The House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on Review of Pump Price of Petrol has urged the Port-Harcourt Refining Company (PHRC) to improve on 3.523 million litres of petrol (Premium Motor Spirit) produced per day.
The Chairman of the Committee, Rep. Raphael Igbokwe, (PDP-Ahiazu Mbaise/Ezinihitte), made the plea while addressing management of the company at Eleme, in Rivers state.
He said that there was a need for Nigerians to get value for what they paid for since the Federal Government had removed subsidy on petrol.
Igbokwe called for efficient operations of the refinery to ensure availability and accessibility of petrol to Nigerians.
“Government has chosen the Port-Harcourt refinery as part of the first set of refineries to be repaired to boost local production of PMS. Since your product is locally-produced, it should be cheaper for Nigerians. That is the more reason why PHRC should improve on its production,” Igbokwe said.
According to him, NNPC and its subsidiaries engaged in 90 per cent of the sourcing of petrol while private marketers engaged in 10 per cent of the process of bringing PMS into the country.
He said that the committee got authentic information from a reliable source that the price of petrol was around N230 to N250 per litre in neighbouring countries.
Igbokwe noted that the landing rate of petrol was about N130 to N135.
He said that among the information the committee received indicated that the landing cost of petrol was higher than the N145 official rate being encouraged by government.
Igbokwe said the committee’s mandate was to ensure reduction in the cost of doing business and not to frustrate government’s efforts in making fuel available and affordable for Nigerians.
In his response, the Managing Director, PHRC, Mr Shehu Malami, said that the company was Nigeria’s premier petroleum refining company, adding that it was also the second largest refinery in West and Central Africa.
He said that presently, the company produced 2.724 million litres of petrol per day.
Malami said that the company had two refineries with combined production capacity of 210,000 barrels per day adding that the old refinery had capacity of 60,000 barrels, bpd, while the new refinery had a capacity of 150, 000 barrels bpd.
He said that the company had sold about 15 .963 billion barrels of PMS to NNPC between September 2016 and February 2017.
Malami said, “Although we are not having enough products to refine, but we are not running at a loss.”
Before now, crude oil was sold at 100 dollars per barrel but then naira added value because it was exchanged at N189 per dollar.
Unfortunately, crude is above 50 dollars, while the naira’s exchange rate is over N300. This shows that we have not really moved from where we are.
Production of crude oil is very expensive and that is the bulk of our expenditure. Our focus is efficient operations of the refinery,” he said.
The managing director added that PHRC faced limited production of PMS.
He said that the company was in touch with the appropriate government parastatal to address some of the challenges it faced.
The Depot Manager, PHRC, Mrs Grace Akujobi-Emetuche, urged the National Assembly to increase the company`s budget to enable it purchase state of the art equipment.
Akujobi-Emetuche, said that the company had 18 loading arms which operated manually due to inefficient control operation room.
She said that ordinarily, the company loaded at least 125 petrol-laden trucks daily and spent between 20 to 25 minutes to load a truck.
The depot manager said the management made use of its Internally Generated Revenue to address some operational challenges.
Igbokwe said that it was in the interest of Nigerians that there should be an efficient fuel pump price control to regulate supply.
“The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation should ensure there is sufficient petrol in the country”.
He, however, emphasised the need to operate with adequate and effective equipment to enhance of operations and increased production.