Illegal Refineries in Niger Delta

Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, outgoing Nigeria’s Minister of Petroleum Resources has admitted the failure of the Buhari government of which he is a part of to fulfill its promise to build a new refinery.

Kachikwu also admitted to the failure of the government through its various security agencies to eradicate illegal refineries operating in the Niger Delta area of the nation.

According to Kachikwu though President Buhari prior to the run-up to the 2015 presidential election promised to build a new refinery in the Niger Delta, he was not ashamed to admit that it did not materialize.

Kachikwu while granting an interview to the punch newspaper on Saturday said he was not afraid to say and admit that he failed to deliver the mandate.

He, however, scores himself high in formulating and implementing right policies which have impacted positively on the petroleum sector in Nigeria.

Among some of his achievements according to him is the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill even though its sister legislation the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill was not signed by the President.

“If you look at the refineries, the first problem we had was that they were not functioning when I assumed office in 2015 and because of the huge apparent fuel scarcity; it was a major problem for me if I had to wait for vessels to arrive each time to meet the delivery timeline.

“These were the problems. So I was focused on how to get them working, at least to start, no matter how little and all they gave me was one million litres a day.

“The pipelines that were supplying fuel had all been destroyed and they had entered into a contract before we came in, to supply product by vessels.

“The cost of those vessels supplied was more than the value of the crude oil that was being supplied. It did not make any financial sense. So I canceled that and challenged Nigerians who were in this entity to go and use their money to repair the pipelines.” he said.

Kachikwu also harped on measures he put in place through the Department of Petroleum Resources DPR that lead to the recovery of some oil fields and proper metering of oil production through the launching of the DPR database.

He said: “Metering is fine but once we capture this data, a level of metering is already going on and we are capturing that on a day-to-day basis. I can say we are producing 2.3 million barrels, using the DPR data. What I like to do, however, is to interrogate the data. We just launched it about two months ago. We are tracking you from when you produce to when you put it in the tank to when you deliver it and to when it is discharged. So in terms of transparency and what we produce, it is not an issue.”

Kachikwu also spoke on the inability of the government’s efforts to get rid of illegal refineries still in operation in various locations of the country.

He regretted that despite massive security measures put in place and the incentives that were given to communities to undertake the building of modular refineries instead of illegal refineries the problem continued to persist.