 19 hostages were freed by the military who swooped on the militants hide-outs in the Niger Delta region.

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