The Senate Adhoc Committee and federal agencies handling the nation’s oil refineries on Thursday unanimously agreed on the revamping, rehabilitation and maintenance of all refineries through sourced financing from private oil firms.
The Senate had its mandated the Adhoc Committee to probe the planned concession of Port Harcourt Refinery to AGIP/ENI and OANDO Plc without following the due process.
However, the Adhoc Committee at the the public hearing was unable to establish from various agencies present that there was ongoing plans to concession Port Harcourt Refinery to AGIP/ENI and OANDO Plc.
All the government agencies that attended the hearing such as the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation; the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu; and the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Dr. Maikanti Baru, denied any move to that effect.
In his own presentation before the committee, Kachikwu explained that the alleged planned concession story on the refinery must have emanated from concerted efforts being made by his Ministry and NNPC on new arrangements of revamping all the refineries and not that of Port Harcourt alone.
According to him, what is in the pipeline for all the refineries by the government is an arrangement where private investors would bring in money for their repairs to optimal capacities, which will bring about expected incremental volume in their production where their money would be recouped.
“The planned arrangement is the only viable alternative for the Federal Government as far as repair work on the refineries are concerned since the turn around maintenance carried out over the years has failed.”
Kachikwu vehemently denied making all remarks credited to him on alleged planned concession as reported by some dailies.
Also in his presentation, the Chief Executive Officer of OANDO Plc, Wale Tinubu, denied ever making any remark in the media on alleged concession of Port Harcourt refinery to the oil company by the Federal Government.
He said: “I think it is important to note that the whole of these controversies started as a result of the misconception that there is a concession. I think parties in the industry must be allowed to engage the regulators to discuss solutions and possibilities and they must be negotiated and crafted into something worthy of being taken to the regulators to consider whether or not it will lead to concession or transactions worthy of regulators’ approval.
“The truth of the matter is that we do need to be allowed as professionals to carve out our position before we can present it. Along the line, as cooperates, we do meet with our regulators and many times expressions of interests have been submitted regarding how the refineries can be revamped. We call it memorandum of understanding.In my career in the oil sector, I must have signed over a hundred MOUs with the NNPC. And those MOUs are derived because we have a meeting.”
However, the Petroleum Minister accused him of jumping the gun even by his submission that the refinery has been packaged for OANDO’S rehabilitation.