A motion urging the National Assembly to conduct an investigative hearing on the decision of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to shut down the operations of the Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company has been adopted by the House of Representatives.
The House, at plenary resolved to conduct the investigative hearing.
Hon. Ben Igbakpa, the lawmaker who moved the motion, recalled that the Warri Refinery was mandated to produce refined products including petrol, gas oil, kerosene, diesel and Low Pour Fuel Oil (LPFO) from mainly local crude and was operating at an output of around 115m3/hour, which translates to about 68% of its installed capacity.
The lawmaker accused the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) of wanting to ground the refinery for personal benefits. In his words, “The refinery has not operated optimally due to alleged top management decisions of the NNPC to ground the plant for personal benefit from marketers importing products that can be produced in the refinery”.
He further stated that the plant had severally shut down due to haulage challenges, neglect in the evacuation of products, lack of functional or operational storage tanks and poor maintenance culture on the part of management which also constitutes another reason for the refinery’s non functionality.
Hon Igbakpa noted that the resultant effects of this perceived economic sabotage is that the plant is brought down because no crude to refine as it has been diverted. He disclosed that most of the spherical tanks used for storage of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) have been leased out to Kwale Hydrocarbon Nigeria Limited (KHNL), which is a private company.
Hon. Igbakpa stressed that all that was required for the plant is routine maintenance to improve the operating capacity of the refinery to make the price of petrol affordable; adding that commencement of local production would help to mitigate incessant and upward price adjustment of the petroleum products and to ameliorate the hardship that comes with such exercise to Nigerians.
In its resolution, the House mandated its Committee on Petroleum (upstream and downstream) to conduct an investigative hearing on what it described as failure, refusal or neglect of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to forestall the frequent shutting down of the refinery and to report back in four weeks.