According to the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, the Federal Government has received 26 bids for its proposed plan to overhaul the nation’s oil refineries, one of the pathways of Nigeria’s independence from oil imports. The implementation of the plan, which would cost about $2 billion, has been moved to 2018, as the Minister says that is when the FG would decide on a successful bidder.
The Minister, who was speaking at an oil conference in Cape Town on Tuesday, also indicated the FG was eyeing total independence from importation of refined products by 2020 as the Dangote refinery is expected to begin operations by end 2019.
“We are almost at a threshold of finalising the process of selection… That (the overhauled refinery and the Dangote refinery) should be enough to meet local needs,” Mr. Kachikwu said, according to Reuters.” Nigeria’s refineries are hardly producing any refined fuels as several years of mismanagement and poor maintenance have rendered them comatose. As a result, the country depends on importing refined fuels, which in turn, costs the nation several billions in foreign exchange and almost nullifies the revenue accrued from sale of crude oil.
Thus, the attempt to wean Nigeria of refined imports is expected to do wonders to the forex market, government revenue and pump prices. However, several companies that currently thrive on oil importation are unlikely to consider the move as palatable as it could run them out of business.