The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, has urged international oil companies to invest in building refineries in the country.
This is coming as Eni, an international oil giant, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to refurbish the Port Harcourt Refinery in River State, as well as build a power plant in the country.
Speaking at a presentation to top executives of Eni in Rome on Monday, Kachikwu enjoined the group to move beyond just the business of crude exploration to firmly support the vision of enhancing local production of petroleum products in Nigeria by building refineries in the country.
A statement issued in Abuja by the spokesperson for the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Mr. Idang Alibi, said the minister explained that the major plan of the Federal Government was to stop the importation of petroleum products in the long-term.
Kachikwu stated that it would be expedient that every IOC should invest in building a refinery with a chain of distribution outlets, adding that within a short period of time, investments in the venture could be recouped by the direct sales model.
He stated that investments in refineries were necessary now more than ever considering the fact that Nigeria’s refineries, which were built in the 1970s and 1980s, were presently working at sub-optimal levels and could not sufficiently cater for local needs.
This, according to the minister, has made the country to be heavily dependent on product importation, which creates instability in supply and prices of products in the country.