Nigeria is the only member country in the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) that imports petrol and is currently the largest importer of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) in the world, Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru, said in Abuja yesterday.
Baru, who spoke through NNPC’s Chief Operating Officer (COO), Upstream, Alhaji Bello Rabiu, at the 2018 Oloibiri Lecture Series (OLEF) while responding to questions from delegates, said the country had reached such import level because the refineries had not worked to their maximum capacity.
The OLEF, organised annually by the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), Nigeria Council, in commemoration of the first oil well drilled in Nigeria at Oloibiri in Bayelsa State in 1956, brings together key industry players to chart the right path for the oil sector.
“As we speak today, Nigeria is the only OPEC country that imports petrol and we are the largest importer of PMS in the world,” Baru said.
“We actually import one million tonnes of PMS every month into a country that produces oil and gas and has refinery. It is a shameful thing, it doesn’t make sense and that is what we are trying to address,” he added.
He said the refineries have not been operating at maximum capacity, but that the NNPC was working to address these challenges with the imminent announcement of investors who would bring in funding for the repair of the plants.
“Upgrades of our refineries from the current name plate capacity of 445,000 barrels of crude oil per day (bpd) to at least 1million bpd is the focus. Discussions with relevant investors and financiers are ongoing. The expectation is that the refineries will be fully back on stream by December 2019,” he said.
The Chairman of SPE Nigeria Council, Mr. Chikezie Nwosu said the SPE-OLEF now in its 18th year, had become a forum that brought together key industry players to discuss on topical issues in the energy industry with a view to influencing the right policy direction to enable the growth of the industry and the economy.
Earlier, in an oil industry address, the GMD announced that Nigeria had seen the most aggressive drop in gas flaring from a peak of 2.5 billion standard cubic feet per day few years ago to about 700 million standard cubic feet per day.