Nigeria: NNPC Will No Longer Run Refineries - Oil Boss

Offshore drilling. Oil rig.

Nigeria's ailing refineries will no longer be managed by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation after rehabilitation, the Group Managing Director of the corporation, Mele Kyari, has said.

According to a press release by the corporation's spokesperson, Kennie Obateru, Mr Kyari said this on Wednesday in an interview on Arise TV breakfast programme, The Morning Show.

He said a company would be engaged to manage the plants on an Operations and Maintenance (O&M) basis upon the completion of the rehabilitation exercise.

The rehabilitation of the four refineries in the country have gulped billions of naira since 1999 but none of them is yet to operate at full capacity.

"We are going to get an O&M contract, NNPC won't run it. We are going to get a firm that will guarantee that this plant would run for some time. We want to try a different model of getting this refinery to run. And we are going to apply this process for the running of the other two refineries", he said.

He explained that the plan, ultimately, is to get private partners to invest in the refineries and get them to run on the NLNG model where the shareholders would be free to decide the fate of the refineries going forward.

Mr Kyari said this model, which is totally different from the previous approach, would guarantee the desired outcome for the refineries.

Being one of the cardinal programmes on his agenda as be assumed office in July 2019, Mr Kyari said the rehabilitation process was to be in progress in January and to be delivered by 2022.

On the situation with global crude oil price and supply, he assured that things were shaping up.

"Crude oil price is improving by the day. Last week, it was $15 per barrel. Today, it is $32.79 per barrel. We believe the ongoing engagements between global oil producers will bring back demand and once that happens, the market will balance and fully recover by year-end," he said.

Mr Kyari's announcement of private management of the refineries after repairs comes two days after he said the government would no longer subsidise petrol.

The NNPC has been subsidising petrol for Nigerians and spent over N700 billion on subsidy in 2018.

None of Nigeria's four refineries works optimally and the country imports virtually all its petrol needs.

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