Port Harcourt Refining Company (PHRC) managing director Bafred Enjugu told AFP that Nigeria was finally “domesticating” the refining of crude into products, in reference to the successful relaunching of his country’s refining industry under the new President Muhammadu Buhari.

This would improve Nigeria’s energy security and ending a reliance on costly imports, he said.

“To give up on the refineries is like giving up on Nigeria. That’s how strongly I believe about it and we can’t afford to do that,” he explained.

“We can’t go home and tell our children that we have failed to provide the right platform to take off”, adding that “People want to deliver, people want to prove that there is a fortune to be made”.

Nigeria’s refining sector has been suffering lately thanks to the global collapse in oil prices, along with the Nigerian economy and many other African oil producers.

PHRC is the country’s oldest refinery, dating back to 1965, and has a production capacity of 210,000 b/d of crude a day. It has been operating only at 60% of this capacity.

According to the Financial Times, pressure from oil prices has prompted Nigeria into renegotiating its Production Sharing Contracts with companies such as Shell, Chevron, Eni and ExxonMobil.

“We intend to begin the process of the renegotiation of the PSCs to see what value chain and improvements we can have from these contracts”, said Ibe Kachikwu, the new head of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

The Nigerian government receives 70% of its revenues from oil.