By Ediri Ejoh
Citing the reports of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, the Society of Petroleum Engineers, SPE, Nigeria Council, has stated that Nigeria spends nothing less than N120 billion on its non-performing refineries annually.
The group therefore called for outright sale of the refineries to save the nation the huge resources while ensuring optimum performance in the hands of the private sector.
Speaking ahead of the SPE Nigeria Energy Industry Transformation Summit, Chairman, SPE Nigeria Council, Mr. Joe Nwakwue, said the refineries are key national assets and it is in national interest that they are optimally run from commercial perspective, adding, however, that the private sector is in better position to do that than the government.
He stated: “It’s important to recognize that it serves no purpose that we have refineries that are sitting idle across the country. They don’t just seat idle, we still spend money to keep them idle.
“If you look at the annual report of NNPC, you will see clearly about N120 billion operating loss for these facilities and its consistent over the years. If we keep them next year that is how much loss we are going to incur as a nation.
“It is not in our national interest to continue to pump money into things that are not adding value. From that perspective, it’s only reasonable to say that we should have sold these assets long time ago to those who can run them. I’m very sure that assuming we take that step; our exchange rate won’t be what it is today. Assuming we sold it 10 years ago, today we might have exited import completely.”
Speaking on the upcoming event, Nwakwue said that the 3-day online summit tagged, “Changing Global Energy Landscape: Strategies for Industry Sustainability”, will offer the country and key stakeholders directions to remain relevant in a changing energy world.