Artisanal oil refineries’ operators in the Niger Delta region have agreed to end attacks on pipelines through which crude are sourced for local refining known in the region as “Kpor fire”.
They also expressed readiness to pay for crude oil officially sourced from oil companies if the Federal Government gives its backing to their plan to set up modular refineries in the region.
Their resolution came following a meeting between the Senior Special Assistant to President, Senator Ita Enang and the Domestic Refinery Owners Association of Nigeria (Artisanal Refiners) in Abuja on Friday.
Speaking at the end of the meeting, Senator Enang expressed the hope that engaging the refiners would end the perennial attacks on crude oil pipelines in the region and the attendant pollution of the environment in the area.
He disclosed that the group has agreed that if government approves of their plan, the refiners would “leave the creeks, they will not ‘Kpor fire’ again, that they will use more modern refineries which they are able to make and then refine for the country. And then that they will not break the pipes of crude oil.
“They will no more take crude oil from the pipes that pass through their backyard, that they will buy the crude oil and pay”.
Enang also stated that the group agreed that the “the product they sell below N100 and N50 per litre which is taken free, that they are prepared to pay to the Federal Government for taken the crude and making money to the Federal Government.
“So, the Federal Government will not be losing the crude, it will be polluting the environment and the Federal Government will not be importing products at high cost and the Federal Government will not face the threat of strike by Nigerian Labour Congress”, he stated.
Earlier, Senator Enang said the current price of petroleum products in the country has challenged Nigerians to look inward to solve its supply challenges.
According to him, “Nigeria has all potentials and you (artisanal refiners) are the potentials of Nigeria. How did the Biafra survive when it was locked out by the entire world (during the civil war)? It did not have access to petroleum products but it mobilized all people of the area and they refined petroleum products for that regime to sustain itself for over three years.
“After that, those potentials are still there. Some of them that are not working are now in the museum”, he added.
He said government was open to further engagement with the refiners with the purpose of integrating them into the planning for the economy of the country.
He said government was engaging with the teams at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State and the Federal University of Petroleum, Effurun, Delta State which have fabricated refineries’ technologies that are able to refine crude oil into petrol, diesel, kerosene and other by-products.
Enang stated that engaging the refiners would crash the pump price of petrol from the present N160/litre to N100/litre because “what makes the cost of refined products costly is (1) the cost of freight- sending it abroad to be refined, you pay port authority, you pay NIMASA, you pay the cost of vessel that will carry it there, you pay duties in Nigeria, you pay the duties in the country it is landing, you pay the cost of refining and then you bring them back.
“You pay the freight, if the vessel is delayed at the port, you demurrage, and these will be transferred to the cost of the refined products and finally NNPC will put their price, Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency will put their price, so what Nigerians are actually paying for is not the real cost of the product. It is these services.
“By the time we are able to engage with you and have domestic refining process all those other charges will be eliminated”, he added.
The artisanal refiners in their presentations, said working with the government would enable normalize their capacity while contributing to the economy of the country.
The National President of the association, Mr. Godwin Sunday urged the Federal Government to create a policy for artisanal refiners in the Niger Delta just it created the Artisanal Miners programmes for local miners in the northern part of the country.
He called on the government to “provide guarantee for the refiners to the tone of $15 million per refinery”, for the 10 units of 1,000 barrels per day refineries planned by the group for the Niger Delta States.