By CHIKA IZUORA, FIDELIS UGBOMEH, Lagos and FESTUS OKOROMADU,
The hope that Nigeria will begin to engage in local refining has been rekindled as an Indonesian firm, PT Intim Perkasa Nigeria Ltd, a subsidiary of PT Intim Perkasa, Indonesia, has indicated interest to build a refinery in Nigeria.
Mr. Adi Hartadi, the Head of Investor Relations of PTPP (Persero) Tbk, partners to PT Intim Perkasa Nigeria Ltd, who disclosed this in Abuja during a business meeting with the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru, stated that the proposed refinery would be located in Akwa Ibom State.
The refinery, a modular one, will have refining capacity for 10,000 barrels per day.
Hartadi stated that the company has more than 50 years of experience in construction and engineering and is desirous of diversifying into downstream operations in Nigeria.
Responding, the NNPC GMD, Baru, who was represented by the Chief Operating Officer (COO), Refineries and Petrochemicals, Engr. Anigbor Kragha, stated that NNPC places high premium on investment in the nation’s refining sector.
The GMD stated that the Corporation had a Greenfield Refinery Department that specializes in new refinery projects and also provides professional support to potential investors in modular refinery in the country in line with the federal government’s policy on modular refineries.
He explained that the country’s three refineries with a combined capacity of 445,000bpd could not function optimally over the years due to lack of investment, adding that NNPC would give necessary support to the Indonesian Company interest in the downstream sector.
“On our end, we have embarked on ambitious plan to fast-track programmes to restore our capacity utilization from 30 per cent to a minimum of 90 per cent in the next 24 months. To do that, we are working on securing financing from third parties, not just funding, but also technical expertise to help us increase our performance to world class levels that they should be”, Baru stated.
He explained that given Nigeria’s expected population, by 2025 more than 40 million litres of petrol would be required for local consumption, adding that the combined capacity of the nation’s three refineries would only be able to satisfy just above 50 per cent of the projected local demand.
He expressed optimism that with this kind of investment coming steadily, Nigeria could serve as a regional hub of refined petroleum products for West Africa and beyond.
He called on the investors to be mindful of clean fuel policy across African countries and ensure that they produce fuels that meet specification with regards to sulphur content.
Earlier, Dr. Dwiyatna Widinugraha, Third Secretary for Economic Affairs, Indonesian Embassy in Nigeria and the leader of the Indonesian delegation, stated that the visit was a follow-up to the earlier visit by the Indonesian envoy to NNPC, the bilateral meeting between the Indonesian Trade Minister with his Nigerian counterpart as well as the visit of Indonesian Prime Minister to Nigeria.
The Indonesian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Harry Purwanto, had recently expressed interest in purchasing more crude oil from Nigeria during a courtesy call to the NNPC GMD.
Meanwhile, discussions between Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) and major Oil Marketers have reached advanced stage with a view to freight petroleum products from the Southern part of the country to the North by rail.
Managing director of the Corporation, Engr. Fidet Okhiria, who dropped this hint in Lagos recently said that Tank Wagons were imported into the country to support NNPC in the freighting of petroleum products, but that the dynamics of the petroleum sector slowed down the plan.
He posited that it is safer to convey fuel by rail as the problem of shortage and adulteration cannot be associated with transit of petroleum products by railway.
Regarding reports in the social media that construction of Standard Gauge Railway lines in Nigeria is more expensive compared to Kenya where 400 Kilometer Standard Gauge Railway line was constructed at a cost of $billion, the NRC boss posited that the federal government spent less than $1 billion for the construction of 168 kilometer Standard Gauge Railway Line from Kaduna to Kubwa/Iddu as well as payment for the coaches and engine.
He disclosed that the estimated cost of constructing the dual standard gauge Railway Line from Lagos to Kano was estimated at $8.3billion and Lagos to Calabar $11.9 billion.
Okhiria noted that the construction of Railway Lines has an international benchmark depending on whether the terrain is swampy, mountainous, sandy or dry.