The Minister of state for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu has announced the intention of the Federal Government to end the importation of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, otherwise known as petrol, within the next 12 to 18 months.
He made this known in Abuja on Tuesday at a press conference where he announced the unbundling of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, into seven independent units that would have business orientation.
He began the news conference by apologizing to Nigerians over the return of fuel queues at filling stations.
Kachikwu noted that government was working out modalities to ensure that it repaid its $5.1 billion indebtedness to its joint ventures (JV) partners within a six-month time frame, stressing that this would go a long way in restoring confidence to the sector.
Kachikwu, who doubles as the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, said the process of fixing the refineries had started and that the government was looking at entering into series of partnerships with investors and oil majors, which would focus on the upgrade of the refineries.
According to him, “to fix the four refineries, the country will require about $400 million and the federal government is considering sourcing the amount from investors.
“The total revamp of the refineries is being hindered by lack of funds and investment, especially as most of the refineries are old and need massive overhaul and refurbishment.”
The Minister pointed out that there were ongoing talks with the original builders of the refineries and some oil majors who had shown interest in investing in the upgrade of the refineries, stressing that huge funds would be required to replace the refineries.
Assuring that the country’s strategic fuel reserves would be increased when the refineries were finally fixed, he stated that there were plans to boost Nigeria’s crude oil output from 2.3 million to 2.4 million barrels per day which would be a significant improvement from between 1.8 million and 2.1 million in the last few weeks.
Kachikwu revealed that the NNPC was looking at replacing almost the entirety of its pipelines, most of which he said were more than 30 years old.