No Regular Facilities Can Be Converted From Illegal Refineries, Says Kyari

Mallam Mele Kyari, Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, has rejected suggestions that illegal refineries in the Niger Delta be recognized as legitimate refining facilities to lessen the importation of refined petroleum products.

Kyari, who spoke on NTA Good Morning Nigeria Breakfast Show, where he aired his views on the topic, “Tackling Crude Oil Theft in Nigeria.”, described the so-called illegal refining facilities as mere cooking pots, insisting that the growing demand for their official recognition were unfounded and unscientific.

In response to repeated requests for the government to recognize small artisanal refiners in the Niger Delta rather than criminalize them to increase domestic fuel supply, Kyari asserted that legalization will not work and that modular refineries should be promoted instead.

“That’s why there are licenses given out for modular refineries and they can produce up to 1,000 barrels to 20,000 barrels per day. Refining is a science of its own. The cooking pots you are seeing are not refineries in any sense, Kyari said.

“There’s simply no way you can convert these cooking pots to legal refineries. It’s not possible. But modular refineries can be constructed and the NNPCL has a framework for supporting those who want to do modular refineries,” the GCEO stated.

According to him, the illegal refineries have degraded the environment of the Niger Delta.

He also noted that for the host communities, the new Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) sets aside some funds for them which he said will make sure the areas are carried along.

Kyari stated that several arrests had been made by the security agencies, especially for people stealing Nigeria’s oil, pointing out that the names were being kept secret for security reasons.

He further said that the oil thieves were many and that whoever is involved will be arrested without exception.

“Not every member of those communities is involved. It’s a very small minority of them and from our engagement with the communities, we know they are not happy with what is happening to the environment.

“We are joining them to get rid of the criminals, otherwise it’s difficult to explain why there are hundreds of illegal refineries along the pipelines,” he said.

According to him, marine activities have subsided in the last few days, with some confidence that the results are coming in.

He reiterated that technology was being deployed in tackling the problem but assured us that the challenge was not insurmountable.

The GCEO stressed that direct stealing of crude oil was being carried out in the region, admitting that Nigeria was losing about 700,000 barrels per day of production to theft and shutdowns.

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