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Kachikwu: Attaining Local Refining Key To Achieve Efficient Products Supply

For the umpteenth time, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources has said attainment of local refining capacity is the only way to ensure efficient products supply and distribution across the country.
He was speaking while making a presentation to the Joint Senate and House Committees on Petroleum Downstream Thursday, in relation to the scarcity of petrol faced by the country in December.
“Ultimately what the country needed is to have its refineries working, it makes better business sense to add value to crude oil than sell the commodity raw,” Dr Kachikwu said.
Although he has made same submission at several fora, but the nations four refineries still remain largely unproductive despite promises of their Turn Around Maintenance (TAM).
In the meantime, Dr Kachikwu reeled out options being weighed to guarantee seamless supply and distribution of petroleum products across the country within an 18-month corridor, ahead of the eventual attainment of local refining capacity.
He explained that it was imperative to explore options which would open up the market and allow oil marketers to import petroleum products and complement the ongoing efforts by the NNPC to sustain the sanitization of the products supply and distribution matrix.
Some of the measures that may pave the way to marketers’ participation in the fuel import regime according to him include flexible tax-wave window to accommodate extraneous cost elements, an exchange rate modulation programme and, in what appears to be a hint on possible pump price increase, he added, price plurality regime which could allow the Marketers sell at a price different from the NNPC’s.
The Minister said the 18-months emergency window would be boosted with a quick revamp and effective use of the nation’s pipeline infrastructure, saying pipeline remains the most reliable means of transporting petroleum products.
But the possibility of transporting products by pipelines have remained a source of concern over the years due to leakages and incessant vandalism resulting to loss of products worth billions of naira, environmental damage and loss of lives.

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