Nigeria: FG Doesn’t Need to Sell our Refineries

By Ladi Utieyione

There have been controversies among Nigerians on the media on sales and refunds of proceeds of our national assets- refineries.

The Nigerian refineries does not need to be sold to any private company as this will further hinder our pride as a nation with such populated capacity we need to generate and distribute our own manufactured petroleum products so that the average Nigerian can at least live a standard life of cooking their meals and cheap access to public transportation.

It is clear that Nigeria as a nation through our past government had a vision for equality of her citizen and a normal life style for an average Nigerian as one of its sole reason the refineries where built to service all areas in Nigeria in accordance to the national distribution plan for all these refined products as this will enable all citizens be serviced with this products for their daily needs be it transportation or cooking and whatever need for them to use this products.

Most of the refineries around the world today are older compared to the Nigerian refineries. (Warri 1978, Kaduna refinery 1980 and Port-Harcourt refinery, 1989)

The famous Corpus Christi refinery was built in 1975, the famous Amsterdam refinery was built in 1965 and a couple of other refineries that Nigeria crude oil is been refined today are not less than 40 years old. It’s amazing that 90% of Nigerian crude oil is been refined in these old refineries processed and re-sold to Nigerians for a fee.

Nigeria does not need to sell its refineries, all we require as a nation is to employ the services of world renowned refinery experts to come and manage the state of affairs of our refineries. Our major challenge is man power management of these refineries.

The age of the current refinery engineers and personnel currently running all our Nigerian refineries are obsolete and still practice old methodology of several decades. Though its amounts to experience but you see current computerize age has overtaken their skills as they might not be able to match up with the current method of managing these facilities. The Federal Government have to overhaul the man power system of the refineries, put up a consulting firm to manage the day to day running of the refineries.

At this point the federal government should send most of her new university graduates to special training on refinery project management and different academy that will teach these young men the latest skills of operating this facility. Most of these courses are not more than 12 months after which they will come back home to partake in the practical work in our local refineries and train local graduates as well. Then learn from the consulting firm with the aim of developing these young technocrats to be able to man the facility at some point. The government could as well employ the strategy of inviting facilitators to the country to train local graduates.

The FGN should make sure that the actual cost of the parts needed for re installation of damages of improve faculty should be vetted by experts with honesty and open market value for all item(s) that will be needed for the upgrade of the refinery.

It’s clear that private businesses are sabotaging the growth of this process by creating different atrocities in pipe lines. They influence manufacturing company to hype the price of the spares needed for upgrading, vandalize the facility by one way or the other so that they can continue to service the nation and reaping money off our dear nation.

Recently, NNPC stock reconciliation committee recommended that cost of operating these refineries and shipping cost is on the high side and that is one reason our refinery should be sold. As a shipping expert, I must say here that the cost shown from that NNPC committee in spending 12m$ for lifting and transporting of this crude from offshore to our refineries is not correct and regarded as false statement.
Ship sailing from offshore Gulf of Guinea for instance to any of the south-south refinery is less than 24 hours voyage to the jetty for discharge.

Normally operation circle is not more than 30 days for the mother vessels carrying large cargos and shuttle vessels should be based on spot charter.

Mother vessel Freight is average of 80,000$ per day
Shuttle vessels Freight is average of 12,000$ per day

Fenders and hoses including mooring masters and security is average of 5,000$ per day including bunkers for their movement in and out of the area of operations.

Since it’s our national products the need for government fees does not apply. Adding these figures does not amount up to 5 million dollars for operations from offshore to jetty for discharge.

This logistic payment is the only fee needed to be paid to move cargo for refining in our local refineries and if necessary to transport the product directly to Amsterdam, the trip should not elapse 20 days or to America for about 14 days, this means the vessel will not use up to the calculated 30 days figure.

It’s mandatory that the federal government should also seek the services of shipping experts for consultancy and management of these logistics to properly manage the shipping operations with a minimal price and quality service as this will go a long way to save the government from losses and will improve the system of operation in Nigeria.

Engr. Utieyione (MMS), is of the Overseas Marine Services Ltd [email protected] <mailto: [email protected]>