Abuja, Nigeria | – Nigeria’s refineries are expected to restart before the end of the month after attacks on their feedstock pipelines forced their closure in January, the head of refining at the state oil company, NNPC said on Tuesday.
The state oil company halted crude flows to the refineries around mid-January after the key pipelines feeding the plants were attacked. The refineries were then shut down a few days later.
The 150,000 barrel per day (bpd) Port Harcourt refinery is expected to restart its crude distillation unit on Saturday after receiving crude supplies by sea to be followed by a resumption in pipeline supplies. Meanwhile, it has still been able to produce gasoline from its fluid catalytic converter.
“The Warri refinery has no crude. It will take close to 10 days to pile up crude stock and for Kaduna maybe we’re another five days away after that,” Dennis Ajulu, executive director of refining and technology at state oil firm NNPC, told Reuters.
Ajulu said that the pipeline to the 125,000 bpd Warri plant could be repaired in four days providing there were no security constraints, but expected it to take a bit longer and crude was being delivered by sea instead.
The Kaduna refinery, which can only operate one of its two crude distillation units for now, receives its feedstock via the Warri plant.
On top of being neglected for years, the refineries have always had supply problems due to attempts to steal oil via pipeline taps. It forced the state firm to switch to expensive crude deliveries by sea that cost more than $7 per barrel.
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari is keen to revamp the plants in order to wean the country off gasoline imports but a return of some militancy in the oil-rich Niger Delta region could scupper these plans if the pipelines become regular targets.