The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has said it would support plans by the federal government to formalise illegal crude oil refining operations in the Niger Delta, saying it was part of the antidotes to criminality including militancy in the region.
According to the corporation, the government’s decision would take away from the streets of the region, many of its jobless young people who have resorted to criminal acts like petroleum assets vandalism.
A statement from the Group General Manager, Public Affairs of the NNPC, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, Wednesday in Abuja, quoted the corporation’s Group Managing Director, Dr. Maikanti Baru, to have said this at the 53rd International Conference and Exhibition of the Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society (NMGS).
Baru, according to the statement, defended the government’s plan to transform illegal refineries in the Niger Delta into legal entities for proper integration of the youth in the region.
He argued that getting the youths to form consortia that could set up 1000 barrels per day modular refineries would get them off criminality and create jobs.
He also explained that ongoing reforms in the corporation were geared to transform it from being an oil and gas company into an integrated energy outfit with interest in power generation and transmission.
On this, he disclosed that the NNPC had identified opportunities in the country’s power sector that it was ready to take advantage of to transform itself from being just a gas supplier to the power sector, into a major player in the sector.
According to him, the NNPC has commenced work on a project to generate electricity for the country, and also explore the possibility of investing in the country’s power transmission network.
He explained that NNPC’s decision to diversify into the power sector was hinged on the need to bridge the huge energy gap in the country, adding that contrary to the impression that the poor power situation was caused by inadequate gas supply, the real problem was inadequate transmission capacity.
Barru said there was enough gas to generate eight gigawatts (GW) which is 8,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity but that the transmission grid could not support such volume of power without complications.