The Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Ibe Kachikwu has issued a 90-day ultimatum to the management of the Warri Refining and Petrochemicals Company, (WRPC) to commence full production at the facility.
The Warri refinery which has the capacity to process 125,000 barrels of crude oil per day, has not been reopened after last week’s temporary closure despite assurance of a commencement of operations this week by the NNPC.
The NNPC had announced a month ago that the Warri and Port Harcourt refineries had resumed preliminary production after completion of a turn-around maintenance exercise that began in 2014, but the Warri refinery remained shut as most of the pipelines supplying crude to it had been breached by vandals.
However, speaking at the end of a facility tour of the refinery and the adjoining Pipelines and Products Marketing Company, PPMC, jetty and depot in Warri, Delta State, Kachikwu charged the management and staff of the company to ensure that the plant is streamed back to full active service within the projected period.
The GMD noted that he was ready to provide the management of the facility the necessary support to enable them meet the fast track target.
On the state of the PPMC storage facility, he promised to end the era where the company relied heavily on private depots to store a bulk of its petroleum products. “Some of the biggest storage facilities in this industry belong to the PPMC. I recall when I was growing up in this industry and we all got our products from the PPMC. In fact, the fear of the PPMC then was the beginning of wisdom. But now, the PPMC is putting products more on the tanks of marketers and letting them run the show. But that is not going to continue under my watch,” he said.
Responding to the GMD’s ultimatum, the acting Managing Director of the WRPC, Engr Solomon Ladenegan pledged that measures have been put in place to ensure that the plant is back in full operation by early November in good time for the three months fast-track moratorium.
The 37-year-old refinery, which has been undergoing phased rehabilitation exercise, was shut last week due to some technical hitches in one of its units.
By Olisemeka Obeche