The Nigerian government has shelved plans to sell its four refineries, following an agreement it signed Tuesday with leaders of the two labour unions in the petroleum sector – the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN).
Instead, it is to immediately commence the full Turn Around Maintenance (TAM) of the refineries.
Following the agreement, the labour unions shelved their plans to embark on any form of industrial action over the proposed sale of the refineries.
Nigeria’s four refineries have a combined installed capacity of 445,000 barrels per day (bpd) refining capacity.
In Port Harcourt, the two refineries there have a combined installed capacity of 210,000 bpd while the installed capacities of Kaduna and Warri refineries are 110,000 bpd and 125,000 bpd respectively.
The four-point agreement reached by all parties and contained in a communiqué signed by Ministers Emeka Nwogu (Labour and Productivity), and Deziani Alison-Madueke (Petroleum Ministry), and the leadership of PENGASSAN and NUPENG indicated that an outright cancellation of the intended sale of the nation's four refineries was top on the agenda of the oil workers union.
Part of the decision of the all parties at the roundtable was that the Federal Government would develop platforms to engage the public on the need to privatize the refineries or in the alternative come up with better business models to promote efficiency and cut down capital loss.
PANA reports that the Federal Government has been under pressure from the oil workers union to drop privatisation of the country’s four refineries or face a nationwide strike.
The Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Alison-Madueke, had in November 2013 announced federal government’s intention to commence the privatisation of the four refineries by the first quarter of 2014.
The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) was given the responsibility of driving the privatisation process in collaboration with the petroleum ministry and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
However, since plans to sell the refineries were made public, the unions have continued to kick against the move with a threat to embark on strike.