FG, investors’ N8.1tr refineries deal collapses

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The negotiation between the Federal Government and investors for the construction of 10 refineries worth N8.1 trillion ($51.8 billion) has collapsed.

Government had earlier signed an N8.1 trillion ($51.8 billion) worth of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with various local and international investors between 2011 and 2012 for the construction of 10 new refineries across the country.

“As at the moment, none of the investors is ready to go ahead with the agreement,” said a source who claim to be in the know of the various transactions said, adding that “Don’t forget that many of these investors have not been able to meet deadlines, therefore, they could not progress to the next level of negotiation.”

Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, had earlier confirmed the foot-dragging on the implementation of agreement with investors on the Greenfield refineries when she spoke on the sideline of the last Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, Texas, United States (US).

The move to construct these 10 refineries was, according to the minister, part of efforts towards reducing the country’s over-dependence on importation of petroleum products for domestic consumption.

Represented by the Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu, Alison-Madueke said that while government is making effort to ensure that the four refineries in the country are producing up to full capacity, it was also working hard to ensure that the proposed Greenfield refineries are up and running.

She said that “We must get the business model right. There are quite a number of issues that are wrong. No investors will want to invest in a regulated environment.

“Today, the petroleum product market is regulated and there are quite a number of things that are needed to be done to ensure that the business environment is conducive enough for investors to invest.

“The business models must be right. We are working hard to establish investors’ confidence in the Greenfield refineries. There are four refineries with a combined name plate capacity of 445,000 barrels per day built in Kaduna, Port Harcourt and Warri.

“We have LNG plant with installed capacity of 22 million tonnes per annum.The country is currently implementing two additional LNG projects, which will give a total in-country capacity of over 40 million tons per annum when completed. “The long-term plan is for Nigeria to become the gas hub of the sub-region.

“The history of oil and gas exploration is replete with how new paradigms have successfully created new opportunities, which hitherto were thought to be non-existent. The West African Transform margin plays an excellent example of this. Prior to its emergence as a hotbed of exploration activities, the West Africa oil province was dominated by onshore and shallow water production from Nigeria, Gabon, Angola and to some extent, Equatorial Guinea.”

She said that Nigeria has over 35 billion barrels of proven oil reserves and 187 trillion Cubic Feet (TCF) of proven gas reserves with plans to increase it in the next few years.

Diezani disclosed that the current crude oil and condensate production runs at over 2.4 million barrels per day and gas of over eight billion cubic feet per day.

“It is projected that based on current industry trend, crude oil and gas production would rise to over three million barrels per day and 10 billion cubic feet per day by 2015.”

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