Oil marketers have expressed willingness and capacity to fix Nigeria’s dysfunctional refineries and get the facilities running in the shortest possible time.
Operators of retail outlets in the downstream sector of the oil industry called on the Federal Government to allow oil marketers run some of the country’s ailing refineries.
It was gathered that oil marketers under the aegis of Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria had contacted financial and technical partners on what would be required to effectively run the refineries.
Nigeria’s refineries in Kaduna, Port Harcourt and Warri have been dormant in terms of crude oil refining for several years despite huge expenses incurred on the facilities by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
On November 23, The PUNCH exclusively reported that a total of N81.41bn was expended on the refineries between January and August this year but the facilities refined no drop of crude oil through this period.
To address this, oil marketers told our corespondent in Abuja that they had capacity to get the refineries working and were speaking with technical and financial partners on this.
“The government should call on oil marketers to come and take one or two of the refineries, seek financial and technical partners and make the refineries work,” the President, PETROAN, Billy Gillis-Harry, said.
He added, “We don’t have to predicate our petroleum product prices on international indices. We have four refineries and a few modular refineries that are already on stream now.
“So there should be a way of domesticating our prices, which should be by making sure that we have crude oil available for these refineries to refine and sell domestically first.
“Get PETROAN to run one or two of the refineries because we have the capacity to make sure our refineries work.
“We are offering to partner the government and NNPC to run the refineries on acceptable business strategies and profit sharing processes.”
He said all retail outlet owners in the downstream sector across the country had always wanted the refineries to work and that was what dealers were now asking for.
Gillis-Harry said, “We should be given Warri and Port Harcourt refineries and partner government in reviving them, refine crude oil and control our prices, which we can do.”
He said oil marketers were also capable of buying the facilities if the government so desired.
“If they give them to us to buy we are more than happy to look for resources because we are already talking to technical and financial partners across the globe with the aim of making our country’s economy work,” the PETROAN president stated.
Gillis-Harry described refineries as major contributors to economic stability.
“This is because every litre of fuel you buy has the United States dollar on it and we don’t run our economy on dollar, rather it is run on naira,” he said.
He added, “So by introducing a foreign currency at all times, it depletes the resources that should stabilise and grow our economy.
“This is why PETROAN is proposing to the government to give us the refineries to run and we will run them efficiently.”
On whether the recent reduction in petrol price by N5 per litre would warrant the re-introduction of subsidy, Gillis-Harry stated that it would not.
He argued that petrol subsidy had gone and would remain so, adding that it would be detrimental to the economy if the government should bring back subsidy on refined petroleum products.