Nigerian National petroleum Corporation, NNPC, has shut down the Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company, WRPC. Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of the Corporation, Mr. Ohi Alegbe confirmed in a telephone interview yesterday that the Warri based plant has also been closed.
NNPC had on Wednesday announced the shutdown of Port Harcourt and Kaduna refineries because of the vandalism of its crude oil pipelines. A statement by the Corporation had informed that the plants were shut simultaneously on Sunday after the Bonny – Okrika crude supply line to the Port Harcourt Refinery and the Escravos- Warri crude supply line to the Kaduna Refinery suffered breaches.
NNPC had maintained that the Warri refinery was still on stream and producing a little above 1.4 million liters of petrol per day. However, the plant was shut because of the same breaches.
Alegbe indicated that the Corporation would not embark on repair and maintenance of the vandalised pipelines without a comprehensive report from security agencies. He maintained that NNPC was awaiting the report of the agencies to determine the next line of action.
He said adequate plans for rehabilitation would be made once the report gets to the corporation. The shutdown of the Warri plant means all the nation’s four refineries, with capacity to process 445,000 bpd have been grounded. It also means that the nation would depend entirely on importation to meet domestic demand.
Executive Director, Spaces for Change, Mrs. Victoria Ohaeri called on stakeholders, especially the Federal Government and oil companies to rise to the challenge. She called on them to put in place mechanism to effectively monitor pipelines and other facilities.
National President of Oil and Gas Service Providers Association of Nigeria, Mr. Colman Obasi, maintained that the pipeline can also be buried deeper to prevent frequent attacks. “If the pipelines are buried much deeper, it will reduce or discourage vandals from attacking them. The government should also impose stiffer penalty on vandals,” he said.
Meanwhile, Senate yesterday condemned the resurgence of pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta region. Chairman, Senate Committee, Petroleum Upstream, Tayo Alasoadura, while briefing newsmen in Abuja, called on vandals to desist from the dastardly act, which was capable of further retrogressing the economy.
He said the act, if not stopped, could affect the efforts of the present administration to tackle poverty in the land. “It has come to the notice of the Senate, the very unpatriotic act from vandals, who have decided to blow up pipelines at this time when the nation is facing dwindling price of oil. “The Port Harcourt and Kaduna refineries only started work few months ago, so I think the vandals should stop being a clog in the wheel of progress,” he said.
Alasoadura added that it was disheartening that at a time when all hands should be on deck to revive the economy, some people were further sabotaging the efforts of the present administration. He appealed for calm, adding that relevant authorities were working assiduously to ensure that normalcy returned to the area.
Senator Bassey Gershom, Deputy Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum Upstream, said there was no justification for blowing up pipelines. He stressed that those involved in the act could table their grievances in a more civilised manner rather than taking the law into their own hands.
He said: “I want to appeal to our brothers in the Nigeria Delta to give peace a chance. If there is no revenue and no security, how can government govern? “So, we need the cooperation of every Nigerian, including those that are aggrieved. Let us give the Federal Government an opportunity to govern. “No matter what our grievances are, I do not think that blowing up pipelines is the solution to the problem.” In another development, the Senate Committee on Gas Resources in a bid to proffer solution to dwindling oil revenue, met with the management of the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas, NLNG, and other stakeholders.
Chairman of the Committee, Bassey Akpan, charged NLNG on the need to generate more revenue for government, as well as provide employment opportunities for Nigerians. Akpan further urged stakeholders in the gas sector to make known to the committee any challenge that may hinder their bid to generate more revenue and create more jobs for Nigerians.