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Reps to conduct investigative hearing on NNPC’s decision to shut down Warri refinery

By Our Correspondent 

The house of representatives has directed its committee on petroleum (upstream) to investigate an alleged failure of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to address the challenges confronting the Warri refinery.

The decision of the house followed a motion moved by Ben Igbakpa, lawmaker representing Ethiope federal constituency, during plenary session on Wednesday.

While moving the motion, the lawmaker said the refinery has not operated optimally due to the “top management decision of the NNPC to ground the plant for personal benefit”.

He noted that the “plant had severally been shutdown due to haulage challenges, neglect in the evacuation of products, lack of functional or operational storage tanks and poor maintenance culture on the part of management which also constitutes another reason for the refinery non-functionality”.

“Aware of the alleged plan to ground the plant from refining products by members of the top echelon of the Warri Refinery in collaboration with the Chief Operating Officer (COO) as well as diverting crude meant for refining.

“Also aware that when crude oil is delivered from Escravous tank farm for refining, the products are hoarded for about 14 days and thereafter diverted through the refinery jetty to interested buyers (or specific companies they have special interests in) who pay less.

He said the effects of the “perceived economic sabotage is that the plant is brought down because no crude to refine as it has been diverted.”

Igbakpa attributed the recent hike in petrol price to the shutdown of local refineries.

He added that the commencement of local production will help to mitigate the incessant and upward price adjustment of petroleum products.

The motion was adopted after it was put to a voice vote.

The house directed its “committee on Petroleum (Upstream) to conduct an investigative hearing on the failure, refusal or neglect of the NNPC to address the haulage challenges viz a viz inadequate storage tanks affecting the Warri refinery to forestall the frequent shutting down of the refinery.

The committee is expected to report back to the house within four weeks.

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