The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has warned the Federal Government against the full concession or plans to privatise the nation’s refineries.
There have been speculations that the federal government plans to sell or privatise some refineries in the country, especially the Port Harcourt and Warri refineries.
However, the Group Executive Chairman, NNPC Branch of PENGASSAN, Mr. Abdullahi Sale, while speaking on Tuesday, shortly after a tour of the Port Harcourt Refinery, said it would be wrong for any government to hand over its energy for privatisation.
He pointed out that government could decide to hold 20 per cent equity, adding that such action had to be gradual.
Sale further insisted that like security, the energy sector should not be fully privatised.
His words: “We are not averse to concessioning or privatisation of the refineries; however, what we are saying is that no nation would like to toy with its issue of energy.
“Our position is that we don’t want a situation where 100 per cent of our energy sector is given to private hands. We want to maintain some level of security. Because energy is security, just like we cannot hand over our security 100 per cent to private hands, we also should not totally privatise our energy.
“We are not supporting the sale of the refineries in totality, however, the PIGB being passed in the Senate has provided room for 20 per cent of government equity to be in the hands of the BPE. That means that eventually 20 per cent would go off.”
On the proposed operation of modular refineries in the country, Sale noted that such refineries would not be able to meet the 40 million litres per day demand of Nigerians.
He added: “Our national demand on a daily basis is within the range of 40 million litres, which modular refineries cannot provide. However, it will be able to provide us some level of sufficiency, but not up to what we desire.
“Modular refineries are quick ways to get products available to Nigerians, but in the real sense, they are not the final solutions because they are not going to take us to where we want to be.”