TOP AFRICAN OIL PRODUCER NIGERIA SPENDING 14.9 BLN USD TO IMPORT PETROL

ABUJA, Minister of State for Petroleum Dr Ibe Kachikwu has revealed that Nigeria, Africa's top crude oil producer, spent about 4.74 trillion naira(about 14.9 billion US dollars) to import petrol and other refined petroleum products last year, representing 30 per cent of the total foreign exchange outlay of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The importation of petroleum products between January and December of last year amounted to about 20 million tonnes, he told the Senate here Thursday in response to question regarding plans to refurbish Nigeria's creaky oil refineries.

Kachikwu also denied reports that the concession of the Port Harcourt Refinery had been gawarded to Oando and Agip companies.

A total amount of 3.4 trillion Naira was spent, the consumption of FX (foreign exchange) from CBN was approximately 30 per cent of CBN total FX outlay, and the logistics costs of that importation was about N1.34 trillion within the same one year period," he told the Senate.

Referring to domestic refining capacity, the minister said the nation produced six million litres out of a total consumption of about 35 million litres per day. In the midst of this sort of statistics, it was absolutely critical that we move in to try to end importation of products, improve our refineries and get them up to 100 per cent," he added.

We are looking for financing for the repair and upgrade of the refineries. We are not concessioning refineries, it is simply a financing package, he said.

Kachikwu said the government would invite the original builders of the three refineries to undertake the repairs but stressed that it had not selected any financier for the repairs.

Once we identify those individuals and see how we can make contacts with those who built the refineries -- Saipem in Warri; JGC in Port Harcourt; and Chiyoda in Kaduna -- to ensure that we go back to them."

He said such a step was necessary "because they (the builders) have the designs, engineering outlay and upgrade capabilities, and in some cases, they have the access to spare parts".

If we are going to achieve this within the time-frame we set, we are going to meet them and I think we have largely decided that those are the people we should use, he stated.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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