The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel IbeKachikwu has called for the prompt rehabilitation of the nation’s refineries as part of measures to prevent them from being sold as scrap.
Speaking on Thursday at a stakeholders’ consultative forum on the draft National Gas Policy and National Oil Policy in Abuja, the Minister warned that if urgent measures were not taken before the Dangote Refinery becomes operational, the nation’s four refineries might be sold as scraps in 2019.
Kachikwusaid:“Refineries would have to work; it is really not an option anymore. And not only should it work, it has to work very quickly. The reality is that if we do not privatise and we do not concession — which is not what we are doing —then we have a responsibility to find private capital to get them to where they should be”.
He added: “This is because if we do not get them to work, in 2019, I can assure you that if Dangote system works well, we would have scraps, we won’t have refineries, because by then it would be too late to do anything.”
He explained that crude oil is still produced at $27 per barrel in Nigeria, adding that no country would produce at that amount at a period when oil price is unpredictable as it is now in the international market.
Explaining further, the Minister said: “There are lots of things we still need to address. Cost is a key issue. We are still at $27 per barrels. No decent country would produce oil at $27 per barrel at a time when the pricing is unpredictable. Again, we are going to try to get those figures below $18 per barrel.
“At every given time in the history of every country, you will always have partial deregulation. The reason been that you have to catch up each time and make an amendment, and even if it is just one day, you might have some level of subsidy for that one or two days before it is removed”.
SOURCE: CITY BUSINESS NEWS