Africa’s top oil producer shuts refineries over crude shortage

Nigeria has shut down two of its refineries which only became productive recently, due to crude supply challenges caused by the vandalisation of some pipeline in the country’s oil-rich Niger Delta.

The plants were shut on Sunday after the Bonny-Okrika crude supply line to the Port Harcourt Refinery and the Escravos-Warri crude supply line to the Kaduna Refinery were attacked by suspected militants.

Group general manager of the corporation on public affairs, Ohi Alegbe, disclosed in a statement that the Port Harcourt Refinery was recording a daily PMS yield of over 4.1 million litres while Kaduna Refinery was producing about 1.3 million litres daily, an impressive turnaround considering both plants produced nothing in October 2015.

oil Nigeria
Refining capacity utilization
source: NNPC

The Kaduna refinery’s dry spell started in September of the same year. Nigeria’s Warri refinery also produced nothing in September and October of 2015. However, the three refineries have resumed production and have attained a combined daily production of over 6.76 million litres of petrol, projected to increase to over 10 million litres per day by the end of January. But with the shutdown of two of the plants, Nigeria will only get 1.4 million litres of petrol per day, pumped at the Warri Refining and Petrochemicals Company (WRPC).

The closure may lead to scarcity of fuel as the country’s estimated daily petrol consumption is 40 million litres, and the fall of the naira has made importation, often used to shore up the deficit, costlier.

However, the NNPC says it has put strategies in place to guarantee availability of petroleum products throughout the country.

“In response to the unexpected setback, we have activated comprehensive remedial measures to sustain the prevailing stability in the supply and distribution of petroleum products across the country,” the NNPC noted without explaining the measures.