The group chief executive officer (GCEO), Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, Mele Kyari, says the country cannot legalise artisanal refineries.
Kyari who spoke during an interview on Monday, says the federal government would no option than to shut down the facilities.
Speaking further, Kyari explained that modular refineries should be encouraged instead of illegal refining.
For years, there have been persistent calls on the government to recognise small artisanal refiners in the Niger Delta to boost In-country fuel supply, rather than criminalising them.
But Kyari stated that the legalisation will not work, noting instead that modular refineries should be encouraged instead of illegal bunkering and refining.
“That’s why there are licences given out for modular refineries and they can produce up to 1,000 barrels to 20,000 barrels per day. Refining is a science of its own. The cooking pots you are seeing are not refineries in any sense.
“There’s simply no way you can convert these cooking pots to legal refineries. It’s not possible. But modular refineries can be constructed and the NNPCL has a framework for supporting those who want to do modular refineries,” the GCEO stated.
Kyari stated that it is possible to make modular refineries work, which the NNPCL will support, stating that it is important for the political leadership to back such moves.
According to him, the illegal refineries have been degraded in the Niger Delta, explaining that for the host communities the new Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) sets aside some funds for them which he said will make sure the areas are carried along.
The NNPCL boss stated that several arrests had been made by the security agencies , especially for people stealing Nigeria’s oil, pointing out that the names were being kept secret for security reasons.
Kyari explained that the criminals or thieves were many , opining that whoever is involved will be arrested without exception.