The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, has issued 90-day ultimatum to the management of Warri Refining and Petrochemicals Company to commence full production at the facility.
The refinery has the capacity to process 125,000 barrels of crude oil per day.
Speaking at the end of a facility tour of the refinery and the adjoining Pipelines and Products Marketing Company jetty and depot in Warri, Delta State, Kachikwu charged the management and staff of the Company to ensure that the plant was streamed back to full and active service within the projected period.
The GMD noted that he was ready to provide the necessary support needed by the management of the facility in order to enable them meet the target.
Kachikwu, in a statement from the corporation on Thursday, reportedly said “Whatever you need to do to get your refinery back on track, please do it now because this is the time. It’s a 90-day fast-track programme and whatever you need me to do to make that happen, let me know.”
On Monday, The PUNCH exclusively reported that barely a month after it resumed production, the Warri refinery was shut down again, a situation that may constitute a setback to the new administration’s current efforts at shoring up local supply of petroleum products.
The NNPC’s spokesperson had told our correspondent on Sunday that it took the action because the pipelines supplying crude oil to the Warri refinery had been compromised by vandals.
It, however, said the closure would be temporary as it hoped to reopen the refinery on Tuesday.
Kachikwu, however, enjoined the management of the refinery to resuscitate the petrochemicals plant which was commissioned in March 1988.
On the state of PPMC storage facility, the GMD promised to end the era where the company relied heavily on private depots to store bulk of its petroleum products.
He said, “Some of the biggest storage facilities in this industry belong to PPMC. I recall when I was growing up in this industry, we all got our products from PPMC. In fact, the fear of PPMC then was the beginning of wisdom, but now 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.”
Responding to the GMD’s ultimatum, the acting Managing Director, WRPC, Engr. Solomon Ladenegan, said measures had been put in place to ensure that the plant was 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,” the NNPC said in its statement.