The Senate has directed its Committees on Petroleum Resources to investigate the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s, NNPC, expenditure of over $396 million on Turn Around Maintenance, TAM, of the nation’s four refineries between 2013 and 2015.
The red chamber also mandated the Committees on Petroleum Downstream, Upstream and Gas to carry out a holistic investigation on the expenditure incurred by the federal government within the period under consideration.
The Senate panels were also mandated to assess the current state of the refineries, as well as convoke a stakeholders conference with the aim of finding ways to revamp them.
This move followed a motion titled: “The moribund refineries in the country,” sponsored by Senator Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf.
Yusuf, in his lead debate, noted that the country has four petroleum refineries with two located in Port Harcourt and one each in Kaduna and Warri respectively.
He noted that the refineries were established to adequately supply and serve needs for Liquefied Petroleum Gas, LPG, Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, Dual Purpose Kerosene, DPK, Automotive Gas Oil, AGO, Low Pour Fuel Oil, LPFO, High Pour Fuel Oil, HPFO, and Aviation Turbine Kerosene, ATK, for both local consumption and exports.
He lamented that despite the alleged spending of $396 million for TAM between 2013 and 2015 there is no tangible result to show in terms of local production.
He insisted that the amounts being expended on TAM in the last 25 years notwithstanding, Nigeria is still solely dependent on importation of petroleum products for domestic use.
He noted that the country will likely slide into recession once again if the humongous amount for TAM is added to the huge ‘under recoveries’ presently being incurred by the NNPC in the importation of petroleum products, put at over N123.25 billion.
“The country through NNPC has in the past 25 years spent billions of US dollars in Turn-Around Maintenance of the refineries, the latest being over $396 million spent between 2013 and 2015 without meaningful result,” Yusuf said.
He added that “the refineries have remained in moribund state in the last 15-20 years and is almost reaching total collapse due to lack of proper maintenance of the facilities with a poor average capacity utilization hovering between 15 and 25 percent per annum.”
In his contribution, Senator Ibikunle Amosun (APC, Ogun Central) said one of the challenges confronting the country is lack of maintenance culture.
He said this is not the first time attention is being drawn to the near collapse of the refineries in the country.
He urged his colleagues to do a thorough job during the investigation process.