Earlier this month, the Nigerian authorities reportedly accepted $ 1.5 billion in funding to restore the Port Harcourt refinery, which closed two years in the past. After all, the information elicited destructive reactions from Nigerians. Their feeling might stem from a degree of distrust that the undertaking could possibly be a conduit for corruption. Or perhaps mismanagement would find yourself killing the undertaking, taking Milton Friedman “For those who give the federal authorities duty for the Sahara desert, in 5 years there could be a scarcity of sand” quote in perspective.

Nonetheless, skepticism and sentiment apart, the economics of funding a $ 1.5 billion refinery restore could be debated.


Nigeria, the enormous of Africa and the most important oil producer in Africa, presently has 5 refineries within the nation; 4 of that are owned by the Nigerian authorities by way of the Nigerian Nationwide Petroleum Company (NNPC), whereas the fifth is owned and operated by Niger Delta Petroleum Assets (NDPR).

The 4 Nigerian government-owned refineries have a mixed capability of 445,000 barrels per day: one in Kaduna and three within the Niger Delta area at Warri and Port Harcourt. The bone of rivalry at Port Harcourt refinery has the capability to refine roughly 210,000 barrels per day.

The audited 2019 outcomes replicate that Nigerian refineries made losses of $ 439.47 million. In April 2020, they had been all closed pending rehabilitation.

Is restore funding obligatory?

Nigeria’s affair with the refineries is synonymous with a passenger who has been ready ages on the bus cease and all 5 buses seem on the identical time. This occurs to be the case because the Nigerian authorities has determined to fund a refinery amid the arrival of the Dangote refinery which is anticipated to start out later within the 12 months / early 2022 and the BUA refinery which is anticipated to be operational in 2024. Each refineries have refining capability. 650,000 and 200,000, which begs the query of why the nation is funding a refinery that NNPC chief Mele Kyari mentioned could be run by non-public corporations as soon as rehabilitated.

“FG ought to halt the $ 1.5 billion approval for the restore of the Port Harcourt refinery and submit this brazen and dear enterprise to an knowledgeable nationwide debate. Many specialists favor that this refinery be offered “as is” by BPE to core traders with the confirmed means to restore it with their very own funds ”. tweeted Atedo Peterside, Founding father of Stanbic IBTC Financial institution.

The trustworthy fact, because the tautology says, is that Nigeria has labored exhausting with poorly maintained refineries for years. Mele Kyari is just not the primary NNPC chief to aim to reorganize, privatize or develop our refineries. Nonetheless, you’ll say {that a} nation with such powers of oil manufacturing ought to at the very least have a functioning refinery able to working at optimum capability. Over time the nation has been uncovered to saboteurs who’ve allegedly introduced soiled gasoline from Europe and subsequently having a refinery could be in our greatest curiosity.

Nonetheless, timing and prioritization is a priority. The three-phase, 44-month restore undertaking might be funded from sources such because the Nigerian Nationwide Petroleum (NNPC), Internally Generated Income (IGR), finances provisions and Afreximbank.

The Minister of Petroleum, Timipre Sylva additionally declared that the nation will perform rehabilitation works on the Kaduna and Warri refineries no later than Might 2023. “This will even be financed by authorities coffers.

Which begs the query, why? The nation could have an issue of Overcapacity. We’ve got the Dangote refinery, (650 b / d), the BUA refinery (200 b / d) and different business refineries (+/- 200 b / d) along with the proposed rehabilitated public refineries (440 b / d) ) on board. Nigeria might probably have the capability to refine round 1.5 million bpd. With the extent of consumption and demand for refined merchandise in Nigeria ranging between 450,000 and 500,000 b / d in line with the Petroleum Product Value Regulatory Company (PPPRA), the nation that when imported refined petroleum merchandise could have the irony overcapacity.

A lot ado for an unprofitable enterprise. Globally, refining margins are very low. World consulting agency, Mckinsey describes how the profitability of a refinery comes from “the distinction in worth between the crude oil it transforms and the petroleum merchandise it produces.” Most refiners margin comes from the upper worth “mild merchandise” (ie. gasoline, diesel, and jet gasoline) that he does.

Most of those “mild merchandise” will face their chapter days when local weather change insurance policies start to take impact.

To additional substantiate the the reason why refining corporations ought to be averted by the NNPC. Saudi Aramco has simply printed its 2020 outcomes and regardless of the optimum revenues and earnings achieved, the corporate misplaced for the second consecutive 12 months cash on its downstream division (refining and chemical substances).

There was extra 600 in operation refineries all over the world initially of 2017. Final 12 months, after falling oil costs, Alan Gelder, head of downstream oil at Wooden Mackenzie, complained about his firm’s world composite refining gross margin, which averaged between $ 0.20 / bbl in Might and June of final 12 months. The $ 0.20 per barrel is a deviation from their 2020 common forecast of $ 1.40 / barrel. He additional added that just a few refineries are in critical menace of closure in Europe alone over the subsequent three years.


Given the shortage of funds going through the federal government, spending of $ 1.5 billion for a refinery is anticipated to stay on the again burner. The allocation could be finest served for different crucial infrastructure that would supply revenue or tackle financial issues. Long run refinery shares will combat local weather change insurance policies and declining demand / costs for oil because the market cycles. The prepare from Lagos to Ibadan is a superb undertaking that the federal authorities has accomplished. Related tasks like this may increase citizen morale and the financial system quite than the recurrent, capital-intensive spending in the direction of the top of the social gathering’s refinery undertaking.

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