By Ime Silas, The Profile Newspaper

Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Niger Delta Affairs, Sen Ita Solomon Enang, has once again insisted that for the challenges in the petroleum sector of Nigeria to be surmounted, various stakeholders involved must chart a way forward towards encouraging what he called Artisanal refineries in the country.

Enang, who stated this in his tone-setting address at the ongoing summit tagged “Mainstreaming Modular/ Artisanal Refineries Into Domestic Refining Of Petroleum Products In Nigeria, held at Sheraton Hotel, Abuja, urged participants at the summit drawn from relevant bodies and agencies to consider the numerous advantages of such development in the petroleum sector of Nigeria’s economy.

The speech is hereunder produced in full:



May I on behalf of our team welcome you all to this conference aimed at steering the Nation on course of self-sufficiency in the refining of petroleum products.

This assemblage of brains, practitioners, academics and indeed the ARTISANAL practitioners is intended as a forum for engagement as if we were negotiating at cease fire in a war against the National economy.

The activities of the ARTISANAL refiners have posed great danger and loses to the National treasury via bursting of crude oil pipelines, taking the oil and refining crudely and illegally, selling same without remittance to the Federation Account and throwing the components they cannot process into the environment thus damaging the environment thus the need for remediation at incredible cost to the Nation, oil companies, etc as well as damage to our ecosystems.

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On domestic refining by existing large capacity refineries, they have constantly been reporting losses as detailed in the reports hereunder:

Of the modular refineries whether in existence, under construction or proposed, we are informed that they are able to do mostly diesel and less of Petrol, kerosene etc, leaving the country to still rely on importation with attendant devaluing pressures on the Naira and drain on our foreign reserves.

We are told that these modular refineries do not have installed the Catalytic cracking system or components capable of breaking down or finely refine petrol, kerosene and the entire value chain, including petrochemicals. And the ARTISANAL REFINERS have same problem but some are able to improvise and refine petrol, sell at lower prices because of source of crude, which their off takers buy and mix 40 : 60 to imported refined products and both remain in business.

The other products are then thrown into the environment causing immeasurable pollution which NOSDRA and HYPREB are now addressing at high cost to the Nation, ecosystem and livelihood of the host communities.

We have here assembled experts and solution providers in these fields at this summit, to wit:

· The Ministry of Science and Technology and the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASCENI) which fabricated the Modular REFINERY still operational and refining petrol, kerosene, etc with catalytic cracking process installed in Ahmadu Bello University, ZARIA.
· The Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) which funded the research, fabrication and installation of the above named Modular refinery and willing to fund more of such projects in other locations in Nigeria.
· The Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Efurum, (FUPRE) and the Petroleum Training Institute, Warri (PTI) who have developed and fabricated models ready for deployment. They are here to address us on potentials and what can also be done in improving the technological capacity of ARTISANAL refiners if this summit eventually agree to mainstream them into our domestic refining potentials.
· The Ministry of Environment, National oil spill detection and response Agency and HYPREB who are here to re-emphasize the dangers of ARTISANAL refining leading to pollution of the environment and profer solutions from their point of view.
· The Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation(NNPC), Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative who will receive and process the submissions here at and also present on their efforts in domestic refining for the purpose of eliminating subsidy and bringing down the pump price of refined Petroleum products.
· The Ministry of Finance, budget and National planning hosting this assemblage with our office for the purpose of adopting and mainstreaming this program of domestic refining capacity development into sectoral National development plan.
· The Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Niger Delta Development Commission and the Presidential Amnesty Office all here on their mandate to jointly provide solution to this national emergency.
· The defence sector who bear the burden of defending the Strategic National economic Assets, with capacity to also develop and fabricate Modular refineries through the Defence Industries Corporation and Engineering Corps of the Services.
· The Domestic refineries owners and operators are also here to engage with Government Agencies and personnel over the very essence of this summit.
· AND the National Assembly are here to gather inputs as some of the submissions here may require Legislative sanction in the Petroleum Industry Bill under consideration.
· These are the Resources we have here gathered, among others to tap from their expertise and thereafter make recommendations to the Government on the way forward for domestic refining capacity development in Nigeria.

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AT the end of the conference, it is hoped that the outcome will boost local refining capacity and the import – export element as well as ports and Agencies statutory charges in the Petroleum products pricing and Regulatory Agency templates will be eliminated and the cost of products will be substantially low.

Besides, given the challenge of revenue subsidy, subsidy projected by analysts as likely to be in the region of approximately N100 billion (not confirmed or verified) in the month of March alone will be eliminated and revenue conserved for all tiers of Governments development programs.

You are indeed welcome as I wish us all successful deliberations.