By Mike Cohen
Nigerian National Petroleum Corp.’s four oil refineries are running at about 30 percent of installed capacity because of interruptions in the supply of crude, a company official said.
“We should be operating at 60 percent in all of the refineries,” Philip Chukwu, group executive director responsible for refining at the state-run company, told reporters today at a African Refiners Association conference in Cape Town. “We are capable of doing that. The problem we have is the feedstock. We have problems with the lines sometimes.”
Nigeria’s refineries have the capacity to process 445,000 barrels of crude a day. Oil supplies have been intermittently disrupted by attacks on the pipelines by militants in the southern Niger River delta. NNPC has used ships to transport crude to its 125,000 barrel-per-day Warri Refinery to decrease its reliance on piped oil.
All four refineries are undergoing routine maintenance, while equipment is being procured to undertake “extraordinary” maintenance that should enable the plants to operate at 60 percent of capacity by the end of next year, Chukwu said.
Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer, relies on fuel imports to meet its domestic fuel needs that can’t be supplied by domestic plants.
NNPC and China State Construction Engineering Corp. agreed in May to seek $23 billion in funding to build three new oil refineries and a petrochemical complex in the West African country.
“We are just at the conceptual stages” and no funding agreements have been concluded, Chukwu said. He was unable to say when construction of the new plants is expected to begin.
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