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The Group Managing Director of NNPC Maikanti Baru says the corporation is ready to upgrade and expand the Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company Limited.

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Baru said this during a town hall meeting with management and staff of KRPC in Kaduna.

He said the upgrade is in line with the 12 key business focus areas of the corporation. This, he reckons, is aimed at returning the refinery to the path of growth and profitability.

The managing director, who made this known in a statement issued by the corporation’s Public Affairs Division, further said efforts are on to explore the possibility of piping crude oil from Niger Republic to be refined in KRPC.

He said the initiative would reduce downtime of the plant and ensure optimal utilisation.

”Due to challenges with the aged refinery and crude oil pipelines that had been breached severally, the operations of the refinery have been epileptic.

”This we are determined to resolve through various intervention methods, including evaluation of alternative crude oil supply from Niger Republic through building of a pipelines of over 1, 000km from Agadem to Kaduna.

”That effort is being championed by Mr President himself,” Baru said. .

According to him, the corporation has already started engagements with the Nigerien Minister of Petroleum and the private company operating the field at Agadem.

Baru also promised to drive the energy supply project to power industries in Kaduna. This will be achieved by ensuring the completion of the Ajaokuta-Abuja-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) gas pipeline, he said.

On his part, the Managing Director of KRPC Idi Mukhtar said the Fluid Cracking Catalytic Unit of the plant was re-streamed in June.

”The Kerosene Hydrotreating Unit (KHU) rehabilitation is ongoing with the equipment overhaul and integrity checks.

”When operational the margin of value addition on kerosene and Aviation Turbine Kerosene (ATK) will provide millions of naira in revenue, even at a throughput of 60 per cent,” Mukhtar said.

The refinery was designed to process both imported paraffinic and Nigerian crude oil into fuel and lubes products.

It was constructed by Chiyoda Chemical Engineering and Construction Company (now Chiyoda Corporation) of Japan.

In December 1986, the design capacity of the fuel plants of the refinery was successfully debottolnecked from 50,000 BPSD to 60,000 BPSD, bringing the total refinery installed capacity to 110,000 BPSD.

The refinery, which resumed production late last year after it was repaired, stopped production early in the year due to attacks on petroleum pipelines by militants.