Our interest in Port Harcourt Refinery, by Oando - News and More

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Friday 9 June 2017

Our interest in Port Harcourt Refinery, by Oando

Oando Plc Group Chief Executive Officer Mr. Wale Tinubu yesterday clarified the conglomerate’s role in the Port Harcourt refinery.

The Senate is querying the contract to rehabilitate the  refinery awarded to Eni/Agip in partnership with Oando.
The lawmakers said the contract did not follow due process. It mandated a panel to probe the deal.
Mr. Tinubu, who appeared before the Senate Joint Committee on Petroleum Resources chaired by Senator Kabir Marafa yesterday, described Oando’s involvement in the contract as a patriotic act.
According to him, the firm is supporting the government to make the nation self-sufficient in petroleum products production and to end fuel importation and subsidy.
He said: “I must explicitly state that no mandate for the concession, sale, equity transfer or privatisation of the Port Harcourt refinery or any of the nation’s refineries has been signed with Oando. As a crude exporter and supplier of refined products to the country, it is intuitive and patriotic for us to be interested in the refurbishment and upgrade of the refineries.
“Our proposed participation as a local partner in this effort is an opportunity to drive the country forward and accelerate the process to see products security realised in this dispensation. We share the vision of the Nigerian government to become a petroleum products self-sufficient country in the short to medium term, and ultimately be a net exporter.
“The Port Harcourt refinery remains a national asset, under the full control of the NNPC as far as we are aware.”
The Senate initiated the hearing following reports which indicated that the Port Harcourt refinery was due to be sold via a privatisation or concession with Oando and Eni as the preferred consortium.
However, initial findings from the Senate ad hoc committee showed that the NNPC is still at a preliminary stage of information gathering regarding the proposed rehabilitation and highlights from Aniebor Kragha, the NNPC’s Chief Operating Officer, Refineries, restating President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive on non-privatisation of the country’s refineries.
The refineries have for long been in a state of disrepair. They  suffer from under-utilisation due to lack of funding and maintenance, among others. In addressing the problem, the government sought  strategic investors with refining experience and funding capacity to partner with local players to revamp the refineries. This gave birth to the Eni/Oando partnership after a meeting between Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu and ENI Chief Executive Officer, Claudio Descalzi.
The outcome of the meeting led to ENI/Agip decision to partner with Oando to explore technical and funding options to support the government’s refinery rehabilitation efforts.
With the refinery privatisation scheme proven untrue, the Senate has been widely applauded for its oversight of the NNPC, reinforcing the long-running mandate of the Buhari administration regarding transparency and accountability by all arms of government and within the private sector. The hearing is also a testament to the government’s  effort to develop an  enabling oil and gas landscape within the downstream sector to tackle capital flight.
“We acknowledge that Oando was quoted out of context and we hope that they understand that this committee was set up as a matter of oversight and in the interest of Nigerians because we represent Nigerians.  When the time comes, we will instruct the NNPC to carry out this rehabilitation process in the most transparent manner. We advise Oando as a responsible company and good corporate citizen to guard its future statements in public, but applaud the fact that the minute they were misquoted by the media, they put out a statement to correct the facts,” said Senator Marfa.

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