While speaking at the grant-signing ceremony, involving Eko Petrochem and Refining Company Limited and the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) at the Tomaro Industrial Park Free Trade Zone, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, identified the lack of access to funding as the major challenge of the 33 private refineries licenced by the federal government, THISDAY reports.
It was gathered that while some of the refineries are still at the detailed engineering design stage, others have been given approval to construct (ATC) by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) but could not proceed with the projects as a result of paucity of funds. Of all the 33 private refineries that were given Licence to Establish (LTE), only the 1,000 barrels per day refinery operated by Niger Delta Petroleum Resources in Ogbelle in Rivers State has come on stream. Most of the other investors have not kicked off the construction works as a result of difficulties in accessing funding.
Kachikwu said; “Most of those who have been licenced to establish refineries in Nigeria have two major challenges. One is financing. We all know that it is very difficult to raise funding and therefore, when you hear that the USTDA is extending its hands of fellowship and support in providing initial seed money required to go beyond the detailed engineering design, that also shows that behind him – the visionary of this project, there is a potential partner that is likely to support and to provide the required finances to establish this particular project.”