The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Monday revealed that it was currently considering equity participation in a number of private refineries in the country in line with extant federal government policy directive.
The NNPC stated that the policy stipulates the mandatory participation of the corporation in any privately-owned refinery that exceeds 50,000 barrels per day capacity in keeping with its statutory role of safeguarding national energy security.
In this regard, the national oil company stated that it had identified at least six refinery projects in which it intends to seek equity participation, five of them at the development stage with the Dangote refinery being the largest of them.
A press release by the corporation's spokesperson, Dr. Kennie Obateru, explained that NNPC as a national oil company primarily had a dual role of providing stewardship for the nation's hydrocarbon resources and adding value to the resources for the benefit of all Nigerians and other stakeholders.
" These roles enable it to achieve the twin objectives of providing energy security for the country and stimulating the nation's economic development and growth," Obateru maintained.
He said that NNPC's strategic objective to ensure energy security and stimulate economic growth with limited resources requires it to consider strategic partnerships with competent investors in sectors of the oil and gas value chain, especially where it currently operates on a sole risk basis.
According to the corporation, the oil refining sector is one of such segments where it is revisiting its strategy in order to strengthen domestic refining capacity and guarantee national energy security.
"The new vision is to grow domestic refining capacity, improve petroleum products supply from our local refineries and become a net exporter of petroleum product," it stated.
NNPC assured that the move to seek equity participation in the private refineries would not undercut its commitment to the rehabilitation of its own refineries and strengthen the domestic refining sector.
It stressed that the overall goal is to boost the nation's refining capacity with a view to becoming a net exporter of petroleum products in the soonest possible time and grow the nation's economy.
The corporation, in a pronouncement that has spurred public debate, recently stated that it was interested in taking a 20 per cent equity in the 650,000 barrels per day upcoming Dangote refinery in Lagos.