Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, will be launching a new plan to revive operational infrastructure in Nigeria’s downstream petroleum sector and open them up for private sector investments across their value chains. Speaking in Abuja as part of a follow up on Nigeria’s recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Niger Republic to build a 150,000 barrels per day capacity refinery at a Katsina State border town between both countries, Kachikwu’s Senior Technical Adviser (STA) on refineries and downstream infrastructure, Rabiu Suleiman, said the rebirth plan would among other things, also consider how best to utilize the various downstream assets of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that are idle.
He noted that the country’s downstream sector was not in a good shape, and that is why going forward, the Minister is planning to launch the downstream infrastructure rebirth for the country, where we will look at various infrastructure of the downstream, including pipelines, tank farms and all other facilities and how adequate are they for this country. He said the plan would determine the infrastructure deficits and how to optimize the utilization of those ones that are currently redundant. It would also consider necessary investments that are needed from private investors to enhance and close the gap of infrastructure and open up the place so that people could build their own pipelines and charge tariffs. According to him, the rebirth plan would ensure that marketers could put their products into somebody else’s pipeline, move and receive them elsewhere.
He equally suggested the plan would consider the best models to get downstream assets owned and operated by the NNPC, albeit inefficiently, and which have been idle, to get them working again.
“All those idle NNPC assets, how do we optimise the utilisation either by way of commercialising them or making sure the NNPC set up a commercial outfit that will optimise the utilisation and retain the proceeds within the NNPC because it is assets. These are all things that we are putting forward to see how we can develop all the infrastructure of downstream.”