The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has announced it is planning to reduce the country’s importation of petroleum products by increasing the capacity usage of the nation’s refineries to 60% by the end of 2017, Ecofin Agency informed. The company also expects to reach 80% capacity by the end of 2018.
Nigeria has five refineries with combined capacity of 446,000b/d. Data from industry regulator, Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), indicate that all the refineries combined had worked at an average of 20% since 2010, The Guardian reported.
The capacity increase will boost petroleum products availability and permanently put an end to the burden petroleum subsidy, which was not provided in 2017 budget, but many fear will resurrect given the rising price of crude at the international oil market.
NNPC’s Group Managing Director, Maikanti Baru, said: “We are focusing on the process licensors to come and audit our processes, and they have already started auditing most of our process units in the various refineries.”
The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria’s (IPMAN) National President, Chinedu Okorokwo, had urged the Federal Government to work towards refining more of its crude oil rather than export, stressing it remained the only way to stem the effects of declining crude oil prices on the Nigerian economy.