by Ihegazie Hope Chidinma
Senator representing Cross River North, Oko Rose Okoji has urged other senate members to mandate an Ad Hoc committee to invite the Minister of state for petroleum and the Group Managing Director of NNPC for briefing on the statues of the existing refineries.
Okoji stated this in a motion she raised which was seconded by senator representing Ebonyi North, Egwu Samuel Ominyi and Senator representing Benue North East, Suswam GabrielTorwua on Tuesday 23 July at the national assembly, Abuja.
Okoji explained that Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency PPPRA, and Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation( NNPC) between 2006 and 2018 at least 10 trillion has been spent on petrol import subsidy while the senate in May 2019 criticized the payment of 11 trillion to oil marketers as subsidy in the last six years.
He said that even though the president removed subsidy in May 2016 amid falling crude oil price and an economic recession, more than $160 million was spent on subsidy in early 2017 as the national oil company absorbed cost due to an increase in crude oil price.
” NNPC has four refineries with a combined installed capacity of 445,000 barrels per day and despite the huge resources expended on Turn Around Maintenance, none of the four refineries currently works up to 50 per cent of their capacity according to official figures from the NNPC”.
” Despite the promises and plans by government to bridge shortages in downstream infrastructure and specifically fix Nigeria’s moribund refineries and make them work to optimal capacity by 2019, the former oil minister admitted while speaking last year in Lagos at the 18th edition of the International Biennial Health Safety and Environmental HSE conference on the oil and gas industry in Nigeria that those plans will not materialize until 2020 when Dangote Petroleum Refinery’s 650,000 barrels per day, Nigeria’s four refineries of 450,000bpc capacity and three modular refineries come on stream”.
He therefore urged the NNPC members to brief the senate on the state of the existing petroleum subsidy to ensure self sufficiency in domestic refining of petroleum products.