Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, Minister of State for Petroleum disclosed that he would soon launch a new plan to revive operational infrastructure in Nigeria’s downstream petroleum sector and open them up for private sector investments across their value chains.

In a statement in Abuja as part of a follow up on Nigeria’s recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Niger Republic to build a 150,000 barrels per day capacity refinery at a Katsina State border town between both countries, Kachikwu’s Senior Technical Adviser (STA) on refineries and downstream infrastructure, Mr. Rabiu Suleiman, stated the rebirth plan would among other things, also consider how best to utilize the various downstream assets of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that are idle.

He noted that the country’s downstream sector was not in a good shape, and “that is why going forward, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources is planning to launch the downstream infrastructure rebirth for the country, where we will look at various infrastructure of the downstream – pipelines, tank farms and all other facilities – how adequate are they for this country”.

He said the plan would determine the infrastructure deficiencies and how to optimize the utilization of those ones that are currently redundant. It would also consider necessary investments that are needed from private investors to enhance and close the gap of infrastructure and open up the place so that people could build their own pipelines and charge tariffs.

He equally suggested the plan would consider the best models to get downstream assets owned and operated by the NNPC, albeit inefficiently, and which have been idle, to get them working again.

Also speaking on the planned border refinery, Suleiman, who is leading the project’s technical committee, explained it was in line with Nigeria’s strategy to become a hub for refined petroleum products in Africa.

He reiterated that the project would be private sector financed with no financial commitments from the governments of both countries, adding, however, that the NNPC and its Nigerien counterpart might be allowed to take minor strategic shareholdings in the project.