Ibe Kachikwu, minister of state for petroleum resources on Monday said the projection of Nigeria to attain fuel sufficiency in 2019 was no longer realistic, adding that the country would now have to wait till 2020.
Kachikwu disclose this at the International Biennial Health Safety and Environmental (HSE) conference in Lagos on Monday,
The conference was organised by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).
During an interview with BBC in 2017, the minister had vowed to “walk away” or resign if the nation does not achieve self-sufficiency in petrol production by 2019.
“Our target is 2019…don’t worry, I put the date, I’ll work it.”
But speaking on Monday, the minister said achieving fuel sufficiency in 2019 was no longer feasible.
He said fuel sufficiency would only happen when Nigeria produces an additional 1.1 million barrels of oil per day from the nation’s four refineries, three modular refineries and the Dangote Refinery which are expected to come on stream by 2020.
He said “Even though I had wanted in my usual bullish nature to get this thing driven so that we can have all the refineries working by end of 2019, obviously it will slip a bit,”
“But what is important that we must begin the process. We are going to deliver those barrels refined by 2020, so be it.
“We are also working hard to see the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)’s four refineries coming up with 425,000 b/d in 2020.
“Hopefully, we will be having board meeting next week where we will take some soft landing decisions for the commercial investment on the refineries.
“In all, we are expecting about 1.1 million barrels refining capacity by 2020.”
In October, Ndu Ughamadu, spokesman of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said three financiers have shown interest in the Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna refineries.
Ughamadu had expressed confidence that the 2019 deadline given by Kachikwu to get the refineries up and running will be achieved.
He said the NNPC will soon sign agreements with the third-party financiers and contractors chosen to carry out the refineries overhaul.