The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu has directed the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to withdraw the licenses given to private operators that have failed to commence operations.
Kachikwu, who disclosed this at a World Press Conference on the sidelines of the ongoing Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, Texas, added that licences will now be given to investors who have shown the capacity to utilise them.
About 25 licences have been issued to private operators between 2002 and 2014 to build refinery complexes in Nigeria, according to the DPR which is saddled with the task of issuing refining licences.
21 out of the 25 are in the ‘Licence to Establish’ (LTE) category, while four are in the ‘Approval to Construct’ (ATC) category.
However, only the Dangote refinery in Lagos has shown high prospects of coming on stream by 2019.
“I have instructed the DPR to review some of those licences. Those who are not able to go forward in utilising their licence, the licence should be withdrawn and then we can focus on giving licence to those who have shown the capacity to be able to move forward and refine,” he said.
The minister said the aim of giving licenses was to reduce the huge capital flight to fuel importation, meet local demand and possibly export the left over.
He hinted that a lot of incentives have been put in place to encourage investors willing to build modular refineries.
“Since they will be located in states, land will be provided and the modular refineries will be peopled around private sector especially independent producers who already have the crude.”