FG should prioritise modular refineries to tackle fuel scarcity — Ifeanyi Ubah

Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Senator Ifeanyi Uba, has urged the Federal Government to be intentional about the modular refineries as a strategy to ending Nigeria’s fuel scarcity.

Ubah said this at the ongoing Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, Texas, U.S., on Thursday.

“I am proposing that the government should come up with a very laudable position to stimulate the development of modular refineries that can refine crude oil within the riverine areas and use competent experts to operate them.

“The government needs to take a big leap in investing in these modular refineries. They will grow bigger. We do not need to place the sector on a single operator.

“Nobody does it. Everybody wants to maximise profit. The only thing that will crash prices is competition.

“We can use between $300 million and $500 million to establish one refinery and the owners can recoup their monies within 5-10 years.

“We can use money from Local content and other sources to energise modular refineries. It will make Nigeria to be self-reliant in refining its petroleum products. So, let us take a step,” he said.

Port-hacourt refinery
On the government-owned refineries, Uba said that government could encourage different experts to form consortia to buy the refineries.

“The people in authority should advise the government to take the right steps.

“We do not need people who will advise the government to monopolise the space.

“Already, we have set up a technical team to visit the refineries every two weeks to make sure that they work because this is a mandate given to me,” he said.

On gas flaring, Ubah said: “We intend to hold a public hearing in the next few weeks in about nine states of the federation.

“This will enable us to hear from the locals. Many stakeholders, including Nigerian Civil Defense, the Nigerian Army, The Nigerian Navy, the Police and other security agencies and NNPC Ltd. will tell us about important issues, especially pipeline vandalism and oil theft.

“It is going to be a holistic public hearing. We are working very hard to see that, under my tenure as the joint chairman of oil theft Joint Committee Chairman, Ad Hoc Chairman on Turnaround Maintenance and Downstream Chairman.

“We are going to do something that Nigerians will be very proud of.

“As somebody who has been an operator, and who understands the industry, I know what to do. I just assumed office about three months ago.

We are going to advise government on some of these issues from a legislative perspective.”

According to him, Port Harcourt and Warri refineries will be fully operational by the end of the year.

He said plans have already been put in place to achieve the target, adding that the Kaduna Refinery would also be operational before the end of 2025.

“With additional 650,000 production capacity of Dangote Refinery, when it’s finally completed, it will boost domestic fuel demand.”

The senator also urged the federal government and other stakeholders to work toward the establishment of modular refineries to further expand the nation’s domestic capacity to refine crude oil.

He said: “My mandate is to ensure that the refineries in Nigeria are up and functional. By my involvement, before the end of this year, two refineries will be up and running.

“Also, before the end of next year, the Kaduna refinery will come on stream. Also, the production of jet oil, and lubricant will be produced by mid-next year.

“I can assure Nigerians that I will tirelessly pursue and ensure that these refineries are up and running before the end of the year.

“We have set up a technical team to visit the refineries every two weeks in order to meet the set target,” he said

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