Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, yesterday, said President Muhammadu Buhari and the President of Niger Republic, Mahamadou Issoufu, would in the coming weeks sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the construction of a new refinery in a border town between both countries and close to Katsina State.
The minister also revealed that much-awaited overhaul of the country’s refineries would become a reality next month, as plans have been concluded to complete necessary arrangement with financials.
Guardian reports that Kachikwu insisted there was no going back on government’s commitment to end environmental challenges in the oil-producing region, especially the need to bring an end to gas flaring in the next two years.
Speaking on the new refinery, he said: “The refinery talks are at advanced stages. We expect the two Presidents to meet soon for the joint signing of the MoU.
The minister said on his Twitter handle, @ibekachikwu “On local production capacity and local consumption we are in an era where public sector funds are no longer used for refinery Turn Around Maintenance (TAM).
“We are looking forward to completing the process by July 2018.”
He said government would put policies in place to fast-track private sector involvement in the downstream sector, as nameplate capacity utilisation of existing refineries would still not ensure 100 per cent consumption availability.
He noted that the roadmap launched by the administration, otherwise called the ‘7 bid wins,’ has helped in boosting oil production and sustaining peace in the oil-producing region.
According to him, continuous engagement with stakeholders and partnership with PANDEF added huge value towards improved figures of oil output.
On the Niger Delta and security, Kachikwu stated that after the collaborative work done with other Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), state governments are now fully involved.
“On modular refineries, two are structured to be delivered early in 2019. Five are deep in the fabrication process and we are looking at delivering a total of about 10,” he added.