The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, has reiterated that oil companies in the country will start refining crude on or before 2019.
It would be recalled, Kachikwu had in February stated that Nigeria will stop importing refined petroleum products by 2019.
The minister, however, reiterated this to newsmen shortly after meeting with Acting President Yemi Osinbajo and top management of Agip Oil Company in the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday.
According to him, the federal government was putting in place measures in the oil sector aimed at meeting the needs of Nigeria’s local consumption before the year 2019.
The minister further stated that part of the measures was the intention to set up a new Agip refinery with the production capacity of 150,000 bpd.
His words: “In the meeting we dealt with the issue of Agip investment in Zabazaba field and their cooperation with us in the repairs of Port Harcourt refinery.
“We reached an agreement that Agip will build a brand new refinery of 150,000 barrels capacity which will be located in Port Harcourt or Brass, they have accepted and preparing an MOU along this line.
“The effect of this is that oil companies operating in Nigeria will begin to migrate from only exporting crude and begin to look on how to start refining these crude so that we will be able to meet our local consumption.
“With this new refinery and along with other things we are going to do with the refinery in port harcourt, it gives us hope in our quest to try and increase our local capacity to produce every refined product we need in the country and to meet the time line of 2019. We are now going ahead to work out the modality with Agip”.
In the area of power, the minister said, “Agip has second largest plant which will be on stream by 2020.”
“This is to make sure they are not only just taking away crude but making other local investment. Total investment in area of power and the refinery from Agip is in excess of $15 billion.”
Earlier this month, the Group Managing Director, Dr. Maikanti Kacalla Baru, had declared that the 2019 target set by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to exit importation of petrol, can still be achievable.