REUTERS: Nigerian refineries out of action even as crude output rises

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Nigeria is still grappling with ageing and unproductive oil refineries even as it boosts crude output, the head of state oil firm NNPC said on Thursday.

Crude production is forecast to reach 2.1 million barrels of oil per day (bpd) this year and should rise to 2.4 million next year, Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu told reporters, though none was being refined locally.

The issue is important for Nigeria because without being able to refine its oil it is reliant on exporting crude then importing refined products such as gasoline for use by companies and consumers.

“In October we had zero performance (from refineries), we didn’t produce anything,” Kachikwu said. “As of now the refineries are still not working. We are going to try and repair them.”

In November, the country’s top refinery official had told Reuters Nigeria aimed to produce up to 30 percent of its domestic gasoline needs by the first quarter of 2016 following an overhaul of the refineries.

Kachikwu reiterated Africa’s top oil producer was trying to secure external funding to revamp the refineries before considering their sale. “We cannot sell the refineries in their present state. They will be worth nothing.”

President Muhammadu Buhari, also oil minister, has made refurbishing the country’s dilapidated refining system

a priority as he seeks to reform an industry hampered by mismanagement and corruption.

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