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Kyari: Illegal Refineries Cannot Be Converted to Regular Facilities

Mallam Mele Kyari, Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL), yesterday shot down calls to legalize artisanal illegal refineries in the Niger Delta.

Kyari, speaking on the state-run Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), referred to the alleged illegal refining facilities as “cooking pots,” insisting that the growing demand for their official recognition was unfounded and unscientific.

For years, advocates have urged the government to recognize small artisanal refiners in the Niger Delta rather than criminalize them in order to increase domestic fuel supply.

However, Kyari believes that legalization will fail, and that modular refineries, rather than illegal bunkering and refining, should be encouraged.

“That is why modular refineries with capacities ranging from 1,000 to 20,000 barrels per day are licensed.” Refining is a science in and of itself. The cooking pots you’re looking at are not refineries in any way.

“There is simply no way to turn these cooking pots into legal refineries.” It isn’t possible. However, modular refineries can be built, and the NNPCL has a framework in place to assist those who want to build modular refineries, according to the GCEO.

Kyari stated that modular refineries are feasible, which the NNPCL will support, emphasizing the importance of political leadership backing such initiatives.

According to him, illegal refineries have been degraded in the Niger Delta, and he explained that the new Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) sets aside some funds for host communities, which he says will ensure the areas are carried along.

The NNPCL boss stated that security agencies had made several arrests, particularly of people stealing Nigeria’s oil, but that the names were being kept secret for security reasons.

Kyari stated that the criminals or thieves were numerous, and that anyone involved would be arrested without exception.

“Not everyone in those communities is involved.” In fact, they are a very small minority, and we know from our engagement with the communities that they are dissatisfied with what is happening to the environment.

“We’re collaborating with them to get rid of the criminals; otherwise, it’s difficult to explain why there are hundreds of illegal refineries along the pipelines,” he explained.

According to him, marine activities have slowed in recent days, and he is optimistic about the results.

Kyari described oil theft in the Niger Delta as massive, claiming that all pipelines have been harmed, though the country is not “helpless” in its efforts to combat the problem.

He reiterated that technology was being used to address the issue, but assured that the task was not insurmountab

The GCEO emphasized that direct crude oil theft was occurring in the region, admitting that Nigeria was losing approximately 700,000 barrels per day of production due to theft and shutdowns.

He did, however, add that what is actually stolen may not exceed 200,000 bpd, with the remainder losses traceable to breakdowns and shutdowns.

“Sometimes, we have no choice but to close these facilities, which results in production losses,” he added.


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