NNPC’s Crude flows to two Nigerian refineries shut after attacks

"We have shut down flows for now, the military are on top of the matter," he said, without offering details of the attacks.

Oil workers walk through pipe installations on a tanker at Bonga off-shore oil field outside Lagos, in a file photo. REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye (Reuters)

Nigeria’s state oil company has shut down crude oil flows to two of its four refineries after weekend attacks on pipelines, a company spokesman said on Monday, frustrating government hopes to start weaning the country from expensive imports.
The refineries in the northern city of Kaduna and Warri, in the southern Niger Delta, were affected, said Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation spokesman Ohi Alegbe.
“We have shut down flows for now, the military are on top of the matter,” he said, without offering details of the attacks.
Nigeria is plagued by violence, corruption and poor infrastructure. Despite being Africa’s largest crude exporter, it imports almost all its gasoline but officials had hoped national refineries would produce up to 30 percent of its gasoline needs in the first quarter of 2016.
The 125,000 barrel per day (bpd) Warri refinery and the 110,000 bpd Kaduna refinery had resumed output in December after several months of maintenance. The Kaduna refinery receives its feedstock oil via the Warri refinery.
Nigeria also has a third refining complex with two plants in the southern oil hub of Port Harcourt, although only the newer of the two plants is currently functioning.
No group claimed responsibility for the weekend attacks, which follow last week’s arrest warrant for former militant leader turned businessman Government Ekpemupolo, known as Tompolo, as part of a crackdown on corruption. Several former top government officials have been charged with fraud.
A statement issued by the military’s operation Pulo Shield in the oil-rich Niger Delta region vowed to hold “community leaders responsible for any act of sabotage”.
“This warning is coming as a result of recent, multiple attacks on oil facilities and platforms by suspected militants in the Niger Delta region,” the statement issued on Sunday said, without offering further details.
The attacks follow years of relative calm in the country’s oil-producing region after an 2009 amnesty halted frequent attacks on oil installations and kidnappings of expatriate workers.
OPEC member Nigeria is facing an economic crisis and dwindling foreign reserves as a result of the sharp drop in global oil prices.
President Muhammadu Buhari, elected last year, wants to revamp the country’s long-neglected refining system and produce enough fuel, particularly gasoline, to reduce expensive imports.


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