Monday, 12 November 2012

No Progress on $28.5 Billion Subsidy Relief Refineries

When President Goodluck Jonathan, in the heat of the anti-fuel price hike protest in January, announced the federal government’s plans to set up three greenfield refineries in Lagos, Kogi and Bayelsa states, there were high expectations that the perennial fuel crisis would end.

Eleven months have passed, but the government is yet to kick off the projects...*breach of agreement.*

When LEADERSHIP SUNDAY visited the proposed sites of the refineries, there was no single signpost to indicate that such projects were slated for the areas.... *not what the citizens were expecting.*

The refineries, estimated to cost $28.5 billion, were among the palliatives announced by the president under the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) to address the problems in the downstream sector of the oil industry.

When contacted on the state of the planned refineries, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said they would take off as soon as the federal government gives approval.

Acting spokesman of the corporation Mr. Fidel Pepple told LEADERSHIP SUNDAY that feasibility studies on the refineries had been concluded,adding that “what is left is for government to give approval for the project to go ahead"...... *why is the approval taking such a long time?*

“The update on the greenfield refinery is that the feasibility studies have been completed. For now we are waiting for the government to give the directive for the project to go ahead; then we will proceed,” Pepple said.

On whether the investors, who are to be part owners of the plants, were still willing to continue with the projects, considering the insecurity in the country and the non-passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), Pepple said, “They are very ready and willing; we have no problem with that.”

The refineries were scheduled to come on stream in 2017, but there was no activity on the site earmarked for the project in Oloibiri area of Ogbia local government area in Bayelsa State.

The natives of the area, where oil was first discovered in commercial quantity in Nigeria, claimed ignorance of the project. The people said they only read about it on the pages of newspapers.

Culled from Nigerian Trends.

*Matters Arising: Why is work yet to commence on those sites? why is the approval taking such a long time? With the time frame in view (2017) and the 'lack of progress' recorded at this time, is that deadline feasible?* 

Please note: Sentences starting with the * sign indicate the author's views. 

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