Mele Kyari, group chief executive officer (GCEO), Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, says the country can not legalise artisanal refineries.
Artisanal oil refining is small-scale crude oil processing or subsistent distillation of petroleum that is often outside the boundaries of state law.
Kyari spoke during an interview aired on Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) on Monday.
There had been calls by stakeholders in the industry to accommodate artisanal refineries to eradicate soot pollution.
But Kyari noted that modular refineries should be encouraged instead of illegal refining.
“That’s why there are licences given out for modular refineries, and they can produce up to 1,000 barrels to 20,000 barrels per day (bpd). Refining is a science of its own. The cooking pots you are seeing are not refineries in any sense,” he said.
“There’s simply no way you can convert these cooking pots to legal refineries. It’s not possible. But modular refineries can be constructed and the NNPCL has a framework for supporting those who want to do modular refineries.”
The NNPC boss said Nigeria loses 700,000 bpd to crude oil theft and production shut-ins.
“It works two ways — one is the direct stealing of the oil and then being processed at the illegal refineries and also taken out from the pipelines,” he said.
“What happens is that whenever you have such massive infractions, we shut down our facilities and therefore, this is opportunity loss.
“The production that could have come on the table and that is why we are currently on the average of 1.4 million barrels of oil.