Abuja – The Nigerian government on Thursday said it had completed negotiations for the sale of Port Harcourt refinery in the oil-rich Niger Delta region, as it works towards privatising the nation’s four crude oil refining companies in the first quarter of 2014.
The ministry of Petroleum Resources also officially commenced the second oil marginal fields licensing round and explained that oil theft proceeds were not laundered by African banks.
Speaking at the headquarters of the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in Abuja, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, declared that her ministry “was completely unaware” of shady deals perpetrated by NNPC as was recently alleged by a Swiss-based non-governmental advocacy group, Berne Declaration.
She said, “The sale of the refineries comes in the first quarter of 2014. At this point in time the negotiation rounds for Port Harcourt refinery are finally completed.
“As you know, we started the Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) with the original contractors that built the refineries. And this was with the intent of ensuring that the right people carried out the TAM once and for all.”
Alison-Madueke said the government would begin the privatisation rounds and would have all due discussions and negotiations with the unions next year.
On the oil marginal fields bid round, she said it was designed to boost the participation of indigenous companies in the upstream segment of the industry.
Giving details of the licensing round, she stated that 31 fields were on offer with 16 of them located onshore, while the remaining 15 were in the continental shelf.
The minister encouraged companies indicating interest in the assets to form consortia with both local and foreign firms that would enable them leverage upon one another’s strengths.