BY EMMA AMAIZE
WARRI – MANAGING Director of Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company, WRPC, Ekpan, near Warri in Delta State, Mr. Simon Ehiemua has expressed surprise that the 34-year-old plant was still working, notwithstanding its poor state. He however, gave kudos to the workforce.
Ehiemua told Vanguard, “I was amazed when I took over in 2011 and saw the state of the plant. I was amazed because our people here were able to run the plant even in the state it was then”.
His words, “If you go into the plant, you will be shocked that such a plant like this can run at all, but people are managing to make it work. The state of the plant is poor, but our people are striving to make it continue to work”.
He, however, said there was hope on the way, as the Federal Government had announced that funds would be provided for the rehabilitation of the plant, which was commissioned in 1978 by the end of 2013.
Ehiemua added: “For Warri refinery, they have targeted that we will be in a state where we will be able to run more reliably by the end of 2013”.
At the moment, Ehiemua disclosed, “Capacity utilization is 60 per cent and we are constrained to maintain that for various reasons other than the state of the plant.
For instance, crude oil vandalism is constraining us on the quantity of crude oil we will get on a daily basis. Even if we have as much crude oil as we needed to run the plant, we will still have the constraint of evacuation mainly due to vandalism. The product pipeline from Warri to Benin, which is the major depot nearest to us here, is continually vandalized”.
“The product pipeline from Warri to Benin, which is the major depot nearest to us here, is continually vandalized. When we pump water through the line to flush it and prepare it for product, nothing happens, immediately we start sending product through the line, the product starts disappearing”, he added.