Italian IOC Giant to Revamp Nigerian Port Harcourt Refinery

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Nigeria has signed an agreement with ENI, Italian oil giant for the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt Refinery

THE agreement was signed today in Italy at a meeting between Ibe Kachikwu, Nigerian minister of state for petroleum resources with official of ENI. The meeting was rounded up with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, MOU, between the ENI and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, with ENI committing to the refurbishment of the Port Harcourt Refinery, building of Phase 2 of the Okpai Power Plant and further investments in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry worth over several billions of dollars.

At the meeting, Kachikwu made a presentation to top executives of ENI in Rome, Italy, and enjoined urged International Oil Companies, IOCs, to invest in building refineries in the Nigeria.

He also enjoined them to move beyond just the business of crude exploration to firmly support the vision of enhancing local production of petroleum products in Nigeria by building refineries in the country.

Chief Operating Officer, Refineries of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Anibor Kragha (right) signing the MOU on behalf of NNPC, while Umberto Carrara (left) – Chairman NAOC/EVP, South Saharan Region also signed

Explaining further, he said that the major plan of the federal government is to stop importation of petroleum products in the long term and that it would be expedient that every IOC should invest in building a refinery with a chain of distributions.

He reiterated the urgent need for the building of refineries and power plants to drive the economy of the country.

He also clarified that the refineries could be built by the IOCs, and within a short period of time, investment in the venture could be recouped by direct sales model.

He gave a historical background of the challenges of the sector by stating that the investment is necessary now more than ever considering the fact that Nigeria’s refineries which were built in the 1970s and 1980s are presently working at sub optimal levels and could sufficiently cater for local needs, hence the country is heavily dependent on product importation which creates instability in supply and price of products in the country.

The attempt by previous governments to privatise refineries and attract investment in refineries failed to yield the required result. The present government had promised to correct this by upgrading old refineries and building new ones, thus increasing local production capacity with an objective to reduce importation of petroleum products by 60 percent in 2018, and by 2019 to become a net exporter of petroleum products and value added petrochemicals.

Full delegation from Nigeria(right) and the Italy (left)

The meeting is in furtherance to the minister’s commitment to the full implementation of the #7BigWins; which is the roadmap that focuses on the short and medium term priorities to grow Nigeria’s Oil and Gas industry.

In continuation of the ongoing investment drive in Italy, the minister will be meeting the ministers of foreign affairs and economic development of Italy to formalise this new trend of cooperation between oil majors and Nigeria and will also meet with 10 other oil and gas companies in Italy to further expand the partners of investments in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector, according to a statement signed by Idang Alibi, director, Press, ministry of petroleum resources and made available to Realnews.