Experts seek standardisation of illegal refineries

Energy experts have urged the Federal Government to standardise the operation of illegal refineries and expose them to international best practice to boost local refining capacity in the country.

Speaking yesterday in Abuja at the 10th Nigerian Association for Energy Economics and International Association for Energy Economics (NAEE/IAEE) conference, the experts also called for flexible power policy that will easily respond to the dictates of new trends.

President of NAEE, Prof. Wunmi Iledare said flexible power policy would ensure that the sector adjust to the current reality and equally forestall decline of the sector once there is uncertainty in the system.

He said: “For the past five to 10 years, the industry has been anticipating the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).”

Underlining why Nigeria must refine its crude oil locally for the diversification of the economy to be a reality, Iledare posited that economic growth could only be inclusive when the nation’s industrialisation drive is driven by locally refined source of power.

A former Company Secretary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Prof. Yinka Omorogbe, said government must open a line of discussion with the operators to attain a positive solution.

“I believe that while steps can be taken by government to standardise their operations, what I see now is far from what a normal refinery is. For government to label them illegal, thinking that such tag would stop the operation of illegal refineries in the country would not work. Government has to change the mindset of the operators and teach them new working patterns,” he stated.

In his submission, the past President of IAEE, Gurkan Kumbaroglo, who is from Bogazici University, Turkey, said while such refineries are not acceptable in the international community, there is urgent need for Nigeria to seek international collaboration with foreign investors to establish refineries in the country.

His words: “This kind of refining is not acceptable internationally because there is no standard. What Nigeria needs is the supply end that is buoyed by huge investment in the sector.”

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