The Federal Government had always realised the importance of private initiatives in the refining of crude oil in the country. This was the case in the beginning before government took over the function. Already, 18 companies have been given licenses to establish and operate private refineries, indicating government’s commitment to ensure adequate refining capacity. However, the nation in the interim has to rely on importation because it will take some time before the processes of establishing these refineries are concluded.
Building a standard refinery will take not less than two years before it starts to operate fully. Much more important however, is the fact that no private refinery can operate successfully under a regulated market. It is only now that Nigerians can expect to have new refineries and a revamping of the existing ones under the privatization arrangement.
In the past 2 years, efforts at getting some of the companies to build refineries are yielding fruits with the commencement of Orient Petroleum Resources and the Zenon Petroleum and Gas Limited in Lagos.