“We are moving for the privatization of the refineries in Q1, 2014” – Diezani Alison-Madueke

ABUJA – Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, has broken her silence on the reported privatization of the nation’s comatose refineries, explaining that government plans to rehabilitate them before selling to private sector investors.

Mrs. Madueke who spoke to newsmen in Abuja on Thursday, stated that government wants to rehabilitate the refineries to ensure that it got some commercial value from the sales.

“We are moving for the privatization of the refineries in the first quarter of 2014. At this point in time the negotiation round for the turnaround maintenance of the Port Harcourt Refinery is now completed.

“We started with the TAM with the original contractors who built the Port Harcourt refinery and this was with the intention of ensuring that the right people carried out this TAM once and for all.

Diezani Alison-Madueke“Unfortunately, the actual negotiations have extremely been a long drawn out one because of the prices they came in with. It has taken a number of months of very aggressive robust negotiation to get to the point with Port Harcourt Refinery where we can actually begin to implement the work. Port Harcourt is now on the move in terms of TAM and once that is close to completion Kaduna and then Warri will continue,” she said.

Alison-Madueke added that “the intention was to ensure that government does not sell the refineries when we privatize in the worst possible state to ensure that we get some commercial value for these refineries which are still, I think, in very decent shape but need a lot of refurbishments and a lot of update in terms the core technology they use.

“That is the situation right now but we will kick off the privatization round in 2014. We will have all the due discussions and negotiations with the unions in that period of time as well ensure that we are all working together to make this happen and ensure that it is a win-win situation for all parties.

“But it goes without saying that over the last 20 years government has not done too well at handling major infrastructure and government should not be in the business of handling major infrastructure. So let the private sector come in and let us be little more competitive in the handling of these major entities for the good of all the people of our country and our economy.”
Announcing the commencement of the process of the marginal fields for the second marginal field licensing round with 31 on-shore and off-shore fields on offer, she said government was also determined to rehabilitate the four national refineries prior to their sales to the private sector next year.

Alison-Madueke said the bid process would be completed in the next four months.

The minister, who encouraged local companies to form consortia to increase their capacity to win the fields, noted that Nigerian firms, which have been operating marginal fields licensed in 2001 have done very well.

According to her, “Over the next two weeks, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) will undertake a road show to different parts of the country about the programme. This will be followed by a three and half months of competitive bidding process in line with the Federal Government’s commitment to openness and transparency in the conduct of business activities in the country.

“In carrying out the exercise, government is determined to ensure that proper technical and financial due diligence is done on companies indicating interest in these assets. In this regard, government encourages companies, where possible, to bid in consortia to enable the parties leverage upon each other’s strengths.

“It is now therefore my honour and privilege to flag-off the second marginal field licensing round with 31 fields on offer; 16 of which are located on-shore, while the remaining 15 are in the continental shelf,” she declared.

She explained that government’s decision to hold the bid rounds was geared towards opening up the oil and gas sector of the industry to a wider participation with a view to creating a robust and virile industry that would positively impact on the lives and living standards of Nigerians.

– SUN NEWS ONLINE

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