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Nigeria's oil refining challenge

Wednesday, March 09, 2016 - 01:24

Africa's top oil producer wants to remove the need for imported petroleum products within 18 months. As Hayley Platt reports Nigeria's plan is an attempt to boost the country's ailing economy.

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It's resource rich but power poor. And Nigeria's ability to generate electricity from its vast gas reserves and fuel from its oil is holding back growth. Three years ago the government handed control of the electricity supply to private firms. But cuts remain common. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DON ADINUBA, PUBLIC AFFAIRS CONSULTANT SAYING "The truth is that the power sector is collapsing. You require a lot of investment and if you do not review the tariffs there will not be fresh investments." It's a similar story in the oil sector. Nigeria is Africa's top producer but it only has four refineries and they've never operated at full capacity. As a result the country imports most of its energy needs at great expense. That was bearable when it was making money from its oil - but low prices have put paid to that. "When we have working refineries," said the oil minister, "we'll be able to save some of our reserves and use them when times are hard instead of having to import more." The country is investing between 250 and 500 million dollars in the country's refineries. And it's talking to oil majors for expertise and more investment It hopes to be self-sufficient within 18 months in a bid to escape the worst economic crisis in years.

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Nigeria's oil refining challenge

Wednesday, March 09, 2016 - 01:24