By MICHAEL EBOH
Indigenous oil firm, Energia Limited, yesterday, said it is partnering with four other local oil companies to build a crude oil refinery plant in the country with an initial capacity of between 10,000 and 15,000 barrels of crude oil per day.
The four other companies are Midwestern Oil and Gas, Pillar Oil, Chorus Energy and Flatform Petroleum Limited.
Speaking at a forum in Lagos, Mr. Felix Valentine, Managing Director, Energia, said the firms are already in discussions with a consultant on the feasibility and viability of the project.
He disclosed that the decision to set up a refinery in the country is in response to the high rate of illegal bunkering, pipeline vandalism and to prepare the country for an eventual reduction in crude export brought about by major discoveries around the world and stoppage of United States’ crude import from Nigeria.
According to Felix, the five firms lost about $72 million (N11.448 billion) in 2012 alone to illegal bunkering, crude theft and pipeline vandalism.
He said: “Our cluster group lost about $72 million to crude theft in 2012 alone and at the rate we are going, this might increase to $100 million (N15.9 billion) in 2013. This got us thinking and we considered building a refinery.
“Another issue that made us decide to build a refinery is because of the threat to Nigeria’s crude oil export due to vagaries in the international oil market, which will very likely pose a serious challenge to the economy.
“The refinery will help us prepare for an eventual reduction in the demand for Nigeria’s crude and bring about a reduction in crude theft.”
He disclosed that the refinery will reduce oil bunkering, as limited quantities will be available to steal.