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Warri Refinery: Incessant Pipelines Vandalisation Reduces Production Capacity To 60%

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BEVERLY HILLS, CA, June 25, (THEWILL) - A major haulage and storage crisis at the Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company Limited, (WRPC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), is affecting the operations of the refinery, leading to a drop in production capacity, THEWILL has learnt.

The refinery is said to be currently producing at 60 percent capacity due to alleged sabotage on one of its evacuation channels.

THEWILL learnt that the refinery which evacuates its refined products through pipeline, tankers and vessels is now restricted to the use of only tankers and vessels which are capital intensive due to incessant vandalisation of pipeline which conveys crude oil from the various fields of Chevron Nigeria Ltd (CNL) in Escravos to Warri and Kaduna refineries.

The pipelines are often ruptured by oil thieves at various locations from Escravos to Warri. The attack on the pipelines had often led to the cut off of crude oil supply to the plant, thus compounding the challenges of the refinery.

Managing Director, WRPC, Engr. Paul Obelley, confirmed this on Wednesday when he played host to members of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, (NUJ), Warri Correspondents Chapel, during a courtesy visit led by its Chairman, Comrade Michael Ikeogwu.

According to Obelley, despite the challenges of pipeline vandalism, the Warri Refinery remains the most viable refinery in the country.

He said in spite of the obvious setback caused by vandals, the refinery was still running effectively .

According to him, the predicament owing to vandals' onslaught on the pipelines had forced refineries in the country to reduce their daily output due lack of storage facility.

'If we remove the pipeline issue, it means that 40 per cent cannot be taken out. Most times, we are restricted to 60 per cent capacity because if we go above that, we will shut down because we cannot evacuate.

'The pipelines are in bad state because people are constantly vandalising them,' he said, , adding that products that were supposed to be evacuated from the refinery through pipelines are now being conveyed by tankers and vessels which, he said, are cost intensive.

'Pipeline vandalisation has hampered our operations. We now use ships to transport crude oil to the refinery. We can't operate pipelines because of the risk involved. The media should discourage people from engaging in vandalisation. Try to educate them that vandalism is not good,' he added.

Obelly however described several negative reports concerning the refinery as untrue, noting that since his appointment as Managing Director , a lot had been recorded.

He however expressed his determination to increase production of petroleum product in the refinery, adding that they are doing their best to keep the refinery running.

The MD said that they would do everything possible to ensure that the refinery does not pack up .

Obelly however tasked journalists on developmental journalism, appealing that they should always cross check their facts before publishing as most negative reports about WRPC are unverified.

He promised to partner with the media in Warri to ensure the cordial relationship the firm had with the press over the years.

Speaking earlier, Chairman of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Warri Correspondents Chapel, Ikeogwu, commended Obelley for his leadership quality even while he was the Executive Director Operations when they used local content to revive the refinery.

Ikeogwu therefore used the opportunity to inform the WRPC boss of the forthcoming Press Week of the NUJ Chapel in Warri slated to hold in September and solicited for the support of the company. He also introduced the ongoing bi-monthly programme tagged “Searchlight on State of the State” to the WRPC boss.