The Group Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian National Petroleum Company, NNPC, Limited, Mele Kyari, has said the country cannot legalise artisanal refineries.
There had been calls by stakeholders in the industry to accommodate the small-scale crude oil processing outfits in order to eradicate soot pollution in Niger Delta.
But Mr Kyari, while speaking during an interview on Nigerian Television Authority, NTA, on Monday, stressed that modular refineries should be encouraged, instead of illegal refining.
Mr Kyari added that the country would have no option than to shut down the facilities.
Read Also PHOTOS Of Falconets Sleeping On The Floor, Chairs At Airport In Turkey Emerge On Social Media
He said: “That’s why there are licences given out for modular refineries, and they can produce up to 1,000 barrels to 20,000 barrels per day (bpd).
”Refining is a science of its own. The cooking pots you are seeing are not refineries in any sense.
“There’s simply no way you can convert these cooking pots to legal refineries. It’s not possible. But modular refineries can be constructed and the NNPCL has a framework for supporting those who want to do modular refineries.”
The NNPC boss said Nigeria loses 700,000 bpd to crude oil theft and production shut-ins, saying: “It works two ways — one is the direct stealing of the oil and then being processed at the illegal refineries and also taken out from the pipelines.
“What happens is that whenever you have such massive infractions, we shut down our facilities and, therefore, this is opportunity loss.
“The production that could have come on the table and that is why we are currently on the average of 1.4 million barrels of oil.
“We had the capacity to do 2.1 million. You can technically say that you have lost about 700,000 barrels of oil per day of production. But it doesn’t mean 700,000 bpd are stolen.”