By Doosuur Iwambe,
Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Tecnimont SpA, an Italian company, on Tuesday, signed the engineering procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the rehabilitation of Port Harcourt refinery (PHRC) in Rivers State.
This is coming days after Nigerians opposed to the decision of the Federal Executive Council to approve the sum for the rehabilitation of the 210,000 barrels per day refinery, with many calling for the outright privatization of the facility. Speaking during the signing of the contract in Abuja, NNPC Group Managing Director, Mallam Mele Kyari said that the contractor was selected with high level of transparency.
According to him, the decision to rehabilitate the refinery which has not produced in the past three years was justifiable. He stated that the government had admitted the fact it made a lot of mistakes with the Turnaround Maintenance (TAM) of the refineries over the years.
He said the corporation was aware of misgivings in the public on the cost of rehabilitation of the refinery but noted that the NNPC would maintain a high level of transparency in the process of carrying out the work.
“First and foremost, we all agree that no one will drag in labour unions, transparency international, infrastructure concessioning and regulatory agency of the country into a tender process.
If we had anything to hide or worry about, we won’t do this. ‘’We are very proud that we did this so that this tender process which culminated in this event of today is monumental history for us.
“We are aware of the many of the misgivings in the public space around cost, around political compromises, even around potentially why do we even have to do this. We understand this.
“Some people in their own world because if they have the opportunity, this is what they would do.
If they have the opportunity they would hiked up the cost, they would have seen it as an opportunity to make or earn income that they have not worked for.
They would also see it as an opportunity for political patronage,” he said He pledged the same process would be adopted for the rehabilitation of the Warri Refinery, stressing that the cost in public domain include taxes.
He charged the contractor to be mindful of the fact that the refinery was a national project and should hand over any person that perpetuates any fraudulent act to the government.
In his remarks, the Managing Director of the PHRC, Ahmed Dikko, commended the NNPC for its effort in ensuring that the contract was signed. He said the development was a dream come true, and the result of conscious efforts and dedication of the federal government and NNPC.
“With this great result we confirm the soundness of our business strategy on geography diversification, as one of its key elements is to grow and assist our clients in their revamping initiatives, leveraging on our technological know-how to ensure more efficient and environmentally better performing processes and products.
It represents a testament of our technological DNA, as we are strongly increasing our focus on initiatives for the modernization of the refining sector, such as these strategic rehabilitation works,” he said.
“Moreover, we enhance our footprint in Nigeria and in SubSaharan Africa, a market with excellent downstream prospects given its demographics and the necessity to unlock greater added value from the transformation of natural resources.”