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Reviving and reactivating our minimally performing refineries to optimum capacity

Buhari also promised to revive the country’s petroleum refineries, of which there are five. Four are owned by the government through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation while the fifth belongs to Niger Delta Petroleum Resources.

Over the years, the country’s refineries have significantly underperformed. This is mainly because they have not been properly fixed, run and maintained. (For more on this topic read our factsheet on what you need to know about Nigeria’s ailing refineries and their perennial repairs. You can also go deeper into Nigeria’s smaller refineries.)

Data from 2021 showed government-owned refineries had been non-operational for several months, and even when some of them worked, they refined only a fraction of their capacity.

The most recent Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry annual report published by the department of petroleum resources covers 2018. It shows the country’s five refineries processed 26,692 barrels per stream day (bpsd) of crude oil that year. This was only 5.98% of their 446,000 bpsd combined designed capacity. 

In March 2021, the federal government announced it would spend $1.5 billion to rehabilitate the Port Harcourt refinery.

As of May 2022, Mele Kyari, the group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company said the refineries would resume when rehabilitation is completed. 

With less than a year to go under Buhari, his administration faced a race against time to deliver on this pledge.

– Africa Check, updated May 2022.

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