President Muhammadu Buhari says it is a disgraceful thing that none of the nation’s refineries is performing up to 50 percent. President Buhari spoke at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja Friday while receiving a delegation from Eni, led by the Chief Upstream Officer, Mr Antonio Vella. “In my first coming, all our refineries were working. Port Harcourt used to refine 60,000 barrels per day, and it was later upgraded to 100,000 barrels. Kaduna and Warri were also working optimally, and we used to satisfy the demand of the local market. We equally exported 100,000 barrels of refined petrol. Now, no refinery is performing up to 50%. It is a disgraceful thing,” he said.
Buhari, according to a statement by his spokesman Mr Femi Adesina, promised that income accruing to Nigeria from rising oil prices in the international market would be spent on infrastructural development. The president said extra funds outside the provision of year 2018 budget “will be deployed to infrastructure projects like roads, rail, and power, for the good of our people, and for the development of the country.” The 2018 budget provisions had been predicated on $45 per barrel, but the Senate had adjusted it to $47 per barrel. Oil prices have, however, risen to $70 per barrel this week. President Buhari appreciated Eni for its upcoming investments in the oil industry, which included rehabilitation of Port Harcourt refinery as well as the building of a new one.
Earlier, Vella had told Buhari that his organization had presented a technical proposal to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to rehabilitate the Port Harcourt refinery and also done a feasibility study on a new refinery of up to 150,000 barrels per day capacity. “Site selection has been completed, and 50 new graduates have already arrived in Italy for a training that will last seven months. “ There are other upstream initiatives, and a deep water project, with estimated expenditure of $13 billion,” Vella disclosed.