By Ediri Ejoh
The Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, said it has granted licences for the establishment of modular refineries to 25 investors as against 38 reported.
In a statement sent to Vanguard, DPR stated that “there are three stages to acquire a license for operation. These are: License to establish (LTE); Approval to construct (ATC) and License to operate (LTO). “In 2002, from a total of 105 applications treated, 21 companies were granted licence to establish (LTE) petroleum refineries. The LTE had a validity of 18 months. In 2004, in line with the refinery guidelines, evaluation of the extent of engineering design work done. 17 companies of those previously granted LTE were granted approval to construct (ATC) refineries, with a validity of 24 months.
“Also, in 2007, following the unsuccessful execution of their projects and expiry of the ATC granted, with no appreciable progress achieved, all the licences were cancelled. The statutory framework for licensing of private refineries was reviewed and a new guiding document “Guidelines for the Establishment of Hydrocarbon Processing Plants in Nigeria” was approved by the then President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, who was doubling as the Honourable Minister of Petroleum Resources (HMPR).
“The new guideline provided for payment of a refundable commitment deposit of $1 million per every 10,000 BPD capacity refinery to ensure that only committed investors were licensed. Also, the provision for revalidation of expired ATCs was included. One company, Amakpe Refinery & P refinery successfully revalidated their ATC.
“However, in 2009, following outcry by investors, the commitment deposit was expunged by the Honourable Minister of State Petroleum Resources, as three companies were subsequently granted licence to establish (LTE) refinery. “In 2010, with removal of the commitment deposit clause in the procedure guidelines, two other companies, Resource Petroleum & Petrochemicals Limited and Sapele Petroleum Limited revalidated their expired ATC. Two companies were granted license to establish a refinery and approval construct a diesel topping refinery successfully, bringing the total number of licensed companies in 2010 to four. “Moreover, in 2011, the company granted approval to construct a topping refinery in 2010, Niger Delta Petroleum Resources (NDPR) was granted licence to operate the refinery at Ogbelle, Rivers State, while in 2012, two companies were granted licences to establish modular refineries in Imo and Rivers states.”
It also added that: ”Currently there are 25 licensed companies, with three billed to construct conventional stick-build plants and the remaining 22 as modular units. Of all the licensed companies, the Dangote Oil Refinery Company (DORC) Limited 500,000 A Barrel Per Stream Day, BPSD, refinery has reached the stage of detailed engineering design of the units and procurement of long-lead items.”