Nigeria Seeks Integrated Solution to refinery challenge

…As Warri refinery laments Pipeline Vandalism

Determined to ensure that the perennial challenges facing the nation’s traditional refineries of Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna, are resolved once and for all, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke has advocated an integrated approach to tackling the challenge in such ways as to ensure maximum output within the shortest possible period.

The Minister had recently constituted a task force to review the operation of the refineries with a view to establishing efficiency and commercial viability among other functions.

Pushing the refinery rehabilitation drive a notch higher, Mrs. Alison-Madueke, during an inspection tour of the Warri Refining and Petrochemicals Company, WRPC, charged the managers and workers of the 34-year old plant to join forces with all stakeholders as the Federal Government seeks to address the problems plaguing the nation’s refineries in a holistic manner.

“While we pursue the challenge of improving refining capacity we must understand the various components of what we need to do to ensure that our drive to making our refineries efficient and profitable comes to fruition,” the Minister stated.

Describing WRPC as one of the nation’s most important oil and gas facility, the Minister saluted the courage and commitment of workers who through the years have defied the odds to keep the plant running.

Mrs. Alison-Madueke noted that the revitalization plan would not only target the equipments but will also focus on improved manpower development through sustainable skill and professional upgrade exercise both at home and abroad for the operators of the plant.

Welcoming the Honourable Minister to the facility, Simon Ehiemua, Managing Director of WRPC lamented the incidents of pipeline vandalism as well as the growing cases of robbery attacks and kidnap of WRPC personnel.

Providing a breakdown of recorded cases of attacks on the crude supply as well as product evacuation pipelines, Mr. Ehiemua stated that the activities of pipeline vandals pose a massive threat to the operation of the refinery.

“In 2011 we recorded 39 breaks on the 68km crude supply pipeline from Escravos to WRPC. These include seven blast points, 30 valve insertions and two nipple plantings,’’ he said.

To mitigate the effect of these attacks, the WRPC arranged a backup supply of about 30,000 barrels of crude per day through marine vessels.

The situation was even more compounded in the product evacuation pipeline as a total of 91 hack saw cuts and 20 valve insertion attacks were recorded in 2011 bringing the tally to 111 within the period.

Mr. Ehiemua stated that despite the challenge the refinery has carried on with the task of contributing to the nation’s refined products needs with significant yields of Premium Motor Spirits, Liquefied Petroleum Gas, Household Kerosene, Automotive Gas Oil, Fuel Oil, Light Naphtha and Heavy Naphtha.

The Minister also visited the adjoining Pipelines and Product Marketing Company, PPMC, depot as well as the crude reception and product evacuation facilities.

Mrs. Alison-Madue was accompanied on the working visit by the Director of Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, Mr Osteen Olorunshola; Group Executive Director , Refining and Petrochemicals, Engr. Philip Chukwu as well as the GED Exploration and Production, Engr. Andy Yakubu among others.

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