PETROLEUM officials are considering importing crude oil from Chad and Niger Republic to supply the Kaduna refinery in a desperate bid to resolve Nigeria’s chronic petrol shortage crisis that is afflicting the country.
Despite being the world’s sixth largest crude oil exporter, Nigeria suffers from petrol shortages due to a combination of limited refining capacity and disruptions to petroleum supply. Of late, the government has sought to refurbish the three main refineries in Kaduna, Warri and Port Harcourt in a bid to address the problem.
Of late, however, the return of militancy to the Niger Delta has cut the supply of crude oil, so refineries are short of petroleum. To get round this problem, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is considering importing crude oil from Chad and Niger Republic.
In addition, the NNPC is considering the option of using railway transportation to move crude from the Niger Delta to the Kaduna refinery complex. One NNPC official added that the corporation might refit the Kaduna refinery to be able to process Nigerien and Chadian crude grades, following the incessant attacks on the pipelines that feed the plant with Nigerian Bonny Light Crude.
He added: “The original design capacity was 60,000 barrels per day of light crude, so in order to process paraffinic based crude oil from Venezuela, Kuwait or Saudi Arabia, the capacity was later increased to 110,000bpd. So apart from having the capacity to refine Bonny Light, the plant can also process heavy crude oil from Kuwait, Lagomar crude from Venezuela, Arabian Light from Saudi Arabia and Urals from Russia.
“However, for it to refine crude from Chad or Niger, the plant requires some form of refitting so that it can use crude specification from those countries as well. The refitting does not involve complex technology.”
Inadequate maintenance and vandalism of crude oil pipelines have led to the sub-optimal performance of the country’s 445,000bpd capacity refineries in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna. Barely one month after petroleum minister Ibe Kachikwu, had re-commissioned the 46km Escravos-Warri pipeline repaired by Ocean Marine Solution in April this year, thus restoring crude oil supply to Warri and Kaduna refineries, the Niger Delta Avengers, which has claimed responsibility for a series of attack on oil and gas assets, bombed the pipeline.